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1929 - 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

The Phantom II replaced the New Phantom in Rolls-Royce’s offerings in 1929. Rolls-Royce of America was commissioned by Mrs. Luden to build a Phantom II left-hand drive chassis in England and ship it to the USA in 1932. Upon its arrival in the U.S., Mrs. Luden commissioned Brewster Body Company to meld her Castagna Sedan Laudaulet body on this chassis. Hence, the Brewster style running boards and etc.

Design and Features

The rear interior of the car is extremely elegant with hand carved polished woodwork. There is a chauffer notification system that has buttons in the rear and a lighted wheel in the chauffer compartment that states; turn left, turn right, speed up, slow down, turn around and go home. This system was used primarily in Europe where Americans could have English on the rear buttons and the lighted signage on the dash would be in French, German or Italian.

When purchased by R. L. Atwell, this automobile was in thousands of pieces and after five years of total restoration, it was as you see it. A full set of Stephen Grebel lights compliment the restoration.

The Phantom II was the first completely new car since the 20HP seven years earlier. The Phantom II was still rated 40/50 HP but was lower and the springing half-elliptic all around.

The car, although to Royce’s design and specification, was mainly the work of his West Wittering design team and included many innovations and a redesigned engine that, with the gearbox, was now one unit.

The introduction of the Phantom II, only four years after the Phantom I, was prompted again by increased competition from other manufacturers, particularly Buick and Sunbeam. Ironically, the head of Buick had bought a Phantom I and, which so impressed everyone at Buick that they stripped it and copied much of what they learned.

Royce himself knew they were lagging behind: ’I have long considered our present chassis out of date. The back axle, gearbox, frame, springs have not been seriously altered since 1912. Now we all know it is easier to go the old way, but I so fear disaster by being out of date, and I have a lot of stock left, and by the sales falling off by secrets leaking out, that I must refuse all responsibility for a fatal position unless these improvements in our chassis are arranged to be shown next autumn, and to do this they must be in production soon after midsummer 1929.’

Royce was influenced by the lines of the current Riley Nine, and the manner in which the rear passenger’s feet were tucked comfortably under the front seats in ’boxes’, enabling ’close-coupled’ coachwork to be fitted. Royce decided to build a special version of the car for his personal use.

Superb coachwork with modern styling was now available and Royce decided on a lightweight sporting body, which Ivan Evenden designed and Bakers built. This car became the forerunner of the legendary Phantom II Continentals.

The chassis is the standard Phantom II short model with a few modifications. These consist of a low steering column and specially selected springs. There never was a defined speciation of a Continental Phantom II. The series to series engineering improvements were applied to all chassis.

The Rolls-Royce "Phantom II" is designed to run smoothly, to accelerate quickly, and to work under a wide range of speed on top gear, rather than at the highest rates. It is very comfortable, and in the main simple and pleasing to drive.

The car submitted for test had done nearly 30,000 miles, mostly on experimental service and therefore of unusual severity. The body was a four-window four-door Barker saloon; one or two shortcomings, such as rather broad pillars in front, and a three piece screen which was apt to cut one’s view, have, I understand, been overcome in the latest model. The body was remarkably free from rattle and was comfortable. There is a luggage trunk behind and two spare wheels. The doors are taken almost down to the running boards.

The six cylinders are cast in two blocks but have a one-piece detachable aluminium head. The valves are over the head and have bronze seatings. Pushrods work the rockers, and the cup of the connection is on the pushrod and thus retains lubrication. Adjustment is by ordinary threaded bolt and lock nut. The valves have single springs, but the engine runs very quietly. The pistons are of aluminium alloy. A set of sparking plugs is on either side of the engine and can be worked with the independent ignitions or together. The lubrication is forced throughout the engine, even to the gudgeon pins, and over the valve mechanism is a cover held by four permanently attached handscrews.

The exhaust manifold is on the near side and has three branches; the pipe connection is central. Behind the timing case is the generator, and at the back, driven by a long shaft with disc couplings, is the magneto. The make-and-break can he seen in a mirror if it is not desired to take out the floorboards. A vacuum pump driven off the camshaft takes the air from the autovac tank on the dash - this is better than being dependent on the induction pipe. The main petrol reservoir is at the back of the chassis, and has the filler well to the near side. There is a petrol gauge on the instrument board and a true reading can always be obtained by a small pump. The sequence starter is built-in under the back bearer arm and therefore can only be got at from below with part of the undershield removed. The deep honeycomb radiator has shutters in front worked by hand from the dash.



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