19th Jun, 2024 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

  Lot 15

1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limousine
No Reserve

Sold for £20,250

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: DLR 648C
Chassis No: 5VD51
MOT: Exempt

  • Supplied new via Jack Barclay Ltd to Mrs G.E. Davis of Gedma Investments Ltd
  • Enclosed Limousine coachwork by H.J. Mulliner Park Ward
  • 1 of only 516 Phantom Vs produced
  • Benefitting from a restoration in the late 1990s
  • Entered from a deceased estate and temptingly offered without reserve

A replacement for the Phantom IV and Silver Wraith, the Phantom V assumed the mantle of Rolls-Royce flagship in Autumn 1959. Although, based on a derivative of the same 'Bentley 9' modular chassis that underpinned its lesser Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 siblings, the newcomer boasted a substantially longer 145-inch wheelbase, wider track and extra reinforcement. A massive, welded box-section, cruciform-braced affair, the structure in question was equipped with independent coil-and-wishbone front suspension, a 'live' leaf-sprung back axle, power steering and mechanical servo-assisted drum brakes. Propelled by a 6230cc OHV V8 engine allied to four-speed automatic transmission, the Phantom V employed a special 3.89:1 rear axle ratio that enabled it to amble along at walking pace for ceremonial duties and yet still accelerate through 100mph (if just barely). Available to coach built special order only, the model was bodied by the likes of Hooper, James Young, Chapron, H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward and H.J. Mulliner Park Ward (the latter company being a Rolls-Royce created in-house amalgamation).

Despite an eye-wateringly expensive price tag when new, the Phantom V proved a surprisingly strong seller throughout its production life. Upgraded for 1963 with a new quad headlamp visage and seven percent more horsepower, some 516 are thought to have been made by the time the Phantom VI usurped it five years later. Although more commonly associated with monarchs, heads of state and plutocrats, the uber Rolls-Royce will forever be associated with at least one anti-establishment figure - John Lennon.

Chassis ‘5VD51’ wears Enclosed Limousine coachwork by H.J. Mulliner Park Ward and was supplied new in 1965 through Rolls-Royce agents Jack Barclay Ltd to Mrs G.E. Davis of Gedma Investments Ltd, the Phantom’s factory guarantee was issued on the 29th of March 1965. No doubt conscious that the car would be used for numerous long journeys, Mrs Davis specified the following extras: rear squab top bolster one-inch deeper than standard, special modified central rear armrest with hinged lid, compact, notebook and pencil, cigarette case, cocktail cabinet (two decanters, four glasses, one bottle opener, two hand cushions), electric windows to all doors, special rear footrests and an electric aerial. Finished in Maroon with a Black roof covering, the interior was trimmed in Valentine's Burgundy upholstery.

As well as the expected Phantom V accoutrements such as foldout occasional seats and a glass division, chassis number '5VD51' boasts opening rear quarter lights and four pull-out armrests to its front bench seat. Well used during Mrs Davis ownership, among the accompanying sundry paperwork there is a chauffeur's hand-written logbook with entries stretching from 4th November 1968 (26,929 recorded miles) to 3rd February 1982 (75,707 recorded miles). Apart from revealing that the car was principally maintained by the chauffeur and local dealer Caffyns of Eastbourne (aside from the occasional visit to Rolls-Royce's Cricklewood service depot), it showed just how far the Phantom V ventured. Beyond the frequent trips to Brighton and London, that a wealthy Sussex resident might have been expected to make, are notes detailing repeat excursions to Harrogate, Leeds, Stamford, Bury, Oldham, Honiton and Taunton etc. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, chassis '5VD51' certainly served up first class comfort; a little bit like having one's own cabin on the Orient Express.

Bequeathed by Mrs Davis to her sibling P.J. Binns in 1995, the Rolls-Royce entered the previous ownership during 1996, in which it resided for twelve years. At the time of purchase by the previous keeper, the Phantom was looking somewhat forlorn. Undaunted he embarked upon a sympathetic restoration programme that saw particular attention paid to the chassis (new sills, step boxes etc), brake pipes, steering hoses, engine bay and paintwork. Pleasingly retaining its original upholstery, the Phantom V has spent the following ten years being shown at various rallies and concours events. Awarded the North of England Lancaster Trophy in 1999, it won its class at the RREC's Annual Rally some two seasons later. Judged second in class at the RREC's Kelmarsh Hall meeting just last month, chassis '5VD51' performed well on a recent test drive. Offered for sale to make way for another project, the Phantom was purchased through H&H by the late vendor in 2008.

A retired motor engineer, the late vendor self-serviced the car annually during his ownership, cherishing and enjoying the Phantom, including attending numerous rallies and using most weekends until c.2018 when his health sadly deteriorated. Thereafter, off the road for around six-years, following the passing of the vendor, the Phantom has received new points, plugs, leads and servicing by well-respected retired Rolls-Royce technician Peter Bolton, and started readily and was running well during our photography session, however, a degree of recommissioning should be anticipated. Accompanied by a significant history file that contains a large selection of previous MOTs dating back to the early 1990s, sundry invoices, the original handbook, copy of the chassis cards, the aforementioned handwritten logs, and V5C document. The original vanity mirror, cigarette case, and notepad are also included. Temptingly offered without reserve!

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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