The Rolls-Royce Phantom III was the final large pre-war Rolls-Royce. Introduced in 1936, it replaced the Phantom II and it was the only V12 Rolls-Royce until the 1998 introduction of the Silver Seraph. 727 V12 Phantom III chassis were constructed from 1936 to 1939, and many have survived. Although chassis production ceased in 1939 (with one final chassis being built in 1940), cars were still being bodied and delivered in 1940 and 1941. The very last car, though the rolling chassis was completed in 1941, was not delivered with a body to its owner until 1947. The Phantom III was the last car that Henry Royce worked on - he died, aged 70, a year into the Phantom III's development,
The III is powered by an aluminium-alloy V12 engine of 7.32L, having a bore of 3.25 inches and a stroke of 4.5 inches. It is a pushrod engine with overhead valves operated by a single camshaft in the valley between the cylinder banks. Early cars had hydraulic tappets or, rather, a unique system of eccentric bushings in each individual rocker that was actuated by a small hydraulic piston; the eccentric bushing ensuring zero valve-lash at the rocker/valve interface. This system was changed to solid adjustable tappets in 1938. The Phantom III is unusual for its twin ignition systems, with two distributors, two coils and 24 spark plugs. Petrol is provided by a twin SU electric pump. Wire wheels are fitted as standard, but many cars carry Ace wheel discs which were fitted to improve cosmetics and to reduce the time taken to clean the wire wheels after use. The car features on-board jacking and a one-shot chassis lubrication system, operated by a lever inside the driver's compartment. Independent front suspension by a coil spring-based system is complemented by a carryover semi-elliptical spring unit in the rear.
The car has a 4-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on gears 2, 3 and 4. An overdrive gearbox was added in 1938,the ratio change being contained in the gearbox rather than in a separate unit. The car has 4-wheel servo-assisted brakes applied by cable (using a servo made under licence from Hispano-Suiza). The radiator shell is of Staybrite steel. The sheer bulk of the car is reflected in its performance figures. An example tested in 1938 by The English Autocar magazine returned a top speed of 140 km/h (87½ mph) and a 0 - 60 mph (0 – 96 km/h) time of 16.8 seconds. The overall fuel consumption quoted from that road test was 28 litres per 100 kilometres (10 mpg‑imp; 8.4 mpg‑US)
This stunning French bodied example has an equally interesting history. The car had a leading role in the 1950 French Film Orpheus by director Jean Cocteau, in which it is a "portal". The car was brought Stateside for use in an American version of the Film and resided in the MGM Studios property inventory for many years. It was also used in the James Bond Movie Goldfinger in a few scenes as a car in motion, while another PIII saw more action in that film. It was purchased from MGM by Salt Walther- Indy car driver and heir to the Dayton Walther Corporation and remained in his collection for many years, from which it was acquired by the seller. The engine was rebuilt in the early 60's by Roger James-now of D&D Classics. The car has an extensive set of over 200 factory tools in various compartments, and its original Kneeling Lady Mascot as well as the one its wearing currently.
The car runs extremely well, and while needing cosmetic refreshing, mechanically it is quite stout.
The flowing lines of this lovely Kellner design with its rakish windscreen, chrome belt moulding, and fully skirted rear fenders, make this car a sure bet for inclusion in the most demanding Concours once refreshed.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire a car that will be a standout at any show, the centerpiece of any collection.