Rolls Royce Phantom IV Limousine Princess Margaret 4BP7 by Mulliner

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Rolls Royce


Phantom IV Limousine Princess Margaret 4BP7 by Mulliner





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.
4BP7 was the 15th Phantom IV produced; its right-hand drive chassis was delivered to Lillie Hall for testing on 14 February 1954. Subsequently it was brought to H.J. Mulliner for the fitment of coachwork to their design number 7368, with Mulliner noting the customer as “Baron Montaigne.” Why, exactly, that particular nom de guerre was chosen is not known—perhaps it was for security reasons. Rolls-Royce’s own records list the original owner by her true name: Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, the only sibling of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Princess Margaret’s Phantom IV was finished entirely in black, with power-operated windows and division, a glass roof panel with an electrically operated fabric blind, window shades, blue police light and mounts for the Royal heraldry and flagstaff above the windshield header. It was an automobile built for official use by the Princess in carrying out her duties, and it looked the part. However, chassis number 4BP7 was also built for a woman who had always been, and always would be, a very modern woman in her role. Always a lover of powerful cars, she had decided that she would prefer to occasionally drive the Phantom IV herself. Thus, it was fitted with automatic transmission and with a special driver’s seat finished in soft cloth, rather than the usual leather, with the ability to adjust the seat for both height and reach.
Yet not all was democratic. There were two radios mounted, one each to the front and rear compartment. When the Princess turned on the radio in the rear, the chauffeur’s radio automatically shut off. As a further reflection of the passenger’s status, the rear seat was adjustable and could be moved forward slightly, so that the Princess could be more easily viewed by the public; indirect interior lighting would keep her visible during evening occasions. Atop the radiator was her personal mascot, a Pegasus designed by Edward Seago and made (by Louis Lejeune Ltd., London) as her mascot.
The completed car was delivered to Clarence House in July 1954, as noted in the August issue of Rolls-Royce News, and fixed with Her Royal Highness’s registration number, “PM6450.” It remained in her use for 13 years and in that time was driven 27,000 miles. During that time Her Highness was occasionally photographed with chassis number 4BP7, including in 1955 as she departed Number 10, Downing Street following a dinner with Prime Minister Churchill.

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