Lot 692: 1928 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom I Cabriolet
Rolls-Royce�s �single model� policy had proved to be an outstanding success for the company, but immediately after the end of the Great War the recession in the motor trade prompted the introduction of a smaller, cheaper, 20hp car to be built alongside the existing 40/50hp Silver Ghost. Henry Royce�s new design incorporated a number of modern features such as overhead valve-gear for its six-cylinder engine, a centre-change gearbox and �Hotchkiss drive� rear axle, the advanced newcomer�s arrival only serving to emphasise the Silver Ghost�s Edwardian origins. However, the 45/50hp model would soon benefit from developments pioneered on its smaller sibling.
Long-awaited successor to the �Ghost, the New Phantom arrived in 1925. �After seven years of experiment and test, in the course of which no promising device had remained untried, the 45/50hp Phantom chassis emerged, and is offered to the public as the most suitable type possible for a mechanically propelled carriage under present-day conditions,� announced Rolls-Royce.
Retrospectively known as the �Phantom I�, the newcomer boasted an entirely new push-rod overhead-valve, 7,688cc, six-cylinder engine with detachable cylinder head, a unit considerably more powerful than that of its Edwardian predecessor. The New Phantom, like the 20hp, adopted a disc-type clutch and adjustable radiator shutters; its chassis though, remained essentially the same as that of the later four-wheel-braked �Ghost and would continue fundamentally unchanged until the arrival of the Phantom II in 1929 brought with it an entirely new frame. Some 2,212 Phantom I chassis had left Rolls-Royce�s UK factory by the time production ceased.
Phantom I chassis number �94FH� was originally delivered with �faux cabriolet� coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly to first owner, one A J Newberry. Restored at date unknown, the car is currently fitted with a Barker-style cabriolet body while other noteworthy features include twin Grebel lights and an additional �emergency� horn. We are advised that the car was imported into France from the UK in 1986 and that in 1998 it took part in the Louis Vuitton Classic China Run. Since leaving this country, �94FH� has spent much of the time on display in the Geneva Museum where it has been maintained by local Rolls-Royce specialist, Paul Peillonex. Offered fresh from re-commissioning following its period of museum display, the car comes with copy build sheets, French Carte Grise, old Swansea V5 registration document and MoT certificate (expired 1987).
Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles|
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
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|Registration number||DS 7431|
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