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Phantom III D1 Series All Weather Tourer by H.J.Mulinner
The Rolls-Royce Phantom III was the final large pre-war Rolls-Royce. Introduced in 1936, it replaced the Phantom II and it was the only V12 Rolls-Royce until the 1998 introduction of the Silver Seraph. 727 V12 Phantom III chassis were constructed from 1936 to 1939, and many have survived. Although chassis production ceased in 1939 (with one final chassis being built in 1940), cars were still being bodied and delivered in 1940 and 1941. The very last car, though completed in 1941, was not delivered to its owner until 1947.
The Phantom III is powered by an aluminium-alloy V12 engine of 447in³ (7.32L), having a bore of 3.25 inches (82.5 mm) and a stroke of 4.5 inches (114.3 mm). It is a pushrod engine with overhead valves operated by a single camshaft in the valley between the cylinder banks. Early cars had hydraulic tappets or, rather, a unique system of eccentric bushings in each individual rocker that was actuated by a small hydraulic piston; the eccentric bushing ensuring zero valve-lash at the rocker/valve interface. This system was changed to solid adjustable tappets in 1938. The Phantom III is unusual for its twin ignition systems, with two distributors, two coils and 24 spark plugs. Petrol is provided by a twin SU electric pump. Wire wheels are fitted as standard, but many cars carry Ace wheel discs which were fitted to improve cosmetics and to reduce the time taken to clean the wire wheels after use.
The car features on-board jacking and a one-shot chassis lubrication system, operated by a lever inside the driver's compartment. Independent front suspension by a coil spring-based system is complemented by a carryover semi-elliptical spring unit in the rear. The car has a 4-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on gears 2, 3 and 4. An overdrive gearbox was added in 1938, the ratio change being contained in the gearbox rather than in a separate unit. The car has 4-wheel servo-assisted brakes applied by cable (using a servo made under licence from Hispano-Suiza). The radiator shell is of Staybrite steel.
Only the chassis and mechanical parts were made by Rolls-Royce. The body was made and fitted by a coachbuilder selected by the owner or a dealer who might have cars built for showroom stock. Some of the most famous coachbuilders who produced bodies for Rolls-Royce cars are Park Ward, Mulliner, Hooper and Thrupp & Maberly. Body types as well as limousines included saloons, coupés, and convertibles. A handful of used cars have been converted to hearses and shooting brakes.
John S. Inskip worked as a salesman for Locomobile’s New York distributor before moving to Rolls-Royce’s showroom on Eighth Avenue and 58th Street and by 1930, when coachbuilder Brewster’s Fifth Avenue showroom was closed, Inskip was running the Eighth Avenue operation. Robert W. Schuette’s small distributorship was also taken over by Rolls-Royce of America at this time. By 1934 Inskip was the President of the Springfield Manufacturing Corporation which was effectively a reorganized Brewster and Co. Inskip later acquired the New York distributorship for Rolls-Royce and leased Brewster’s former Long Island City factory where he would continue to build bodies. As well as having a showroom on 57th and Fifth in Manhattan, his business expanded to include dealerships in West Palm Beach, Florida and Providence, Road Island.
The Phantom IV was the most exclusive Rolls-Royce model ever built and one of the most elite cars in the history of motoring. Only eighteen were made between 1950 and 1956, seventeen of which were sold - exclusively to royalty and heads of state. Sixteen are preserved in museums, public and private collections.
By creating the mythical Phantom IV the manufacturer broke with their earlier decision to cease production of the series of "big" Rolls-Royce Phantoms after the end of the Second World War.
The chassis differed from those of the shorter, production post-War models, the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and the Bentley Mark VI, apart from a larger size and an engine with increased capacity and power, in having an additional cross-member at the centre of the cruciform bracing and 10-stud road wheel mounting.
The engine for this automobile was a derivative of the 8-cylinder rationalized B range of petrol engines (formed by four, six and straight eight). Specifically it was developed from a B80, the last Phantom IVs from a B81, both used in military and commercial vehicles. The P. IV is the only Rolls-Royce motorcar to be fitted with a straight-8 engine, which was powerful but could also run long distances at a very low speed, an important feature for ceremonial and parade cars.
All examples of this unique model were bodied by independent coachbuilders and most of their bonnets surmounted by the kneeling version of the Spirit of Ecstasy, which had been unveiled in 1934 and used in various other models, among them the P. IV.
There are several theories about the origin of the Phantom IV but most of the authors credit the honour to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Indeed, in 1948 the Duke heard about a Mark V Bentley nicknamed Scalded Cat fitted with a straight-eight engine and asked if he might test it out. He enjoyed this experimental car immensely and drove it for considerable distances. When he returned it, he apparently murmured about how nice it would be to have a car with performance in the Royal Mews.
