After the Silver Ghost had fully cemented Rolls-Royce’s status as constructor of the world’s finest motorcars, the company began the difficult task of engineering a worthy replacement. The Silver Ghost chassis was incredibly over-designed and built to a standard that was virtually unmatched by its rivals, so the task of improving it would be certainly be a challenge. Rolls-Royce had to make sure the new car lived up to the lofty standards it had set with the Silver Ghost, and far exceed the demands of their exclusive clientele. The Ghost’s replacement was developed in intense secrecy, with the project even gaining a code name of “Easter Armoured Car” to throw off potential industrial spies. Once revealed, the New Phantom made headlines with its 7.7 liter inline-six, a development of the Ghost’s unit but heavily reworked to feature advanced pushrod-actuated overhead valves. The block was cast in alloy, with the cylinder head cast in iron on early cars, which was switched to aluminum alloy after 1928 to correct corrosion issues. Suspension, steering and brakes were an evolution of the Ghost’s but thoroughly improved to provide more modern ride and handling and to ensure stopping power in keeping with the new, more powerful engine. Thanks to the success of the Silver Ghost, an assembly plant had already been established in Springfield, Massachusetts to build cars specifically for American buyers. The New Phantom debuted in 1925 (only renamed Phantom I following the arrival of the Phantom II), and by 1926, they were leaving the Springfield works to very strong demand. A vast array of catalog body styles were offered, with the famous coachbuilders at Brewster getting a large number of contracts for the Springfield cars, which was only natural as Brewster had come under the control of Rolls Royce in 1925. Between 1926 and 1931, 1,241 Phantom 1s left the Springfield works.
One of the most handsome and elegant Brewster designs for the Phantom 1 was the All Weather Phaeton; officially known as the Newmarket in Brewster’s catalog. In the tradition of the American convertible sedan, the Newmarket is full convertible that when open, looks like a sporting Phaeton, but is fitted with roll up glass windows and foldable B-pillars that when in place, lend the appearance of a formal sedan and provide excellent protection from unpleasant weather. This fine example is chassis number S138FR, a 1929 model that benefits from many of the factory upgrades made through the course of production, including the desirable alloy cylinder head. According to the Schoellkopf Card provided by the Rolls Royce Owner's Club, this car was originally delivered to a Mrs. C. Rosenbloom of New York, and fitted with an Etoile body. The car was sold in 1931 and, as was common practice, a new body was fitted to suit the new owner's tastes. In this case, it was refitted with the elegant Brewster Newmarket body it still wears today. Finished elegantly in all-black livery with a striking polished reveal, this handsome motorcar wears an older restoration that does shows some light patina in places, yet remains very attractive. The quality of the restoration is very good, with excellent panel fit and fine detailing. A CCCA 1st Place badge attests to the fact that the car was restored properly when it was done. It is well accessorized with dual sidemount spare wheels, dual horns, and a covered trunk on the original trunk rack. The black paintwork is in fine order, with good quality bodywork lending straight and deep reflections. Subtle red coachstripes accent the black and polished alloy beautifully.
Inside, black leather trim is attractive and lightly care worn, showing some use since the restoration. Seats, carpets and door cards are free of any damage or issues, and the cabin is a marvelous place to spend a day or more touring the countryside. Correct original instrumentation resides in the polished wood dash and Rolls-Royce’s signature aircraft-quality switchgear remains in excellent order. The Phantom benefits from a conventional drive arrangement, with traditional three pedals and a center mounted gear lever, allowing for easy operation in modern conditions. The convertible top wears new black canvas upholstery, and the mechanism works as it should. A matching canvas boot covers the works when in the open position and an upholstered trunk cover ties the look together nicely.
Out on the road is where this example truly excels. The well detailed and correctly presented 7.7 liter inline-six delivers endless torque and exceptional smoothness, which allows drivers to simply select top gear and motor virtually anywhere without shifting. This car has been very well sorted and cruises effortlessly, the strong engine backed by tight suspension and powerful brakes. Versatile and desirable coachwork, a nicely mellowed and handsome restoration and excellent mechanical condition come together in a wonderful Phantom I that is a prime candidate for RROC tours, CCCA CARavan tours, or other casual shows and events.
Jul 28, 2017