Enclosed drive coachwork by R Harrison & Son.
Registration GF 8793. Chassis number 167XJ. Engine number FC75.
The Phantom II Continental was the last Rolls Royce to be designed under the personal supervision of Henry Royce before his death in 1933. As its name suggests, this new Rolls was intended for fast continental touring, despite there being very few roads in Britain at this time where its outstanding performance could be safely exploited to the full.
The Phantom II had been introduced in 1929 as a successor to the New Phantom (retrospectively Phantom I) with deliveries commencing in September of that year. Unlike its predecessor, which inherited its underpinnings from the preceding 40/50 hp model, the Silver Ghost, the Phantom II employed and entirely new chassis laid out along the lines of that of the smaller 20hp Rolls Royce.
Build in two wheelbase lengths – 144″ and 150″ – this new low-slung frame, with its radiator set well back, enabled coach builders to body the car in the modern idiom, creating sleeker designs than the upright ones of the past. The engine too had come in for extensive revision. The PI’s cylinder dimensions and basic layout – two blocks of three cylinders with an aluminium cylinder head common to both blocks – were retained, but the combustion chambers had been redesigned and the head was now of the cross-flow type, with inlet and exhaust manifolds on opposite sides. The magneto/coil dual ignition system remained the same as on the PI. The result of these engine changes greatly enhanced performance, particularly with the Continental model, and the ability to accommodate weightier coachwork.
Designed around the short 144″ Phantom II chassis and introduced in 1930, the Continental version was conceived as ‘an enthusiastic owner drivers’ car’, featuring revised rear suspension, a higher axle ratio and lowered steering column. Highly favoured by prominent coach builders, the Phantom II chassis provided the platform for some of the truly outstanding designed of its day, getting off to a flying start when a pre-production model (’26EX’), designed by Ivan Evernden and made by Barker & Co. (Henry Royce’s favourite coach builder), won the Grand Prix D’Honneur at the Biarritx Concours D’Elegance in September 1930.
Chassis number ’167XJ’ was ordered on 23rd October 1929 by Car Cart Ltd of Park Lane, London, for their valued customer, U J Phillipson of Richmond, Yorkshire, whose London address was The Malborough Club in Pall Mall. The short chassis was specified and the enclosed drive limousine coachwork, with accommodation for 6 passengers, was entrusted to Harrison & Son of Stanhope Street, London. 167XJ features Harrison’s ‘British Flexible’ coachwork produced by its subsidiary, British Flexible Coachworks Ltd, which had been set up in 1927 to build bodies using its patented method of lightweight febric construction employing felt joints in the wooden frame and screws encased in rubber bushes. Two spare wheel carriers were specified and a special 28-Gallon fuel tank provided for the longer tour. The car was delivered in April 1930. It seems that ’167XJ’ remained in the UK until the 1960′s, subsequently finding its way to Alabama from whence it returned in 1996.
Acquired by connoisseur collector, the late Terry Cohn, the Phantom was purchased was purchased by the current owner at Bonham & Brooks’ auction at the R-REC’s Annual Rally at Towcester Racecourse in June 2001 (Lot 721) where a selection of Terry’s Rolls Royce were offered for sale. Since acquisition, the engine has undergone a complete rebuild, the electrics have been rewired, the dynamo overhauled, the radiator re-cored and the rear springs rebuilt. Additionally, the car has been fitted with a Tim Payne overdrive, full-flow oil filter, stainless steel exhaust system, new P100 headlights and side mirrors.