Lot 44 (Chateau Impney, 10th July 2016)
Registration No: Un-Reg
Chassis No: 141RY
Mot Expiry: Exempt
Introduced at the October 1929 Olympia Motor Show, the Phantom II was the last of the truly grand six-cylinder Rolls-Royces and indeed the final one to be overseen throughout by F. Henry Royce himself. The chassis was completely new and, rather than the cantilever rear springs of its predecessors, it employed underslung semi-elliptic ones which, along with improvements to the drivetrain, allowed the frame to ride closer to the ground, improving handling. Power came from an updated version of the Phantom I engine. Topped by a new aluminium alloy crossflow cylinder head, its pair-cast 7668cc six-cylinder overhead valve unit was not only mounted integral to the four-speed manual gearbox, but bolted directly to the chassis rails. The four-wheel servo-assisted brake system of the Phantom I was continued and the Bijur centralised lubrication set-up from the Springfield-built cars included on all Phantom II chassis. The radiator was positioned aft of a reworked beam front axle, further adding to the model's fresh, low-slung appearance. The resulting elongated bonnet line together with short overhangs created an enticing platform for the coachbuilder's art, and proved conducive to elegant designs courtesy of the major carrozzerias of the day - eg James Young, Park Ward, Mulliner, Thrupp & Maberly etc. Capable of over 90mph, the Phantom II remained in production for six years, during which time some 1402 are understood to have been made, plus 278 with yet sportier Continental specification. All but 125 of the total were equipped with right-hand drive. The Phantom II model was supplanted by the V12-engined Phantom III during 1936.
The handsome 'matching numbers' Phantom II on offer was constructed in home market specification and clothed in what was described as a 'Sports Limousine' body by the renowned coachbuilder James Young of Bromley - the four-light coachwork it retains to this day. It was sold new on March 1st 1934 to A.C. Wall Esquire, a well-known industrialist of Ashfurlong Hall, Sutton Coldfield. The factory build sheet records that the Rolls was to be used for 'town work and touring' and, complete with central division, it truly doubles as an elegant seven-seat Limousine and owner/driver Sports Saloon. The distinctive sporting lines are enhanced by a side-mounted spare wheel and louvred side windows - further louvres were specially ordered for the bonnet and front side scuttles. In preparation for any mishap while touring the Continent are such delightful detail features as the front passenger footwell-mounted bulb holder containing spares for the splendid Marchal headlamps. Other options included: an opening windscreen, pull-down sun visors, fold-out occasional seats, fold-down picnic tables and driver-operated blind to the rear window.
Featured in such important marque tomes as 'Rolls-Royce The Derby Phantoms' and the 'Rolls-Royce Phantom II and Phantom III', chassis 141RY is finished in the suitably stately combination of Balmoral Green over Black (for many years a favoured livery of the royal household) and trimmed in Black leather (front) and Light Brown West of England cloth (rear). Though the subject of an older restoration, the Rolls' interior is apparently original. Its odometer currently displays an unwarranted but entirely feasible 76,138 miles, and the vendor presently classes its coachwork, interior trim, engine and electrical equipment as 'very good', and the two-tone paintwork and transmission as 'good'.
A wonderfully evocative reminder of a bygone era of elegance and romance, the Phantom II model has unsurprisingly starred in a number of major films, not least 'The Yellow Rolls-Royce', 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice', and 'Indiana Jones and the last Crusade'. Modern motorcars are masterpieces of technology, but period ones such as chassis 141RY have an indefinable quality that will never be repeated.