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Lot 617: Rolls-Royce Phantom I 'Pall Mall' Tourer

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

Unlike its British counterpart, the New Phantom built by Rolls-Royce of America Incorporated could be ordered with 'factory' bodywork, usually by Brewster, the latter company having been taken over by Rolls-Royce in December 1925. Prior to its acquisition of Brewster, Rolls-Royce of America Inc had set up the Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Works (RRCCW) program to organise the supply of 'factory' bodywork, commencing with the Silver Ghost and continuing on the Phantom. Various established coachbuilders supplied bodies badged as 'RRCCW', including Merrimac, whose Pall Mall tourer was one of the most popular. However, it should be noted that this car's body, although referred to as a 'Pall Mall', has also been attributed to Murphy, another of Rolls-Royce's regular suppliers. Left-hand drive chassis number 'S95PM' was first owned by Jack Dempsey, who took delivery in March 1928, and subsequently by two other American celebrities: movie director Victor Fleming and lyricist Lew Brown. Born in 1895, William Harrison 'Jack' Dempsey ('The Manassa Mauler') held the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship from 1919 to 1926, an unprecedented run of success at that time. Dempsey did not keep his Rolls-Royce for long and in August 1928 the car passed to Victor Fleming, one of America's top movie directors whose career began in the silent era and lasted until his death in 1949. He is best remembered for directing 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Gone with the Wind', both released in 1939. In October 1930 the Phantom passed to Lew Brown, successful 'Tin Pan Alley' lyricist and co-writer of several Broadway shows. In 1954 the car was restored by one John H Griffin Jr, having been owned briefly by an Archie Hough, and after completion won the Rolls-Royce trophy at Hershey in 1955. In 1957 'S95PM' passed to one A R Cheek of Thurman, Iowa and following a period on museum display in the Mid-West and sojourns in various private collections was acquired by the Don Warren Family Foundation. The Rolls-Royce was purchased directly from Don Warren's widow, Marian, by Rudy Langer in 2007 and in November 2011 was sold to the current owner in Germany. Duty paid in the EU, the car comes with valid US Certificate of Title, German TüV and a technical appraisal dated 20.11.2012. The latter notes that the car started without problems and that all safety-critical components had been well maintained, rating its overall condition as '2+'.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
TypeCar
Lot Number617
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€110000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€126500
Year1928
Condition rating2
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberS95PM
Engine number20956
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors