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Lot 619: 1932 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom II Continental Sports Saloon
Coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

Reputedly the last model Henry Royce designed himself, the Phantom II was introduced in 1929 as a successor to the New Phantom (retrospectively known as the Phantom I) with deliveries commencing in September of that year. Unlike its predecessor, which inherited its underpinnings from the preceding 40/50hp model, the Silver Ghost, the Phantom II employed an entirely new chassis laid out along the lines of that of the smaller 20hp Rolls-Royce. Built in two wheelbase lengths - 144” and 150”, the former being used for the sporting Continental models - this new low-slung frame, with its radiator set well back, enabled coachbuilders to body the car in the modern idiom, creating sleeker designs than the upright ones of the past.
The engine too had come in for extensive revision. The PI’s cylinder dimensions and basic layout - two blocks of three cylinders, with an aluminium cylinder head common to both blocks - were retained, but the combustion chambers had been redesigned and the ’head was now of the cross-flow type, with inlet and exhaust manifolds on opposite sides. The magneto/coil dual ignition system remained the same as on the PI.
The result of these engine changes was greatly enhanced performance, particularly of the Continental model, and the ability to accommodate weightier coachwork. Designed around the short (144”) Phantom II chassis and introduced in 1930, the Continental was conceived as ‘an enthusiastic owner driver’s car’ and featured revised rear suspension, higher axle ratio and lowered steering column. By the end of production the magnificent Phantom II Continental was good for 95mph. ‘Powerful, docile, delightfully easy to control and a thoroughbred, it behaves in a manner which is difficult to convey without seeming to over-praise,’ opined The Motor after testing a PII Continental in March 1934.
Highly favoured by prominent coachbuilders, the Phantom II chassis provided the platform for some of the truly outstanding designs of its day and this Continental model wears handsome sports saloon coachwork by the respected London-based firm of Thrupp & Maberly, a concern noted for a succession of coachbuilding innovations during the 1920s and 1930s. Chassis number ’22 PY’ was
sold to Rootes Ltd, of Piccadilly in June 1933 and featured on its coachbuilder’s stand at that year’s Olympia Motor Show. The car was sold to its first private owner, E E Taylor Esq, of Sutton, Surrey in November 1933. Sadly, by the 1950s, this extremely handsome sports saloon had suffered serious neglect and was left in an underground warehouse, remaining there until 1959 when it was sold for £10 plus £25 for four new tyres. It would be a further ten years before restoration commenced (in 1969) when the car was purchased by well-known Rolls-Royce enthusiast, Mr John Donner at a cost of £1,150.
With much work being done by Nicholas Harley on the chassis and by Wilkinson’s on the coachwork, with final engineering entrusted to well-respected Rolls-Royce specialists Sargent’s of Goudhurst, the outcome was one of the finest restorations of the period. On completion, this wonderful Rolls-Royce took part in the Alpine Commemorative Rally of 1973 and is recorded in the official record of the event wherein John Donner remarks that the car is once more ‘able to take its place with pride at any Motor Show.’ ‘PY 22’ also features in two of the most authoritative Rolls-Royce works: Raymond Gentile’s The Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental and Lawrence Dalton’s Those Elegant Rolls-Royce, both published by Dalton Watson.
We are advised by the current vendor that the car benefits from recent cosmetic restoration and is in excellent condition throughout. Offered with copy order form and chassis cards, current MoT and Swansea V5, this Continental is a fine example of the ‘Sporting Phantom’, suitable for touring in the grand manner and any number of prestigious events including, of course, those of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
Lot Number619
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£82000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£91700
Condition rating
Registration numberALY 601
Chassis number
Engine numberVQ 15
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors