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Rolls-Royce Cars of the 1920s to 1940s

1920's Rolls-Royce 20hp Drop Head Coupe by James Young

The aptly named Rolls-Royce 20 HP, also known as the 'baby' Rolls-Royce, was launched in 1922. Aimed toward owner-drivers it became popular with the burgeoning professional middle classes of doctors, solicitors and businessmen. Its engine was a straight six-cylinder with a capacity of 3,127 cc and had a maximum speed of 62 mph.

Rolls-Royce Phantom I Sedanca de Ville by Hooper

In 1925 the Silver Ghost was replaced by the "New Phantom", which was later known as Phantom I. The last batch of Silver Ghosts was built in 1927 as armoured car chassis for the Russian Trade Delegation "ARCOS". The Phantom was built both in the UK and in a new factory in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1926 Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost (Graceful Pre-War Motoring)

One of the best of the very few that remain, the chassis for this car was originally completed in August 1926 and fitted originally with a Pickwick saloon before being changed by the Rolls-Royce factory to the Playboy Roadster it is today in 1932.

Rolls-Royce 16EX - 1928

Rolls-Royce 16EX - 1928

Phantom II, 1930

1932 Phantom II by Hooper owned by H.H. the Mir of Khairpur

Phantom II, The Motor Show, Olympia 1933

Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1938 - 1939

All the Silver Wraiths had coach-built bodies. They continued in production until 1959 using the 4887cc engine to cope with increasingly heavy bodies such as H.J. Mulliner sedanca de ville and Hooper touring limousine.

Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sports Saloon by Barker

The Phantom II had a much-improved chassis, which made it the ideal choice for those who thought nothing of finishing work on a Friday and heading down to the South of France for the weekend. Better-known body styles were the Barker close-coupled touring saloon; Park Ward Continental coupe and Barker torpedo tourer. The Park Ward Continental would do 92.3 mph and 0-60 in 19.4 seconds.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II saloon by H.J. Mulliner

A direct descendent of the Silver Ghost, the Rolls-Royce Phantom I was launched in May 1925. Sir Henry Royce felt that the Silver Ghost chassis was adequately robust and could not be persuaded that the company needed an entirely new chassis. Compromising, engineers at Rolls-Royce, through a process of careful technical advancement, managed to notably improve the old chassis. This reflected Henry Royce's personal belief in evolution rather than revolution when it came to improvements.

The Phantom I, as impressive as it was, due to ever increasing competition from the United States, was soon in need of a successor. Accordingly, Rolls-Royce made the announcement in September 1929 that the Phantom I chassis would be discontinued. The following month at the London Olympia Motor Show Rolls-Royce debuted its latest chassis, the Phantom II.

It was no surprise that the chassis of the Phantom II was very similar to that of the Silver Ghost and the Phantom I. The Phantom II's four-speed transmission, although similar to its predecessor, through a series of innovations was both quieter and smoother in operation. Other improvements found on the Phantom II included the use of semi-elliptic springs for the front axle, and an underslung design for the rear. The new spring design, when combined with the PII's new lower frame reduced the height of the car in the order of nine inches.

Phantom II production spanned a relatively brief amount of time, only six years between 1929 and 1935. In all, approximately 1,681 examples of the PII were produced. With the customer's choice of coachwork from one of Europe's leading firms, each individual Rolls-Royce was highly distinctive and often tailor-made to the buyer.

The 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sports Saloon pictured here features custom coachwork by one of the most respected coachbuilding firms in England, H.J. Mulliner. Both H.J. Mulliner's proximity to Rolls-Royce and their outstanding designs of uncompromised quality resulted in a considerable number of Rolls-Royces built between the two World Wars wearing H.J. Mulliner coachwork.

The Sports Saloon, in addition to having unique running boards and fenders, displays a very nice restoration and a very attractive light gray leather interior. The brightwork appears very presentable, as does the dashboard and gauges, all of which indicate a high level of craftsmanship and a pronounced attention to detail during the restoration process.

Finished in a very handsome shade of blue with white striping, matched wheel discs and sidemount spares, the stately Rolls-Royce offered here displays the classic Rolls-Royce elegance one would expect. Overall a very lovely example, the Phantom II will undoubtedly prove to be a delight for its next owner and lucky passengers.

Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sedanca de Ville by H.J. Mulliner

The Phantom III was Rolls-Royce's first V12 engined car - a 60 degree unit of 7,340cc. Better known body styles are: Park Ward limousine and sedanca de ville; Hooper sedanca de ville. Performance for Park Ward limousine: 91.84mph and 0-60 in 16.8 seconds.

Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Standard Saloon

The Silver Dawn was the first Rolls-Royce to be sold with a standard steel body and all were exported. A few were fitted with coach-built bodies and these are very collectable. The six-cylinder in-line engine of 4,257cc was enlarged to 4.5-litre in 1951 and then to 4.9-litres in 1954.


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