19th Oct, 2022 13:00

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Lot 113

1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sports Limousine
No Reserve

Sold for £47,250

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: IOM Registered
Chassis No: 3BU42
MOT: Exempt

  • Sports Limousine coachwork by H. J. Mulliner (incorporating separate radios to the front and rear compartments)
  • Part of two major Rolls-Royce and Bentley collections for the past forty-four years
  • The beneficiary of some £88,000 worth of refurbishment between 2010 and 2012
  • Matching chassis and engine numbers
  • One of just 727 Phantom IIIs thought to have been manufactured
  • Offered at ‘No Reserve’ from the late Robert Riding’s Estate, the vast majority of which has been left to charity with the RNLI as the predominant beneficiary

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.

Specified for use ‘in the UK and on the Continent. Town and Touring Work’, chassis 3BU42 was taken off test on February 1st 1937 and delivered to the coachbuilder H.J. Mulliner two days later where it was bodied as a handsome Sports Limousine. Unusually, the five-seater’s wind-up glass division and well-stocked vanity units were complemented by separate radios to the front and rear compartments. The Rolls-Royce’s first owner, the successful City businessman Anthony Hornby (later Sir Anthony), was certainly someone for whom keeping abreast of current affairs was vital. An accompanying copy invoice shows that he purchased the Phantom III from Jack Barclay Ltd of London W1 for the princely sum of £2,783 15d 4d (with a part-exchange allowance of £1,350 being made against its Phantom II predecessor). Rising to prominence as a senior partner at stockbrokers Cazenove, Hornby established one of the UK’s foremost private art collections and later took up residence at Claridge’s.

Changing hands several times thereafter, the Phantom III’s next notable custodian was Stanley Barraclough who acquired it during August 1978. Retiring to the Isle of Man the following year, he chaired the local RREC section for five years and became a prominent member of the Phantom III Technical Society. Spending some £34,000 (a significant sum at the time) with the likes of Roy Creech, Wilkinsons and Brunts of Silverdale, Barraclough had the V12 engine rejuvenated, front suspension refurbished, interior re-trimmed, wiring renewed and chromework replated etc. Tragically killed at the age of sixty-five when he was involved in a road traffic accident as a pedestrian, his noteworthy collection of ‘Best of Breed’ Rolls-Royces and Bentleys went under the hammer with Sotheby’s at the RREC’s 1996 Annual Rally.

Bought by the late Robert Furniss Riding at that auction (alongside the 1932 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Drophead Coupe, chassis GBT80 which also forms part of the collection), the Phantom III was judged ‘Best Overall Car’ on the 2000 Loire Valley Phantom Rally which saw it cover 1,300 miles. A prize winner some thirteen years later when it was given the ‘Car of the Show’ award at the Gawsworth Hall Vintage & Classic Rally, chassis 3BU42 had had some £88,000 lavished on it between 2010 and 2012 with the majority of the work being carried out by Phantom III specialist M.J. Pickles. As well another engine overhaul, the Sports Limousine benefited from a relined clutch, re-cored radiator, brake system fettling, front hub refurbishment, bodywork fitment / paintwork improvements, renovated fuel tank and a complete exhaust system.

This elegant Phantom III boasts matching chassis and engine numbers, and is accompanied by a very large history file that includes restoration and event photographs; assorted newspaper articles; a vast quantity of invoices from both Robert Riding’s and Stanley Barraclough’s ownerships; RREC chassis card records; technical literature and diagrams; copy of the Sotheby’s auction catalogue; copies of two Jack Barclay order forms and build information; original sales literature and handbook; Isle of Man tax discs; sundry paperwork and Isle of Man registration document.

PLEASE NOTE: The IOM Registration Number shown in the images is being retained by the estate, another IOM Registration Number will be attributed by the time of the sale.

PLEASE NOTE: We have been advised that vehicles registered on, and imported from, the Isle of Man are not subject to Import Duty. Nor is a NOVA application required for their re-registration in the United Kingdom.

About Robert Furniss Riding:

Born in 1940, the only child of only children parents, Bob was educated at Stockport Grammar School then read natural sciences at Christ Church, Oxford. He joined William Deacon’s Bank, and had a stellar ascent through it and its subsequent iterations ending up as Group Treasurer of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He grasped the opportunity of early retirement in 1990 and moved to the Isle of Man where he had been left a house by an aunt. But Bob was far from being inactive, throwing himself into the local community and taking on the turn around of a local private bank as its Executive Chairman.

Sailing had been a preoccupation during his time in the City, but on coming to the Isle of Man, Bob switched his energies and focus to collecting “quality cars” – principally the products of Cricklewood, Derby and Crewe, but with some maverick exceptions such as Maserati and Caterham. Daimler’s and Lanchester’s also featured, and he had to move to a large country house to find garaging for the ever growing collection. His cars were regularly campaigned at rallies for the appropriate marque and were often deserved winners of various trophies. He also got involved in the relevant enthusiast clubs, usually ending up as Chairman – and his list of appointments included the Chairmanship of the Manx Classic Car Club and the Manx Motor Racing Club.

Bob was always a keen supporter of local charities, particularly maritime and those involving young people, and many will have cause to remember with gratitude his generosity and his apparently bottomless well of technical knowledge on “quality cars”, so freely shared. Bob left his Estate predominantly to Charity with the RNLI being the Residuary Beneficiary. Thus, in effect, the entire proceeds of the sale of the car collection will be received by the RNLI.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Cheetham
07538 667452


Auction: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, 19th Oct, 2022

An auction of classic & collector motorcars


Tuesday 18th October 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 19th October 2022 from 9am
Additional viewing for lots 200-254 on Thursday 20th October 2022 from 9am

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