1933 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM II WOODY ESTATE WAGON
COACHWORK BY BOHMAN & SCHWARTZ
Chassis No. MS122
Engine No. XN15
Black with natural wood finish with black leather interior in the front and tan leather interior and burr walnut in the rear compartment
Engine: six cylinder, iron cylinder head, overhead valves, 7,668cc; Gearbox: 4-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic front and rear springs; Brakes: four wheel internal expanding servo-assisted drum. Right hand drive.
In 1929 the Rolls-Royce Derby works introduced their Phantom II which saw a continuation of their policy of evolution rather than revolution. Although it retained the same engine size as the Phantom I, it had in fact more in common with the 20hp model, being virtually a larger edition of that car. The most notable changes were in the chassis and suspension which for the first time included semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear, the latter being underslung. The 'Springfield' American Phantom I centralized chassis lubricating system was adopted, providing oil to every movable chassis part. The engine, clutch housing and gearbox were now assembled in unit and the previous open propeller shaft and spiral bevel final drive were replaced by the Hotchkiss drive and hypoid bevel rear axle. The total package was designed to provide greater performance with better handling and braking that put most sports cars to shame, and yet was so flexible it could accelerate briskly from 5mph in top gear. The Phantom II attracted a younger, more sporting type of owner who appreciated its 90mph performance, and with its lower chassis line, the Phantom II provided the ideal platform for more elegant and imposing coachwork designs.
Chassis no. 112MS was ordered without coachwork and sent to Brewsters to be bodied as a Newport Convertible Sedan - the only such example with right hand drive, and upon completion was delivered to a Mrs. Chauncy Clark of Southern California. As legend has it, the Clarks had tremendous good fortune. At the turn of the century, Mr. Clark of Illinois was advised by his doctors to move west to aid his persistant allergy problems. He sold his whiskey business to Mr. Hiram Walker and moved to Arizona. After only a few years, the single largest deposit of copper known was discovered on their property. The Clarks sold their Arizona property and purchased property in Utah. They soon discovered gold on the Utah land. They moved yet again to Santa Fe Springs, and not surprisingly the land was rich with oil! Finally, the Clarks settled in Southern California and divided their time between a ranch in Rancho Santa Fe and a house in Pasadena where Mrs. Clark had her stable of motor cars, including this Phantom II and a Phantom II Henley Roadster.
Mrs. Clark was an avid animal photographer and her interest in this field intensified in the mid 1930s. She decided that she wanted the perfect car to photograph from while on safari. She sent both of her aging Phantoms to Bohman and Schwartz to be rebodied and updated - the Henley to a sedan and 112MS to its present form. Apparently Maurice Schwartz was reluctant to destroy the old Brewster Convertible Sedan coachwork on 112MS, but was ultimately convinced by Chris Bohman to do so. The result is this spectacular Woody fitted with beautiful cabinetry, a shooting roof, removable seating and a polished dash and bonnet. We are told that Bohman and Schwartz were so pleased with the result that the Rolls-Woody was featured on their stand at the 1939 Los Angeles Auto Show. The war put a hold on any trips to Africa on safari with the Rolls, however, in the years following, the Woody saw occasional use at Mrs. Clark's ranch in Rancho Santa Fe.
In recent years, public interest and nostalgia surrounding Woodys has grown dramatically. Many concours d'elegance events are now catering to this interest with classes for them including events such as Pebble Beach and the Louis Vuitton Classic in New York. In fact this Rolls-Royce Woody has an open invitation to participate in the new Concours d'Elegance at The Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel in September, and is one of the few Woodys eligible for events sponsored by the Classic Car Club of America and the Rolls-Royce Owners Club.