1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental
Make : Rolls-Royce
Model : Phantom II Continental
Coachbuilder : Park Ward
Body Type : Boat Tail Drophead Coupe
Colour : Black and Grey
Trim : Grey Leather
History : In 1929 the arrival of the Rolls-Royce Phantom II set new standards for others to follow. It was a vehicle specifically designed with the chauffeur driven passenger in mind. At the time the only home produced rival to compare with the Phantom II was the Bentley 8 Litre, which was a faster vehicle but was thought to be far less chauffeur friendly, with considerably heavier steering and a gearbox which was more difficult to operate. During the development of the Phantom II, the majority of the long distance testing was carried out on the long straight roads surrounding Chateauroux in France. This fact and Mr Henry Royce’s many journeys between the South of England and the South of France no doubt opened his eyes to the type of motoring not available upon England’s narrow and windy roads. With long distance high speed motoring in mind, the Phantom II Continental chassis was created, the project being personally overseen by Henry Royce with assistance from Ivan Evernden. The whole car, including originally its style of coachwork was conceived by Royce, to be a more sporting and compact four seater owner/driver motor car when compared to the long wheelbase standard Phantom II. Just 281 such chassis were produced and they differentiated themselves from their standard cousins with thicker springs and a 6 inch shorter chassis, measuring 144 inches. The steering column was optionally lowered to what was known as the “F” rake position, and the floor was also lowered to allow more rakish coachwork to be fitted. Mechanically speaking the Continental was fitted with a higher ratio back axle (12/41) which provided brisk acceleration and higher top speeds at lower revolutions. Royce decided that the use of 5 thicker leaf springs as opposed to the standard 9 or 10 would save weight and allow for a smoother ride if the road surface was less than perfect. To assist control of the ride additional shock absorbers were also added to the standard hydraulic units, which were controllable from the driver’s seat in the later examples. With lightweight coachwork being fitted the final result was a motor car capable of carrying four people in comfort, at high speeds, for many hours at a time over great distances. It is rightly considered by many, including ourselves, to be one of the finest pre-war Rolls-Royces ever built. Coachbuilders Park Ward were approached by Rolls-Royce in 1922 and asked to produce a series of bodies for the 20 horse power model which proved to be very popular and successful. However following the great depression in the late 1920s the roles were reversed and Park Ward contacted Rolls-Royce in search of financial support. This was granted in return for a thirty three percent share of the company, with Rolls-Royce acquiring the remaining shares in 1939. The alliance forged during the 1930s between the two companies proved to be mutually beneficial. Park Ward were entrusted with producing bodies for a number of Rolls-Royces experimental cars at this time and in turn their showrooms on Conduit Street in Mayfair West London always had an excellent selection of both Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. The majority of Park Ward coachwork fitted to the Phantom II Continental chassis were closed, compact, close coupled four door style bodies, however upon special request more stylish open bodies were produced with chassis number 55MW being one of Park Wards most striking creations. This particular motor car which we are delighted to be offering for sale at this time was completed in August of 1933 to the order of W.W. Worthington of Lichfield in Staffordshire. The flamboyant and striking boat tail drophead coupe coachwork is fitted with twin side mounted spare wheels and a hinged rear portion. The rear part of the body, or boat tail, is divided into two pieces which are released with the coach key. Once they are released the two sections open on hinges to allow the hood to retract and be housed discreetly inside the body. According to early records 55MW was owned by W.W. Worthington for over twenty years, until 1954 when it became the property of H.F. Gower of London. In May of 1958 55MW left English shores when purchased by W.B. Fairclouth of Ohio in the United States of America. In 1977 the car was restored in America whilst in the ownership of Raymond Jefferson of Ohio. It is understood that 55MW remained in the United States until around ten years ago when it returned to England and became part of a large collection of desirable motor cars. 55MW has been mechanically maintained and serviced in our workshops over the past few years and we have recently prepared the car for our showroom using old photos of the car in its original state. The recent preparation and improvements included but were not limited to new carpets, sympathetic restoration to the existing leather interior, coachwork preparation and restoration, restored wire wheels, new tyres and new polished wheel disks. 55MW is believed to a unique creation by Park Ward on the Phantom II Continental chassis and is widely admired wherever it is driven. When taking into consideration this motor cars rarity and exceptionally stylish coachwork we feel that this particular Rolls-Royce has a great deal of potential for future success on the lawns of the most prestigious Concours d’Elegance events.
Good condition throughout.
Technical Data : Four speed manual gearbox, 6 cylinder in-line engine, 7.7 litres displacement, 7,668cc capacity. Servo-assisted brakes.