1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Limousine de
VilleParis Motor Show car with very elegant coachwork by
Thrupp & Maberly; silver plated fittings; driven over 50 miles to the
regarded as ‘the best car in the world’ the 40/50 Silver Ghost, was going to be
a very hard act to follow.
in 1906 and remaining in production largely unchanged until 1925, what really
set it apart was the perfection of its engineering, only possible due to its
post-WW1 'chassis only' price of £1,850, a colossal sum at a time when a
labourer’s weekly wage was about £2 and a decent family home cost about
relatively conventional design, it used side-by-side valves, cantilever rear
springs and a separate gearbox. By 1924 even Rolls-Royce had to admit that its
more sophisticated competition was starting to affect sales, not that they could
rival the Ghost's silence and quality. Hispano Suiza in particular, who had a
similar aeronautical background gained from the war effort, were offering more
glamorous and better performing products.
the ‘New Phantom’ was unveiled. Using the same chassis as the Ghost, the new
40/50 featured an all-new engine with pushrod operated overhead valves located
in two individual blocks of three cylinders with a single detachable head.
Looking like an enlarged 20hp unit, great care was taken to silence the valve
actuation, a complex task which had held off such developments previously. The
stroke was increased to 139.7mm delivering more torque, while the bore was
decreased slightly to 107.9mm giving a capacity of 7,668cc.
By 1929, Rolls-Royce were in a position to update the Phantom once
more, introducing the Phantom II which although looking much as before, was
greatly improved in virtually all areas.
The most fundamental advance was to the chassis, which did away
with the old cantilever springs and used semi-elliptic instead, allowing a lower
stance, reduced rear wheel steer and better handling and comfort all
The gearbox was now four-speed and
bolted directly to the engine, the car using an open propshaft, reducing weight,
complexity and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). A Bijur central lubrication
system was also fitted to all cars.
The engine also came in for
attention, remaining much as before but with the addition of a crossflow head
Given its size and 150”
wheelbase, it was certainly a most impressive car. This 1929 example on offer
today was sold to Mrs Hoth of Queen Street, Edinburgh, but not before it was
sent to Rootes distributors in London for display at the Paris Salon of that
A note in the build record states that
‘Payment to be made 3-months after termination of Paris Show, or when car sold,
whichever the sooner’. It was therefore built for the show and bodied
accordingly – perhaps Mrs Hoth spotted it on her ‘Grand Tour’ and couldn’t
In any event, the chassis was
delivered to Thrupp and Maberley on 20th
August direct from the works
with a chassis only price of £1,673. The springs were set for coachwork of
approximately 12 ½ cwt with seating for six but usually three and the normal
amount of luggage (but with one extra spare wheel).
The coachwork selected was their supremely elegant ‘Limousine de
Ville’, which had a soft top for the Chauffeur and luxurious Bedford Cord for
the rear passengers. The bodywork was low-set, with a relatively low roofline
making for a very imposing car indeed and must have looked fabulous on the Paris
The final bill from Thrupp and
Maberley included a whopping £32 for silver plated fittings, which included the
radiator shutters and Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, although whether these have
subsequently been re-plated, we do not know. The screen surround and folding
hood top in front of the driver certainly remain silver plated today – and
although £32 may not sound like a lot of money – it was a third of the price of
an Austin 7 at the time!
The car was purchased
by the current owners nearly 30 years ago from The Real Car Company in North
Wales who had imported the car back into the UK in 1991 – from where we are not
sure. Shortly after acquisition it was treated to a bare-metal respray in yellow
from dark maroon by Cliff Long and was soon put to good use as a part of a
sizeable fleet of wedding vehicles. It was fastidiously maintained in the
vendor’s own workshops and MOTd every year.
Proving a paragon of reliability, it received regular care and
maintenance, bills on file showing new clutch linings in 1993 from Brunt’s of
Silverdale, who also supplied a reconditioned crankshaft damper in ’95. Brunt’s
also supplied a new water pump shaft in 1996 and in 1997 they fitted new little
end bushes and stripped and descaled the blocks along with new copper internal
tubes and various other repairs.
that, the last 30 years have passed very smoothly and the car is now only
offered for sale due to the changing nature of the wedding business. It has been
driven some 40 miles to the sale and runs very
quietly but now needs some more regular exercise having seen little use of
the last few years.
One of the most attractive
full-scale Rolls-Royce’ we have seen, this imposing car would make a superb
centrepiece to any collection.For more information - contact