Originally supplied to H.H. The Maharajah of Dinajpur
1927 ROLLS-ROYCE 40/50hp PHANTOM 1 SIMPLEX ALL WEATHER TOURER
COACHWORK BY H.J. MULLINER, Body No. 3328
Chassis No. 41 NC
Engine No. EL 35
Ivory white with blue wings, and blue interior
Engine: straight six, push rod overhead valves, 7,668cc; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: front, semi-elliptic leaf spring, rear cantilever leaf spring; Brakes: four wheel mechanically operated, servo-assisted drum. Right hand drive
The requests of the Indian Maharajahs allowed both Rolls-Royce and the coachbuilder to excel their practices, this car is one such example of their high quality of workmanship.
41 NC was ordered new in October 1926 by H.H. The Maharajah of Dinajpur, this was his second Rolls-Royce having purchased a 20hp model in 1924. A long wheel base chassis, it was sent to H.J. Mulliner of Chiswick to be equipped with the 'All Weather' touring coachwork that it still wears today. The precise specification is recorded over two whole pages of the company build sheets, its owner seemingly requesting virtually every optional extra available.
In detail, externally, the car would feature large Stephen Grebel headlights fitted to a Barker dipping mechanism but retaining Lucas dipping inside. In place of sidelights were fitted 'Sassoon' type lights let into the ends of the front wings, and an Atlantic spotlamp mounted to the drivers side of the coachwork. Twin spare wheels sat either side of the Colonial type louvred bonnet, and the windscreen made to be of four-piece construction such that all panels defected outwards. Each door had a private lock, and its windows were tinted to obscure viewing of its passengers. Under both running boards were tool trays, and the boards themselves were automatically lit at the stepping point, on opening each door. To the rear of the coachwork a Rolls-Royce folding luggage rack was fitted.
For the chauffeur, the interior of the car bore the customary nickel finished instruments, set into an engine-turned panel, with Ivory white finish to the steering wheel and controls. Whilst the passengers behind the fixed bench front seat had the luxury of a folding centre table, shelves for cigar and cigarette boxes and cut glass flower vase, a pair of centre facing occasional seats completed the fittings. Additional equipment included a Finnigan Luncheon and Tea case, Thermos flask and beakers in a leather case and a set of silk covers for the upholstery.
Nearly four months passed while Mulliners' worked on the Phantom 1, but at the end of April 1927, resplendent in Pearl Grey livery and trim, and wearing a silver and blue coat of arms to the rear doors, the car was shipped to Calcutta.
From research carried out by the current owner, who was able to make contact with the original chauffeur it appears that the Rolls-Royce was rarely used even when new, as the Maharajah had a mere half a mile of road to drive it on! The most use that it had was at Christmas and New Year, when the car was taken by train to Calcutta for the festivities, but after this each year the Phantom once again returned to its garage.
At the time of partition the Maharajah, a hindu, opted for India and so his palace, and possessions including the Rolls-Royce were auctioned by the Government. The car was later purchased from the buyer at that auction by the vendor in 1969.
When acquired the car was in completely original order having been used so little, even the headlamp bulbs were original. The vendor drove the car some 300 miles, but felt that it should restored so that it could be used more regularly. Accordingly he wrote to Rolls-Royce requesting information on the Phantom chassis, they obliged providing basic details of the car's unique specification from their records and supplying a handbook. On receipt of this information the owner was certain that such work could not be undertaken at home, and the car should be sent to England to be attended to.
It was here that restoration began on the car, supervised by the vendor's brother. The car was re-upholstered Brian Frost Coach Trimmers to the present blue leather and other detail work was completed by David Hemmings, at this time the woodwork partition was re-created with inlaid ivory decoration.
Although the car was driven at this time and used on a few occasions it was not entirely completed, and was subsequently consigned to storage where it has remained for fourteen years. The Phantom has not been run during its period of storage and it is understood that the engine will require rebuilding prior to use.
In essence this represents an excellent basis which with further work will make a fine all-weather touring car. There are a few minor detail fittings that are missing such as bonnet locks, but ostensibly the Rolls-Royce is complete, and the very accurate build sheets will no doubt assist with sourcing replacement parts.
When finished this will once again be a magnificent Indian Phantom and a potential future concours entry.