1931 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Phantom I Skiff Bodied Boattail SpeedsterSOLD

RM Auctions - The Ponder Collection - Texas - April 20-21st, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $175,000 - $225,000

$115,500 Sold

120bhp 7,668cc, overhead valve inline six-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, leaf spring solid axle front suspension, longitudinal leaf spring live axle rear suspension and servo-assisted four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 143.5"

A direct descendent of the Silver Ghost, the Rolls-Royce Phantom I, was launched in May 1925 as “the new Phantom” and would stay in production until 1931. “New” in the case of the Phantom I would be a relative statement, as Sir Henry Royce felt that the Silver Ghost chassis was adequately robust and could not be persuaded that the company needed an all-new chassis for the Phantom I.

Instead, the chassis was merely upgraded through a process of careful technical advancement that reflected Royce’s belief in evolution rather than a revolution when it came to improvements. Now offering customers two different wheelbase lengths from which to choose, 143.5 inches or the longer 150.5 inches, the Phantom I was better suited to adopt a wide variety of custom coachwork than its predecessor.

Perpetuating the original ideals of Fredick Henry Royce, the Phantom I’s new overhead valve engine, front wheel brakes, numerous suspension and gearbox improvements elevated standards of comfort, performance and refinement, which truly solidified Rolls-Royce enviable position at the top of the luxury market.

The 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom I presented here, chassis no. S155PR, was ordered by a Mr. T. Simpson and was delivered January 26, 1931 wearing special seven-passenger enclosed coachwork. After this first ownership it was converted to an ambulance and was donated to St. Claire’s Hospital in March of 1943.

Clearly no longer in ambulance configuration, the car was converted to a skiff body style. A plaque on the car reads “Chassis – Robert A. Kramer, Sculpture – Chip Kussmaul Cincinnati, Woodworks and J, SF, H and BV for owner Jack O’Connor”
The skiff body style is one that dates to the earliest days of motoring. Wood, a relatively light, strong and readily available composite material, lent itself perfectly to early automotive needs, while skilled craftsmen, particularly boat builders were commonplace at any coastal city.

Aside from its automotive applications, the term skiff is most often used today to describe a small flat-bottomed open boat with a pointed bow and a flat stern. Such is exactly the shape of the rear three-quarters of the Rolls-Royce presented here.

Undoubtedly a fan of the skiff body style, the owner who commissioned this body, Mr. Jack O’Connor, had a boatbuilding firm perform the woodwork on the Phantom I. The mileage reads 80,203, and although it cannot be verified, we have no reason not to believe it to be original. The engine and underbody are both pleasantly clean, showing a careful and special attention paid to maintenance and preservation. Displaying a high quality older restoration, the skiff body is very clean and unless highly scrutinized, appears quite presentable.

The interior has been reupholstered in red leather and features a special red carpet with Rolls-Royce Phantom I script in gray. The driver is presented with a large steering wheel on the left hand side fitted with all the proper Phantom I controls and an engine turned dash with a full complement of Rolls-Royce gauges that includes a Waltham clock. The Lucas Bulls Eye headlamps are extremely impressive and were restored at a cost of over $10,000. The combination of the headlamps and driving lamps are stunning and give the car an unmistakable look from any angle. We understand the engine was also fully rebuilt approximately 2,000 miles ago and that the Rolls-Royce runs as one would expect and is virtually silent in its operation.

A two-piece Louis Vuitton luggage set is strapped down to a custom chrome luggage rack that straddles the pointed tail section of the car and is fixed to the chassis itself. The Louis Vuitton baggage appears to be authentic, and even features some authentic vintage customs stickers. Other notable features found on the Phantom I include, a full tonneau cover, as well as dual side mounted spares that, like the four driving wheels, feature full black wheel covers with a red pinstripe and polished accents. Truly an outstanding and impressively constructed elegant motor car, we encourage close inspection of this skiff-bodied Rolls-Royce.

Reference Number 7587

as of 2/27/2007

Car 1931 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Phantom I Skiff Bodied Boattail Speedster
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