14th Jun, 2023 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

 
  Lot 89
 

1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake
Entered from the Guinness Collection

Estimated at £60,000 - £80,000

Lot details

Registration No: YV 9253
Chassis No: 95FH
MOT: Exempt

  • Supplied new to Arthur H. Wrey Esq. (son of Sir Henry Wrey, 10th Baronet)
  • Comprehensively restored in the 1990s
  • Previously in the ownership of the renowned car collector and Tory MP, Rt Hon Alan Clark
  • Matching chassis and engine numbers
  • Offered directly from the Guinness Family collection, in which it has resided since 2007, and used on the Elveden Estate for shoots

"After seven years of experiment and test, the 40/50hp six-cylinder Phantom chassis emerged, and is offered to the public as the most suitable type possible for a mechanically-propelled chassis under present-day conditions" (New Phantom launch brochure, May 1925).

By 1925, the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost had been upstaged by a younger generation of more technically advanced luxury cars. The glory days of the 1913 Alpine Trials had long passed and both F. Henry Royce and RR sales manager Claude Johnson felt the need to produce a new claimant to the title 'best car in the world'. Just as the competition between car manufacturers was becoming increasingly fierce so that between rival coachbuilders had intensified correspondingly. With the arrival of each faster, more powerful chassis came the opportunity to construct ever more lavish, sophisticated coachwork. To ensure that their cars could be fitted with the finest bodies in the world, Rolls Royce introduced the 'New Phantom'.

While, its tapered channel-section chassis, four-speed manual transmission, supple springing (semi-elliptic front, cantilever rear), and ingenious gearbox driven servo-assisted four-wheel brakes owed much to its predecessor, the Phantom's 7668cc engine was all new. Quoted as being an impressive thirty-three percent more powerful than the Ghost's unit, it featured overhead valves set in a detachable cylinder head, two-cylinder blocks with three cylinders each, an aluminium alloy crankcase, and a massive seven-bearing crankshaft. Bore and stroke dimensions of 108 x 139.7mm resulted in abundant torque enabling the flagship Rolls-Royce to accelerate from walking speed to approximately 80mph in top gear. Unveiled at the company's 14/15 Conduit St, London showrooms during May 1925, the ‘New Phantom' remained in production until 1929 by which time some 2,269 chassis had been delivered.

Chassis 95FH was delivered new to coachbuilders Windovers Ltd on the 12th of May 1928 and was clothed in Limousine coachwork as specified by the first owner Arthur H. Wrey Esq., son of Sir Henry Wrey, 10th Baronet and a relative of Lt. Colonel Charles Parke Ibbetson who served in the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s own cavalry regiment), which achieved distinction in the Charge of the Light Brigade. Residing at 7 Royal Crescent, Regents Park, NW1, Arthur H. Wrey Esq., had the order diverted to his Surrey address of Romany House, The Wentworth Estate. It is unknown as to how long A. H. Wrey Esq. retain the Phantom, but the subsequent ownership history found chassis 95FH in the possession of a funeral director based in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire between 1950 and 1960.

Thereafter passing through two private owners in the 1960s and 1970s between Middlesex, Essex, and Kent, the third private keeper retained ‘YV 9253’ from 1972 until 1990 when it was purchased into the collection of the arch car enthusiast and MP, the Rt Hon Alan Clark. A passionate motoring enthusiast, Clark bought his first car, a 6½-litre Bentley, while still at Eton. He went on to deal in classic and Vintage cars, amassing an impressive collection of Bentleys while also writing columns for Thoroughbred & Classic Cars magazine in the UK and Road & Track in the USA. He later recounted his motoring exploits in a book entitled Backfire: A Passion for Cars and Motoring.

In poor condition when entering the Rt Hon Alan Clark collection, the chassis was re-clothed as part of a comprehensive restoration into the Shooting Brake coachwork seen here – which was transferred from a Ghost. Completed during the 1990s, it is unclear as to whether this was before or after Mr. Clark’s custodianship, with him selling the Phantom through Sotheby's, again in the 1990s. Another long-term private keeper ensued before the Phantom was acquired into the Guinness Family collection, in which it has resided since 2007. Used on the Elveden Estate, one of the world's most renowned locations for shoots and having historic shooting since the 1700s, the Rolls-Royce has surely seen some interesting trips and carried some fascinating characters. The large, imposing coachwork stands over seven feet tall and being transferred from a Ghost, it is of 1920s design rather than lots of other post-war coachwork that is seen on such chassis’.

Providing seating for twelve adults, ‘YV 9253’ can (and has) been used as a Shooting Brake, transporting its occupants in both (relative) comfort and style. Boasting matching chassis and engine numbers, the Rolls-Royce is accompanied to auction with a history file that contains the Rolls-Royce Enthusiast Club build records, a continuation ‘buff’-style logbook, several previous invoices and MOT certificates, and an instruction manual. The V5C document is included, as well as previous V5 ownership logbooks. This example, with its interesting history and intriguing coachwork, marks a fabulous opportunity and would be an interesting addition to many a collection (especially if the new owner had access to a suitable estate).

For more information, please contact:
Paul Cheetham
paul.cheetham@handh.co.uk
07538 667452

 

Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 14th Jun, 2023

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