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Lot 16
1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Saloon
OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE

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Selling on Saturday

Factory Experimental Unit; Coachwork by Park Ward

CHASSIS NO: 3AEX33

• Important historical status
• Displayed at the 29th Salon de l’Automobile
• Ideal for adventures in touring
• Original tools included
• Factory original instrumentation


This lot is available for online bidding at Proxibid.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com

7,388cc OHV V-12 engine, 165 HP, twin-choke Stromberg two-barrel carburetor, four-speed synchromesh manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with longitudinal leaf springs, four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical brakes; wheelbase: 142"


When Sir Henry Royce worked toward perfection in the automobiles that would carry his last name, he wanted nothing but the finest in mechanical excellence and coachwork that was befitted these elegant chassis. The last model that Sir Royce personally assisted in the development of was the mighty Phantom III. Unlike all its predecessors, which were powered by inline six-cylinder engines, the third generation of Phantoms would be powered by a V-12 that featured all-aluminum construction, have silent running hydraulic lifters, feature twin distributors and have the fuel delivered through a specially developed twin-choke carburetor supplied by Stromberg. Introduced in 1936, only 737 of these massive machines would be produced before the winds of war shut down civilian production in 1939.

On offer here is one of the more interesting Phantom IIIs produced. Assembled in the summer of 1935, this was the last of four experimental or prototype chassis created for testing and development. A saloon body was secured from Park Ward and mounted on the chassis upon its completion which it still retains to this day. Historical notations show that as early as August 28, 1935, this revolutionary vehicle was being tested at the Derby factory and a few days later, on September 3rd, was licensed for use on public roads and assigned registration number RC3168. Factory records show that test driver “Lewis” piloted the car to Paris, most likely via ferry boat, where it was to be displayed at the 29th Salon de l’Automobile which introduced the 1936 model year vehicles to the enthusiastic crowds. After its quite successful and well-received debut in Paris, this car was returned to Derby where the Sales Department used it as a demonstrator and a loaner for VIPs. Records indicate that the future King of England, HRH Prince George, then the Duke of Kent, used this handsome machine for a weekend event in February 1936, and later it was loaned to Sir John Leigh, a successful publisher and involved in the cotton industry. So impressed with this very car, Sir Leigh would go on to purchase four Phantom IIIs for his own motor car fleet. Later, this Rolls-Royce was returned to the factory garage where the original Phantom III V-12 engine, motor #6, was removed and motor #10 was installed, which is still with the car today. At about this same time, the chassis was upgraded to the latest specifications and the original chassis number, 33EX, was changed to 3AEX33. On June 28, 1938, this historic saloon was sold to James Cadman of Walton Hall, Eccleshall, Lanchashire through George Heath Ltd. of Birmingham. By 1953, John L. Mackinlay of Yorkshire owned the car and later transferred it to Sir Leonard Roper. By 1960, the car had made its way to the USA where it was owned by George Gray Farr. In the 1990s, it was acquired by enthusiast Jim Cox from Missouri who sorted out several mechanical issues before it traded hands sometime in or around 2010.

Today, this splendid Rolls-Royce is presented in a pleasing combination of light gray with gloss black fenders and upper body panels including the hood, trunk lid and roof, which are accented with red pin-striping on the body sides. A complete set of disc wheels, including the mounted spare tire, are color-keyed to the body finish. The seats have been upholstered in plush red leather which is accented by the wood graining of the dashboard and garnish moldings on the door. The dashboard has a full assortment of gauges including electrical, oil pressure, fuel level and water temperature as well as a small clock. The odometer currently shows just under 4,700 miles, but the true mileage is unknown. Included with the car is an assortment of tools which are believed to be original to the car and stored in a pull-out tray below the left-rear passenger seat. Under the dashboard is a 1960s era all-transistor AM radio with concealed speakers and the car is also equipped with semaphore turn indicators. Reported to be mechanically dependable, it presents both inside and out a patina with cared-for maintenance. It is sure to turn heads and would be ideal for a spirited tour or a jaunty weekend outing.

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