After cheerfully sticking with the Silver Ghost for nearly two decades, Rolls-Royce started introducing new models on a regular basis in the 1920s and 1930s, splitting the enlarged range into two lines – standard and premium cars.
The Phantom series was emphatically the latter, reaching a peak of luxurious development with the Phantom III. The Phantom series was introduced to replace the venerable Silver Ghost in 1925, the Phantom I being a handsome straight six built both in Britain and America and the Phantom II following in 1929, featuring a much-improved chassis.
In 1936, the Phantom III saw the introduction of Rolls-Royce’s first. VI2 engine, an aluminum beauty with an unusual twin-spark ignition system that gave the car exceptional acceleration and a silky- smooth ride. This advanced machine had in-built jacking, a chassis lubrication system operated by internal lever, independent front suspension and servo-assisted brakes. It was unveiled at the 1935 Olympia Motor Show and lauded as the world’s most technically advanced vehicle… a reputation maintained to this day with some experts boldly claiming that Henry Royce’s swansong design was the best car ever made (he died in 1933).
The compact engine was arranged in a more forward position that on previous Phantoms, allowing greater space for an attractive range of custom bodywork. Some of the better-known Phantom III body styles include the Park Ward limousine, Mulliner saloon and Hooper sedanca de ville. But the ones that are really coveted today are the fabulous drophead coupes by the likes of James Young, for that ultimate 1930s wind-in-your-hair luxury motoring experience. Just 727 Phantom Ills were built, but such was their quality that most are still rolling. Production ended when World War II broke out, and when car manufacture resumed in 1947 it was with the Silver Wraith.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1936 (until 1939)
7,338 CC OHVV12
Typical limousine-bodied cars could do around 90 mph (163 km/h) and go from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17 secs.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Despite introducing The Phantom III’s highly successful V12 in 1936, it would be 1998 before Rolls-Royce returned to this engine format with the delectable Silver Wraith.