Bonhams | 2018-06-03 | Greenwich Concours d'Elegance Auction | Venue : 100 Arch Street, Greenwich, CT 06830
Lot No. : 118
Year : 1931
Engine Size : -
Chassis No. : #S460MR
Engine No. : #22609
Estimate : US$ 140,000 - 175,000
US$ 112,000


7,668cc OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Single Updraft Carburetor
100bhp at 3,000rpm
3-Speed Manual Transmission
Front Semi-elliptical Leaf Springs and Rear Cantilever Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Servo-assisted Drum Brakes
*Unique inlaid wood trim and custom cast inside door handles
*Document history from new.
*One of 18 original Regent Phantom I convertible coupes
*Numbers matching with documented history
Introduced by Rolls-Royce in 1925 to replace the Silver Ghost, the New Phantom (retrospectively known as the Phantom I) boasted an entirely new overhead-valve six-cylinder engine displacing 7,668cc and, like the contemporary 20hp model, adopted a disc-type clutch and adjustable radiator shutters. Its chassis though, remained essentially the same as that of the later, four-wheel-braked Silver Ghost and would continue fundamentally unchanged until the arrival of the Phantom II in 1929 brought with it an entirely new frame.
Like its Silver Ghost predecessor, the New Phantom was also produced by Rolls-Royce of America Incorporated, a subsidiary set up in December 1919 when the parent company purchased the American Wire Wheel Company's plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. Springfield commenced manufacture of the New Phantom in 1926 and by the second half of 1929 production had risen to 12 cars per week. This would prove to be the high point of Rolls-Royce of America's fortunes, the October '29 Wall Street Crash and the introduction of the Phantom II - re-tooling for which the US company could not afford - signaling the beginning of its decline. The Phantom I was in production for only five years, and the Derby-built models ran parallel with the Springfield cars but ended in 1929, whereas the American version continued until 1931, with a total of 1241 Springfield Phantom Is being made.
This particular Rolls-Royce Phantom I was delivered new to a Mr. John Brichetto, a bank president and land owner in Sacramento, California. Mr. Brichetto was clearly a man of great taste and means, and had the car delivered to him at The Hotel St. Francis, in downtown San Francisco. The car remained in his ownership until his death in 1934. The car dropped out of sight but remained in Northern California. After the war the car was in the ownership of Mr. Rafe Selfridge, a member of Selfridge family, founders of Selfridge department stores in London, England.
In the late 1950s Mr. Selfridge sold the car to his friend John Maxfield. Mr. Maxfield embarked on a fairly epic journey driving the Rolls from Barstow, CA to Gainesville, Florida. It is believed that it was in Maxfield's ownership that the car was repainted and fitted with its current upholstery. Mr. Maxfield continued to enjoy the car until 1973 when it passed to a fellow CCCA member Carter Farrar of Lakewood, Colorado. Mr. Farrar retained the car until his passing in 1998, when it was then sold on to Mr. Elliot Grossman in New York, who retained the car until 2012. It was at this time that it passed to the consigner who has retained the car since.
Today the car is in good order, used regularly on cruises up and down the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. The owner has been insistent on keeping it on the button. Its most recent service has been a complete rebuild of the ignition system. The car was recently inspected by a Bonhams specialist and the chassis is in remarkably original condition, even retaining its original pattern spring gators. It presents very well and with a great deal of patina and charm.
As it was when new, the great characteristic of this style of coachwork is its versatility. Capable of offering full open motoring to breeze along in the sunshine, with none of the elegance of the car impeded, or proper isolation from the elements on colder or wetter days, this Phantom I can do it all. Anyone who has ever driven a well set up Phantom I will tell you that they are great tour cars. The 7.7 liter engine provides an overabundance of torque which makes them delightfully easy to drive. This engine is of course paired with a wonderful chassis with servo assisted brakes, and the exquisite deftness and precision of all the controls make the Phantom I one of the best driving experiences from the prewar era.

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