1929 ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM I SALOON
COACHWORK BY SOUTHERN
Registration No: DXE509
Chassis No. 116 WR
Engine No. AE35
Dove grey with blue coachlines and dark blue leather upholstery
Engine: Straight-six, push-rod overhead valves, 7668cc; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: beam front on half elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle on cantilever leaf springs; Brakes: four-wheel mechanically operated, servo-assisted drum. Right-hand drive.
The 40/50 hp New Phantom I of 1925 was only the second new Rolls-Royce type to be offered to the public in the twenty years since the greatly admired Silver Ghost had been launched in 1906. Deriving directly from the Ghost, its engine influenced by the overhead valve 20 hp Rolls-Royce introduced a few years previously, it possessed excellent servo-assisted four wheel brakes and an engine claimed to offer one-third power more than the Ghost's. Even with elaborate formal coachwork its maximum was some 80 mph, with a lightness in handling and controls that belied its great size. The chassis's longevity was proverbial, but it was a period of rapid change in body design.
As time passed some Phantom I cars were updated with fashionable new coachwork. Operating in the mid-1930s from premises in South Hill Park, Clapham, in South London, Southern Coachworks specialised in refurbishing and modernising 20hp and 40/50 hp Rolls-Royces, equipping them with stylish bodies built to their order by Coachcraft and Ranalah. Southern always stated they submitted the reconditioned chassis to Rolls-Royce for their approval. At a time when a swingeing tax on their rated horsepower ensured that after a few years these great cars lost much of their value, it was a shrewd way of buying a Rolls-Royce that looked and drove very much like new, but at well below the cost of buying the latest model.
Today these modernised Rolls-Royces have a certain appeal, and this example is no exception, indeed it appears to be a most attractive coachwork, bringing this car up to date with late 1930s styling. Originally laid down in 1928, delivered and registered to "Windovers Demonstration" in March 1929, it was first bodied by them and subsequently shipped to its first real owner, via Southampton to New York on the 'SS Olympic', the sister ship to the ill-fated 'Titanic', on 1st October 1929, although the owner gave addresses in both London Piccadilly and New York Park Avenue. By early the 1930s it appears that the car returned to England and the next recorded owner, also registered in the original buff log-book is William May, trading as Southern Motor Co. which is dated 1937. After the new body was fitted the car was then sold to Capt. The Hon. R.H.B. Norton Esq., of Iver Heath, who sold it the following year and it passed through Station Garage at Dore in Sheffield, who kept it for a fortnight, selling it to the next owner Ernest Allen Esq, of Totley Hall, Sheffield who possessed it up until the end of WWII. It was owned for a period by the famous firm of 'Ki-Gass Ltd' of Leamington Spa, transferring next to Peter Lloyd Esq and thence to Peter Baines in 1968, who subsequently has become a well-respected member of staff at the Paulerspury Headquarters of the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club and is currently editor of the club "Bulletin", the members' magazine.
Since being brought in to the collection in recent years it has been the subject of the most extensive restoration to the very highest standards. Beautifully refinished in dove grey with blue coach-lining, the sumptuous interior has been exquisitely restored with dark blue leather upholstery and door panels, highly french-polished veneered cars in this collection. The car is now presented with new MoT test, tax and current V5 document, and a brief history file, including some before-and-after restoration photographs, old-style log-book etc. This is a very fine and imposing motorcar by any standards and is ready for any show or road-event for its next custodian.