Formerly the Property of Mr. Jack Warner
1929 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM I CONVERTIBLE SEDAN
COACHWORK BY HIBBARD AND DARRIN
Chassis No. S319KP
Engine No. 20198
Cream with beige fenders and belting with light brown pinstriping, tan tufted leather interior and a beige convertible top
Engine: six cylinders, in-line, overhead valves, 65 rated horsepower; Gearbox: three-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic front, cantilever springs rear; Brakes: Rolls-Royce hydraulic rear, mechanical servo-assisted front. Left hand drive.
From 1921 to 1935 Rolls-Royce also built and assembled cars in America. Basing their plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, they brought the same dedication to impeccable workmanship, quality of materials and integrity of design and engineering that had been the marque's guiding principles ever since the first car drove out of their original works in Manchester, England in 1904. At first the Springfield cars were virtually carbon copies of the English Silver Ghost, right down to twelve-volt electrical systems and right hand drive. But as time went by the US-built cars were changed to specifically meet American driving conditions and by 1927, when the Phantom I was introduced, the American versions had features not seen on the English cars until years later. These included a 'one-shot' chassis lubrication system, disposable oil filter, carburetor air cleaner and thermostatic radiator shutters.
The Springfield New Phantom enjoyed good sales during the last years of the Roaring Twenties, with 300 delivered in the US in 1928 alone. While every car carried custom coachwork, most were built in series and catalogued as standard styles so that customers could effect speedier delivery of their new cars and save some money at the same time. But Rolls-Royce also quite happily catered to those individuals who wanted a one-off design to suit their personalities and tastes. Mechanically, the Phantom I combined the traditional and the new. The engine was now an overhead valve six in place of the Silver Ghost's thoroughly proven sidevalve unit; the powerplant which built the car's reputation for reliability, silence of operation and unprecedented longevity. Four-wheel brakes at last appeared, three years later than on the English cars, while suspension remained essentially unchanged.
Hibbard & Darrin, designer and builder of the striking body on this car, was founded in 1923 by Thomas L. Hibbard and Howard 'Dutch' Darrin, two Americans living in Paris, France. Hibbard had originally gone to Paris to open the Continental branch of LeBaron coachworks, but instead quickly teamed with Darrin and opened a highly successful carrossierie in the French capital. Their coachwork had great flair and they created, among other body innovations, the 'dip' of the canvas top between the front and rear compartment which added style and privacy to convertible sedans. Dual windshields were provided for added comfort during top-down motoring. Such sophistication and panache came at a cost: factory price for the Hibbard & Darrin transformable in 1929 was a formidable $19,665!
This car was originally delivered to movie mogul Jack Warner of Warner Brothers on March 7, 1929. We understand the Rolls-Royce was purchased by Mr. Browning in the early 1980s. Since then the car has been expertly maintained and is in wonderful overall condition. The chassis, underbody, engine bay and motor are all highly presentable. The cream and beige paint scheme is complemented by light brown pinstriping while the tan leather interior is restored to correct Springfield Rolls-Royce pattern. A leather trunk for touring is finished in tan and matches the convertible top and interior. Lamps are correct Rolls-Royce factory issue and the classic radiator shell has been restored with chromium plate rather than the original German silver for ease of maintenance. Instrumentation is complete and correct and includes an electric Seth Thomas clock. The odometer indicates a mileage of 67,979, which is believed to be from new.
The exterior, interior and underbody of this car are very clean with minimal mileage covered since its restoration. It shows extremely well and is equally qualified for shows, concours events or tours. It would be a most welcome and attractive addition to activities of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club in North America, the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club in England, the Classic Car Club of America or any of the national antique auto clubs here or overseas.