1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Ascot Tourer by BrewsterSOLD
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Engine Type: 7.7 Litre Inline 6-Cylinder
Engine Number:21788
Color:Rouge Carmine over Amaranto / Beige Leather

Reference Number 212917

as of 2/12/2013

Overview
Car 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Ascot Tourer by Brewster
VIN S178FR 
Mileage 89,046 miles 
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Known History

 

1929 Rolls Royce Phantom I Ascot Tourer by Brewster

s/n S178FR, Engine no. 21788

Rouge Carmine with Amaranto Leather

 

In the late 1920s, before the Great Depression, Rolls-Royce were the height of fashion for the social elite, with an enviable reputation for quality, performance, and luxury. Nearly a century later the Rolls Royce name remains synonymous with success, dignity, and sophistication.

 

September 1926 saw the Springfield works change over from Silver Ghost to New Phantom production of the New Phantom or "40/50HP Phantom" on it's release. this model replaced the Silver Ghost with updates to the chassis and running gear. It was Roll-Royce's flagship model until the Phantom II was released in 1929.

 

Compared to the Silver Ghost, the single biggest upgrade was made to the engine which was cast in three blocks, each having two cylinders and detachable cylinder heads. With a pushrod, overhead valvetrain the 7,668 cc unit was powerful enough to move around large cars. The Phantom engine could run smoother and a lower rpm with a favorable torque curve. The engine was attached to a separate 4-speed gearbox unit through a rubber coupling to reduce vibration. Power was send to the rear wheels though a torque tube, as on the post 1965 transaxle Ferraris, just 36 years earlier! Other upgrades from the Phantom included a disc-type clutch and adjustable radiator shutters.Throughout production, the Phantom was upgraded in detail such as the cylinder which was cast in aluminum from 1928 onward.

 

The Phantom I was a great success for Roll-Royce which was extended to the Springfield, Massachusetts plant. American versions featured slightly different wheelbases, and bodies were constructed by several different coach builders. With the Phantom I, along came a string of fashionable, new designs from coach builder Brewster. These, included some of the most sought-after body styles ever to grace Rolls-Royce chassis on either side of the Atlantic: the Henley Roadster, the Derby Speedster, and, as presented here, the Ascot Phaeton.

 

The sporty, open-bodied Ascot combined the highest levels of comfort and reliability, so owners could concentrate on enjoying the trappings of the lifestyle that went hand-in-hand with Rolls-Royce ownership.

 

Chassis number S178FR, the sporting Ascot presented here was delivered new in August 1929, through J.S. Inskip to Robert Griffin of New Jersey. Chassis cards on file from the RROC note that Mr. Griffin later traded the Ascot for another stylish and desirable Phantom, a Henley Roadster. The Ascot then passed to Mr. Bernard Heaton of Boston who kept the Rolls-Royce until October 1946. At that time, records note that the Ascot was taken on consignment by Elliot G. Hawley and sold the following February to Peter Franz, both of New York.

 

In January 1953, pioneering car collector Henry C. Wing notified the RROC of his ownership of S178FR and while under his care the Ascot was restored before being sold in 1956 to prominent Veteran Car Club of America member William O’Connor of Norfolk Connecticut. O’Connor toured enthusiastically with the Rolls-Royce, and one such trip to Florida was extensively featured in a RROC magazine article, a copy of which is included in the sale. In 1969, Mr. O’Connor sold the Ascot to another well-known collector, Paul Stern of Manheim, Pennsylvania. Under Mr. Stern’s ownership, the car was photographed and featured in the book Rolls-Royce in America by John Webb de Campi. Subsequently, the phaeton was sold in 1973 to another well-known collector, Wallace Rank of Wisconsin, who kept it for approximately 12 years before selling it to Mark Smith in the mid-1980s.

 

Chassis number S178FR was more recently sold to its current owner, who then undertook a comprehensive restoration in the United Kingdom. The engine work was carried out by marque specialist A.J. Glew, and is detailed in invoices. These receipts along with a file of documentation and magazine articles accompany the sale. In addition to re-chroming all brightwork and re-trimming the interior and hood, a complete bare metal repaint was undertaken. Its current livery of “Rouge Carmine” over “Amaranto” with beige leather trim beautifully complements its dramatic lines. Attractive details to note are the “Auster” screen for the rear compartment, rear arm rests, and twin Stephen Grebel spotlights, all of which are likely period-correct options.

 

The car is in very good restored condition at present. It retains its original engine, coachwork, and chassis some 74 years after production! Rolls Royce foundation denote ownership history from new, and it is one of just 28 Ascot tourers are known to have been bodied by Brewster. Featured in John Webb de Campi's book Rolls Royce in America, and accompanied by restoration invoices for recent works performed in the UK, this is a truly well documented example.

 

Immensely impressive even when static, and incredible value when the cost of a full restoration is considered, this dignified, sporty, open automobile represent an exciting opportunity for any Pre-War Rolls Royce enthusiast looking for a special piece of American history.