CHASSIS NO: 5LAT64
• Rare, low production Phantom V
• Notable ownership roster, known from new
• 1 of only 832 Phantom Vs produced from 1959 to 1968
This lot is available for online bidding at Proxibid.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com
Body Design 980. 380 cid OHV V-8 engine, 220 HP, automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and an anti-roll torsion bar, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 144”
Following the construction of a mere 18 Phantom IV chassis, strictly for ruling heads of state, Rolls-Royce turned back to offering a Phantom for the very wealthy in 1959. The Phantom V, as it was logically dubbed, was based upon an all-new chassis design, and included a new V-8 engine with twin carburetors, as well as a General Motors-produced four-speed HydraMatic automatic transmission, servo-assisted brakes, and power steering. It remained a tremendously expensive automobile that was produced solely to individual special-order; as with earlier Rolls-Royces, the tradition of bespoke custom coachwork continued, with the world’s few remaining coachbuilders turning out ash forms that were skinned in aluminum and finished in the owner’s choice of paint colors and trim.
Among the scarcest bodies for the Phantom V were those built by legendary UK coachbuilder Park Ward. Park Ward was founded in 1919 by William MacDonald Park and Charles Ward; they had worked together at F.W. Berwick Limited, the makers of Sizaire-Berwick cars. They built their first Rolls-Royce body in 1920. From the mid-1920s, the company started to concentrate on Bentley and Rolls-Royce models. By 1930, 90% of all of Park Ward's efforts were for Rolls-Royce. After the Rolls-Royce takeover of Bentley in 1931, Rolls-Royce took a stake in Park Ward. Beginning in 1933, when they obtained patents, Park Ward developed a technically interesting all-steel saloon in conjunction with Rolls-Royce, and from 1936 offered it on the 4¼-litre Bentley chassis. These bodies were supported by Silentbloc rubber bushes to reduce road shock, engine noise and vibration. The cars were produced in small batches, giving quite noticeable economies in manufacture, with a consequent reduction in selling price. By 1937, as many as ten cars a week were passing through Park Ward's works and, in 1939, Rolls-Royce completed its acquisition of the business. After World War II, Park Ward continued to produce special coachwork, and the all-steel technology was used by Rolls-Royce to produce a standard body range on its cars, starting with the Bentley Mark VI. Twenty years later, Park Ward was merged with H. J. Mulliner & Co. in 1961 to form Mulliner Park Ward. Thus, only the earliest Phantom Vs were bodied by Park Ward independently, some to their very attractive body design 980, a “notchback” limousine.
The car offered here, 5LAT54, is 1 of only 607 cars fitted with coachwork by Park Ward over the entire model’s history. This lavish and gorgeous 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limousine was built by Rolls-Royce to U.S. left-hand drive specifications. Interestingly, this Phantom V was delivered new to Houston where its first owner was Mr. John Mecom Jr., who was a prominent oilman and later the first owner of the New Orleans Saints football team. Mecom subsequently sold the Phantom V to cowboy actor Dale Robertson. Later it was acquired by the legendry comedian Red Skelton. The current owner purchased the car from Red Skelton’s estate. Finished elegantly in two-tone silver and charcoal gray, this majestic Phantom V rides on an enormous 144” wheelbase highlighted by a set of wide whitewall tires. The luxurious interior features a deep red leather chauffeur’s compartment complemented by a lovely wooden dash panel. An under-dash air-conditioning system is provided to ensure comfort on warm summer trips. The spacious passenger area, regally trimmed in crimson cloth, features collapsible jump-seats, footrests, electric windows, an electric division window and beautifully finished wood-trimmed storage compartments. Well-maintained and very usable with a very light and charming patina, this rare Rolls-Royce exemplifies elegance, sophistication and style of a bygone era that can be enjoyed to the fullest today.