Last of the truly grand six-cylinder Rolls-Royces and indeed the final one to be overseen from start to finish by F. Henry Royce himself, the Phantom II was introduced at the October 1929 Olympia Motor Show. Something of a radical departure from its Silver Ghost and New Phantom predecessors, the newcomer was built around a discernibly more modern ladder frame chassis featuring all-round semi-elliptic leaf-sprung suspension (underslung at the rear), hydraulic shock absorbers and servo-assisted (via a gearbox take-off) four-wheel drum brakes. Topped by a new aluminium alloy crossflow cylinder head, its pair-cast 7668cc six-cylinder overhead valve engine was not only mounted in unit with a four-speed manual gearbox but also bolted directly to the chassis side rails. With its radiator positioned aft of a specially reworked beam front axle (so as to ensure stability under high-speed braking manoeuvres), the Phantom II was notably low-slung. An enticing platform for the coachbuilder's art, its elongated bonnet line and short overhangs proved conducive to elegant design. Reputedly capable of over 90mph, the model was in production for six years during which some 1,394 are thought to have been made.
According to its accompanying copy build sheets, chassis '70JS' was bodied by Barker as a Pullman Limousine de Ville before being supplied new to first owner, James Ferguson Esq. of Garlands Farm, Billingshurst, Sussex on 2nd July 1932 (though, his winter address is listed as 59 St James Court, London SW1). Passing to Messrs Elwes Ltd of 4 Aldford Street, Park Lane, London W1 some six years later, the Phantom II then migrated to America. On display at the Sturbridge Auto Museum in Massachusetts between 1965 and 1990, it is understood to have formed part of a private UK based collection for the last sixteen years or so. Finished in black over garnet with black leather upholstery up front and grey cloth to the rear, chassis '70JS' is described by the vendor as being in "sound overall" condition. Further said to have "performed very well, showing good oil pressure and running cool" on a recent 100-mile outing, the Rolls-Royce sports twin side-mounted spare wheels and a rear luggage grid complete with trunk. While, interior refinements apparently include a wind-down glass division and two fold-out occasional seats.
Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions
1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Limousine De Ville