19th Jun, 2024 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Lot 58

1938 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Drophead Coupe
Over £121,000 worth of restoration expenditure

Sold for £92,250

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: EYH 406
Chassis No: 3CM167
MOT: Exempt

  • Full restoration in Drophead Coupé guise by Vintage car specialist David Wall of Wroxham
  • Engine overhaul by well-respected marque specialist M. J. Pickles
  • Over £121,000 worth of expenditure while in the vendor's ownership with less than 150 miles covered since the restoration's completion
  • Matching numbers example
  • 1 of just 727 Phantom IIIs thought to have been manufactured

Although unveiled to the public at the October 1935 Olympia Motor Show, the Phantom III did not enter series production until May 1936. A fabulous design that reasserted Rolls-Royce's right to be considered as the world's pre-eminent car manufacturer, its cruciform-braced chassis featured independent coil-sprung front suspension, a fully-floating 'live' rear axle, hydraulic shock absorbers, and gearbox driven servo-assisted four-wheel drum brakes. Drawing on decades of aero-engine experience, it was powered by a 7340cc OHV V12. Fabricated largely from aluminium alloy, this technically advanced unit boasted a seven-bearing crankshaft, eight-bearing camshaft, hydraulic tappets, and dual downdraught Stromberg carburettors. Effortlessly potent and eerily smooth, it required a level of care and maintenance not dissimilar to that of its Schneider Trophy winning siblings. Allied to a four-speed manual gearbox (complete with synchromesh on second, third, and fourth gears), it gave most variants a 100mph top speed. Only built for three short seasons, just 727 Phantom IIIs are thought to have been despatched worldwide.

Chassis ‘3CM167’ was manufactured the year before the outbreak of World War Two, originally being provided with Sports Saloon coachwork by James Young Ltd., and registered new on the first of June 1938. Finished in two-tone Black and Grey paintwork from new, the Phantom is known post-war to have been in the ownership of a World War One veteran D. R. Pusser, who served with the Royal Navy, before transferring into the ownership of Douglas Cashill Farquharson Esq in the 1960s. Latterly known to have been on the road in the mid-1970s, before being partially dismantled during the 1980s and then placed into storage. Purchased by the vendor in 2010 in return for a restored XK150 Roadster, the Phantom was found to be highly original and complete but remained partly dismantled.

Thereafter, the vendor embarked on providing ‘3CM167’ with a comprehensive adaptation and restoration. The coachwork was reconfigured and restored by Vintage car specialist David Wall of Wroxham into a two-door Drophead Coupé, retaining some 80% of the original James Young coachwork, and using an original 1930s hood frame. The chassis was refreshed, restoration of the wood frame was provided, coachwork adaption and doors bespoke produced, the remainder of the coachwork was fully restored, repainting in the original two-tone Black and Grey colour scheme, and comprehensive interior re-fresh, with the expenditure with David Wall over £72,000 in total. Subsequently, the original engine was fully overhauled by highly well-respected marque specialist M. J. Pickles with work including cylinder heads skimmed, all new starting equipment, the carburettor renovated, the block cleaned, and the radiator re-cored. The Phantom also received clutch renovation, steering refreshed, re-wiring, and renewed fuel lines with M. J. Pickles, with the total expense surpassing £44,000.

In total, the restoration expenditure totals over £121,000 with ‘EYH 406’ MOT tested upon completion in July 2020, which it passed with no advisories. Covering less than 150 miles since the completion of the restoration, the Rolls-Royce is now ready for use and enjoyment. Boasting matching chassis, engine and gearbox numbers, ‘3CM167’ has pleasing features such as the original jacking system in full working order, original secluded storage compartments, and believed original cigar and cigarette boxes accessories. Supplied with a large history file, it includes the aforementioned invoices, extensive technical literature, an MOT from the 1970s, two folders of images of the work completed by David Wall and M. J. Pickles, and a current V5C document.

Epitomising the very best of 1930s style, this Rolls-Royce represents an opportunity to purchase a fabulous open pre-war touring car.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Cheetham
07538 667452


Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 19th Jun, 2024

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Venue Details 

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