The 40/50hp Silver Ghost was superseded in 1926 by the Phantom I, suitably modified for lefthand drive and manufacture in Springfield, the United States. Introduction of the Phantom I coincided with integration of Brewster's coachworks with Rolls-Royce's American operations and the addition of several new offerings including the very attractive open Ascot, Derby and Speedster.
By 1929 further changes had been made to the Springfield Phantom, including an aluminum cylinder head, chrome-plated exterior brightwork, flat bar bumpers, servo-assisted four-wheel brakes, thermostatically-controlled radiator shutters and conical headlamp housings. Highly evolved to adapt to the road conditions and driving preferences of North American customers, with ample parts and service support from both Rolls-Royce representatives and a network of U.S.-based suppliers, it is no surprise that in this booming year Rolls-Royce sold some 350 automobiles.
The bespoke, custom-ordered coachwork that graced Derby-built chassis did not fit American buying patterns and from the beginning Rolls-Royce offered standard coachwork, usually painted and trimmed to order. Bodies were ordered from a number of independent coachbuilders in quantities of up to twenty at a time. They were badged "Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work" and were built by Brewster, but also by Smith Springfield, New Haven, Merrimack, Willoughby and Biddle and Smart. By 1923 business was good enough for Rolls-Royce to establish its own coachworks in Springfield.
To Rolls-Royce connoisseurs, Brewster's beloved Ascot Tourer (or Phaeton) will always stand as a prime example of the greatness that was the American Rolls-Royce. In the late 1920s, the Ascot was among the most expensive and prestigious automobiles constructed in America and their sporting flair, superb proportions and refined details made it one of the most attractive and memorable of all open Rolls-Royce to come from the Springfield works.
The Ascot Tourer is distinguished by its sporting raked windscreen, elegant flowing fenders, varnished wooden moldings and, most famously, a continuous concave accent running along the beltline achieved by polishing the bare aluminum of the coachwork. Each of the 28 Ascot Tourers built can be considered unique because of the many personalized features on each and every car.
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