The Silver Ghost was the car that fully established Rolls-Royce as the undisputed king of fine automobiles. The Ghost was over-engineered to a standard that was unmatched by its rivals and often wore the finest bodies from the most respected coachbuilders the world over. When a replacement was due, Rolls-Royce made sure the new car lived up to the lofty standards it had set with the Silver Ghost. The new car was developed in secret, and even code named “Easter Armoured Car” to throw off potential spies. The Phantom, as it would become known, featured an all-new 7.7 liter inline-six with very advanced overhead valves and pushrods. The block was cast in alloy, with cast iron cylinder heads. Suspension, steering and brakes were an evolution of the Ghost’s but thoroughly improved to provide more modern ride and handling. Thanks to the success of the Silver Ghost, an assembly plant had already been established in Springfield, Massachusetts to build cars that catered to American clientele. The Phantom debuted in 1925, 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. All told, 1,241 Phantom 1s left the Springfield works from 1926 to 1931.
This handsome Phantom 1 wears highly desirable All Weather Phaeton coachwork by Brewster of New York. Officially known as the “Newmarket” style in the Rolls-Royce catalog, it is full convertible that features roll up glass windows and folding B-pillars to remain weather tight in all conditions. Regardless of how it is presented, it is incredibly handsome and a very desirable body style. Chassis S126PR was delivered new to Mrs. E.J. Williams of Cincinnati, Ohio in December of 1930. A very high specification car with pricey coachwork, it set Mrs. Williams back a staggering $20,075.50 – an equivalent to nearly $300,000 in today’s numbers. As would be the case with such an automobile, a large portion of that invoice covered the cost of the Brewster-built coachwork. Brewster was favored by Rolls-Royce for their Springfield-built cars as they were one of a select few coachbuilders that could truly live up to the standard set by Rolls-Royce in terms of both quality and elegance. As a late specification Phantom 1 (Phantom II production had already commenced in Derby in 1929), chassis number S126PR benefits from the full array of running changes made during P1 production. These improvements included four-wheel servo-assisted brakes, Bijur chassis lubrication system, and a vacuum fed fuel tank, all of which help to make this an extremely enjoyable motorcar to drive.
Given the considerable cost of entry and magnificent coachwork, it is unsurprising to discover this fabulous car has been extremely well-maintained and cherished from new. It retains its original coachwork and remains correct and authentic in mechanical specification. The chassis number is found stamped in to the convertible top frame, confirming it retains the original body, and comprehensive documentation related to its history is on file with the Rolls Royce Owner’s Club. A full restoration was undertaken in the 1990s by then owner and a marque expert, Lawrence Smith of Kansas. Following its restoration, it received a First Place award in the Primary Division of the 1998 AACA Grand Classic Annual Meet. Following its time with Mr. Smith, it was most recently part of two prominent East Coast collections, where it was used regularly, shown successfully in a variety of Concours d’Elegance and lovingly maintained by respected specialists.
Today, S126PR looks positively resplendent in navy blue over silver finders and color-coordinated wheel discs. The body and paint are finished to an extremely high standard and still present exceptionally well considering the restoration is approaching two decades old. A matching trunk residing on the truck rack has been detailed with subtle red coach stripes to mirror those on the wheel discs. Like the body, the blue leather interior is also finished to a high standard and remains in outstanding order since the restoration. The color combination along with the blue leather, polished wood trim and chrome detailing impart a bit of a nautical feel, particularly when presented with the roof and windows open. It is a stunning and elegant machine in any configuration.
The magnificent 7.7 liter inline six presents in beautiful condition. In spite of the regular and careful use in the past few years, it remains exceptionally tidy and retains correct detailing throughout, having been recently detailed and prepared. The sound and sorted mechanicals in combination with the versatile coachwork make Mrs. Williams’ Newmarket an ideal choice for CCCA, RROC or AACA touring. Fabulous history and exquisite cosmetics simply add to the appeal.
Jul 28, 2017