1925 Rolls-Royce
Phantom I Sport Phaeton by H J Mulliner

Location: Cincinnati
VIN #:17 HC
Engine:in line 6
Transmission:3 Speed Manual

Rolls-Royce Limited was an English car and, later, aero-engine manufacturing company founded by Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls in 1906 and was the result of a partnership formed in 1904. In 1884, Royce started an electrical and mechanical business. He made his first car, a "Royce", in his Manchester factory in 1904. He was introduced to Rollsin Manchester in that year, and the pair agreed to a deal where Royce would manufacture cars, to be sold exclusively by Rolls. A clause was added to the contract stipulating the cars would be called "Rolls-Royce". The company was formed in 1906, and moved to Derby in 1908.

The Silver Ghost (1906-1925) was responsible for the company's early reputation. It had a 6-cylinder engine; 6173 cars were built. In 1921, the company opened a second factory in Springfield, MA to help meet US demand, where a further 1701 "Springfield Ghosts" were built. This factory operated for 10 years, closing in 1931. Its chassis was used as a basis for the first British armoured car used in both World Wars.In 1931, the company acquired rival car makerBentley, whose finances were unable to weather the Great Depression. From then until 2002, Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars were often identical apart from the radiator grille and minor details.Rolls-Royce and Bentley car production moved to Crewe in 1946, and also to Mulliner Park Ward, London, in 1959, as the company started to build bodies for its cars for the first time: previously it had built only the chassis, leaving the bodies to specialist coachbuilders. 

The Phantom was the replacement for the original Ghost. Like the famed Ghost, the Phantom was constructed both in the UK and US, with the US model trailing the UK by one year on introduction and two in replacement.One major improvement over the Silver Ghost was the new pushrod OHV Straight 6 engine. Constructed, as was state of the art at the time, as three groups of two cylinders with detachable heads, the large engine produced excellent power to pull the large heavy car. The engine used a 4¼ in bore and long 5½ in stroke for a total of 7.7 L of displacement. Aluminum was substituted for cast iron in the cylinder heads in 1928. Semi-elliptical springs suspended the front, while cantilever springs were used in the rear. 4-wheel servo-assisted brakes were also specified, though some initial US models lacked front brakes.

Differences between the US and UK models included available wheelbases— both were specified with the same 143½ in base length, but the UK long-wheelbase model was longer at 150½ than the 146½ in American version. Other differences included the transmission, with UK models using a 4-speed and US models using a 3-speed, both with a single dry-plate clutch.

UK models were built at Rolls' Derby factory, while US Phantoms were built in Springfield, Mass. 2269 PI's were produced in Derby and 1243 in Springfield. 

This exceptionally rare open early PI is one of the most honest and exciting cars I have had the pleasure to represent. The car was reportedly built for the Duke of Westminster, and came stateside at some point shortly after WWII. The car was residing in a Museum in North Carolina when purchased by the father of the current caretaker in the late 50's. Sporting an older restoration, the top was changed to a more American Style Phaeton top shortly after acquisition. Other cosmetic and mechancial work has been performed-with more of an ey towards preservation than restoration-over the years. This car has always been kept as a treasured family heirloom- always kept in running order, used on sunny summer days only, and shown locally occassionally.

Due to the advancing age of the Owner, the difficult decision to pass the car along has been made by the family. The car was recommissioned for sale with all fluids changed, a new battery installed, and minor mechanical tuning performed. This car is one of the strongest running Pre War cars I have had the pleaaure of operating. The car starts easily, runs silently and smoothly, stops perfectly with the servo assisted brakes in excellent order, and tracks straight and true. This car is a highway cruiser capable of modern highway speeds and is very comfortable at speed. The car is a veteran of many long distance tours.

The jewelry like instuments, brightwork, and engine bay, perfectly fit with the honest patina of the interior and paint finishes. I could only find one flaw really-a minor ding on one of the doors (pictured).

This amazing machine has a commanding presence and spirit that I tried hard to capture in the photography, but its really one of those cars that one needs to see in person, sit in, and drive, to fully appreciate. This is a special car- a family heirloom -offered for the first time in six decades. I have a feeling it will be a similarly long time before it becomes available again, if ever.

Click on any image to enlarge it.