1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Torpedo Sports Tourer by Barker & Co.
Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Las Vegas, Nevada | September 28, 2013
The Rolls-Royce Phantom I was the successor to the Silver Ghost. The first Phantom was introduced in 1925 – making this a launch-year model. It was available from either Rolls-Royce or Rolls-Royce of America. This is from the British arm of the company.
This is actually a really interesting car and I’ve been monitoring it as it sat at the Auto Collections in Las Vegas, where it’s been for sale for a little while. This car was ordered new by Umed Singh II – the Maharaja of Kotah in India. Rolls-Royces were popular among Maharajas (India was under British rule at the time) and a Maharaja Rolls is a thing that pops up every now and then.
The Maharaja had this Torpedo Sports Tourer body put on the car by Barker & Co. of London – the supplier for many of the bodies on early Silver Ghosts. Barker & Co. would be acquired by Hooper (another popular Bentley/Rolls coachbuilder) in 1938. The engine in this car is a 50 horsepower (or “sufficient,” in Rolls-speak) 7.7-liter straight-six.
India is a land of exotic game and many kings of the day liked to go hunting. This car was well-equipped with enough firepower (including a tow-behind machine gun!) to go hunting on his family’s private estate. This has been referred to as the “Tiger Car” as it packs enough punch to take down a Bengal Tiger.
It’s a really awesome car that has the potential to bring a lot of money. You just don’t see outrageous Rolls-Royces like this – especially one armed like a tank. Only 2,269 British-built Phantom Is were built – and there’s only one like this. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Barrett-Jackson’s Vegas lineup.
Rolls-Royce of Derby, England, set up a manufacturing arm in America which was referred to, surprisingly, as Rolls-Royce of America. They opened shop in 1921, constructing the already-old Silver Ghost. In 1925, Rolls introduced the follow-up model to the Silver Ghost – the Phantom. In 1929, the Phantom II was introduced and the Phantom’s name was changed to “Phantom I” and it stayed in production through 1931.
The car you see here was built by Rolls-Royce of America and they are often referred to as a “Springfield” (which refers to Springfield, Massachusetts – where the cars were built). As it is a Phantom I, it uses a 7.7-liter straight-six that made about 120 horsepower.
What is great about this car is the bodywork. As far as early Rolls’ go this is one of my favorite designs. The body is by Brewster – the Long Island coachbuilder contracted by RR of America to build many of their bodies. It is called an “Ascot Phaeton” to give the buyer an aura of Britishness. It’s a five-seater with sporty looks and I like it.
The car has known ownership history from new. It was restored first in 1970 in New Jersey and is being sold by a European collector who had more work done recently. The car comes without an estimate but is being sold at no reserve. It is one of 28 Springfield Ascot Phaetons built on the Phantom I chassis. RR of America built 1,240 Phantom Is total (of 3,512 built worldwide). I estimate this car at about $300,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Coys’ Greek lineup.