Rolls-Royce Phantom III 1936
Coachwork by in style of Vanvooren
Chassis no. 3AZ72
Engine no. D84W
To be sold without reserve.
•Spectacular body constructed to the exact dimensions of a Vanvooren DHC
•Attractive period-style colour scheme
•Present ownership since 2004
•Engine fully rebuilt
•Well documented history
'The most captious critic is obliged to admit that a Phantom III provides all that can be wished for in a large luxury motor-car. The comfort, silence and road-holding with really impressive acceleration and maximum speed made a combination of virtues which few cars of the time could equal.' - Anthony Bird, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, 1964.
Perhaps the most outstanding luxury car of the 1930s - certainly on this side of the Channel - was the Rolls-Royce Phantom III. Introduced in 1936, the 7,340cc V12-engined Phantom III succeeded the Phantom II, the six-cylinder engine of which was considered to be at the end of its development life. The choice of a V12 configuration was a logical one for Rolls-Royce, the company already having had considerable experience of manufacturing V12 aero engines such as that used in the record-breaking Supermarine S6B seaplane. No doubt another consideration was the need to match the multi-cylinder opposition, notably the V16 Cadillac and V12 Hispano-Suiza.
A state-of-the-art design employing advanced materials and techniques such as 'skeleton' cylinder blocks with wet liners and aluminium alloy cylinder heads, the PIII V12 produced 165bhp in its debut form. The maximum output was subsequently raised to 180 brake horsepower, which was sufficient to propel later examples to 100mph, earlier models being capable of around 90. Its engine configuration aside, the Phantom III represents an important milestone in the history of Rolls-Royce cars, being the first with independent front suspension. Including 10 experimental cars, only 727 Phantom IIIs were made between 1936 and 1940, of which around 300 exist worldwide today.
Lawrence Dalton's definitive work, Rolls-Royce, The Derby Phantoms, records that chassis number '3AZ72' was originally bodied as a saloon-with-division by Windovers. The car's first owner was one Alfred Sainsbury of Cadogan Square, London SW1, who was followed by one C S Pollock of Crowborough, Sussex in 1947. The Phantom is known to have remained in the UK until at least 1960. Many years later the car formed part of the famous Max Lips Collection in Holland and was on museum display there. The present owner purchased the car at Bonhams' Rockingham Castle Sale in June 2004 (Lot 509) at which time it still had the Windovers saloon body.
A new Vanvooren-style drophead coupé body was fitted, having been constructed to the exact measurements of an original Phantom III Vanvooren DHC. At the same time a new bespoke soft-top was installed and the interior reupholstered in leather, the seats being of an ergonomic, multi-adjustable design. Executed in two-tone light/mid blue, the attractive colour scheme was inspired by those popular in the 1930s and subsequently applied by Vanvooren. The engine was completely dismantled and rebuilt, and the chassis restored to 'as new' condition.
A beautiful 'Art Deco' masterpiece, this unique Phantom III comes complete with an extensive history file containing instruction manuals, handbooks, technical literature, restoration photographs, Netherlands registration papers, and records of former owners.
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