On November 15, 1948, not long after Prince Philip had driven the aforementioned automobile, an order came through for a Rolls-Royce motor car for Their Royal Highnesses Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. They placed the order through The Car Mart, Ltd., RR official retailers. Such a vehicle would have to meet their official needs which meant it must be a limousine. Likewise, it would have to have good performance since the Prince wished to drive it himself. The car would be the first RR in the stables. It was originally planned to be the only Phantom IV, a strictly one-off piece.
Rolls-Royce, aware that Daimler had held the Royal warrant to provide motor cars since 1900, intended to ensure that they made the best car they could. The directors had earlier considered making a replacement for the pre-war Phantom III, but were wary that such a large and expensive motor car might not have a market in the weak post-war economy. Production of the new model was not at Crewe but at the experimental Clan Foundry at Belper which had been the home of the motor car branch during the Second World War.
Mulliner was selected as the coachbuilder, and they prepared drawings for approval. The chassis, 4AF2, was delivered to them in July 1949 for erection of the body, which was given the codename of Nabha. Prince Philip visited the workshops more than once while it was being built. When the automobile was completed in July 1950 its delivery was accompanied by a public announcement stating the Phantom IV had been "designed to the special order of Their Royal Highnesses, the Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh".
As the car was privately owned when delivered to the couple and was painted Valentine green (deep green with a slight blue secondary hue) with red belt-line striping. The limousine became an official state car of the United Kingdom upon Princess Elizabeth's accession to that country's throne in 1952; as such, it was repainted in claret and black. It remains in the Royal Mews and is still occasionally used for royal and state occasions. For example, the automobile was used at the wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton to carry Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, from Clarence House to Westminster Abbey.
On October 18, 1948, Crewe received an order for three cars for Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain: two armored limousines and a convertible sedan. These heavy cars would have overburdened the Silver Wraith chassis, so the factory decided to build them as Phantom IVs - especially since the Foreign Office suggested that Crewe could not turn down the order.
Without intending it, Franco's triple order (along with the Duke's first commission) probably helped to give a decisive impulse to the existence of this model, as suggested by Martin Bennett in his book Rolls-Royce & Bentley: The Crewe Years and the number 9 September 1990 of the British magazine Classic Cars. All these three historical vehicles are property of the Spanish Army and are still in ceremonial use for the Spanish head of state.
The firm decided, apparently unofficially, that the Phantom IV would be reserved for the royalty and heads of state. There was discussion of building Phantom IVs for private customers and coachbuilders' drawings exist, but those orders never came about.
The Phantom IV ceased production in 1956, by this time the model was not consider necessary for state use: Appropriate bodies had been built on Silver Wraiths. So, it was possible to buy a Silver Wraith for state occasions, which worked well for the factory. On the contrary, the hand-built P. IV with each unit customized for demanding customers, was not very profitable. However, contributed to reinforce the image of prestige the British firm was looking for.
4AF2 Mascot of Saint George and dragon, designed by artist Edward Seago, it is made of silver and can be transferred from car to car—whichever the Queen is riding in. Fitted with a specially modified driver's seat in case the Duke of Edinburgh wished to drive himself. It is fitted with a Lion as the mascot when used in Scotland
On April 10, 1952, the Queen was driven in this car to her first royal engagement—the presentation of Maundy Money at the Westminster Abbey. It carried the Queen to the opening of the British parliament in 1954. Fitted with an automatic gearbox in 1955.
4AF4 Experimental truck used for the factory. Dismantled in 1963.
4AF6 According to Martin Bennett's book "Rolls-Royce & Bentley: The Crewe Years" (3rd edition, 2011), chassis 4AF6, a 2-door convertible, was returned to Rolls-Royce: The third PIV built, and the second delivered to a customer, was 4AF6 for the Shah of Iran. The coachwork was again by H.J. Mulliner, but the huge drophead coupe body, which was finished in a light metallic blue with white leather upholstery, was by no means characteristic of this coachbuilder. It was the only Phantom IV to have built-in Silver Dawn type headlamps. The car was returned to Rolls-Royce Ltd in 1959, it is believed because it had proved insufficiently stiff, flexing severely on Iranian roads. The outcome was that the company scrapped it, though the body survives on a Phantom III chassis, which perhaps suggests that the fault lay with the chassis. The car made its way to the United States in 1982, apparently from Switzerland, still with its metallic blue paint. Recent photos of it (2000s) exist online, but its current whereabouts are unknown.
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