Phantom III Pillarless Saloon

1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Pillarless Saloon by Vesters & Neirinck

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 18-19, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

By definition, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III was not a sporty automobile. It was a huge car, introduced by Rolls in 1936 and it lasted through 1939. The bare chassis alone weighed in at just over two tons. It featured a big, 7.3-liter V-12 making about 160 horsepower, which was a decent amount of power, but not enough to scoot the pure massiveness of this car along at any decent clip.

But, I suppose, that has never been the point of a Rolls-Royce, V-12 or otherwise (the Phantom III was the first V-12 RR and the last one until 1998). Because these were sold as bare chassis, it was kind of up to the coachbuilder of your choice to make it seem sporty and that is where Vesters & Neirinck of Brussels succeeded wildly with this car. The low, extremely solid-looking roof, swoopy fenders and two-tone paint really do make this car look sporty. And the fact that it lacks B-pillars is icing on that design cake.

Now let’s talk about this car’s downright bizarre ownership history. It is said that during WWII this car was used by the King of Belgium and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. In the late 1950s the car was in Germany and a decade later it was in the U.S. where it had a series of owners. Then, in the 1980s, it was purchased by G. Gordon Liddy (of Watergate infamy). He sold it to Charles Nelson Reilly, who, because he was way before my time, became known to me thanks to Alec Baldwin’s not-as-over-the-top-as-you-might-think impression of him on Saturday Night Live.

Restored between 1992 and 1994, this car won its class at Pebble Beach and has been in the same collection for nearly 20 years. Only 727 Phantom IIIs were built and this is, so far, the best-looking example I’ve seen (though we featured another wild one a few weeks ago). It should bring between $550,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $593,500.

Copper-bodied Rolls-Royce

1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sedanca de Ville by Freestone & Webb

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 13-21, 2018

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The Phantom III was the third (obviously) Phantom model introduced by Rolls-Royce and the final large car introduced by the company before WWII. First shown in 1936, the company built just 727 examples before production was suspended in 1939. It did not return after the war.

The body that this car carries was actually custom built in 1946 for the car’s second owner, as it was originally supplied with a limousine body. Freestone & Webb of London built this over the top, yet still gorgeous Sedanca de Ville body in a style that could’ve certainly been built in 1937. The windswept fenders and running boards are brushed copper over steel, as is the radiator and other trim pieces.

The Phantom III was the first Rolls-Royce to be powered by a V-12 engine – and the last until the Silver Seraph went on sale in 1998. That V-12 is a 7.3-liter unit that makes an “adequate” amount of power (though in reality it was about 160 horsepower). This is a very striking automobile that has been making concours appearances since it was essentially new. It will be one of a few cars offered at Barrett-Jackson this January with a reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

October 2017 Auction Highlights

Welcome to October, though we’re starting in September with Mecum’s Louisville sale. We didn’t get to feature anything from this one, but this 1968 Shelby GT500 was the top sale, bringing $90,500. Click here to see what else sold.

Photo – Mecum

Onward to Bonhams’ sale at the Simeone Foundation in Philadelphia. This is always a good one, and their top sale here was $1,001,000 paid for this 1913 Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Silver Ghost London-to-Edinburgh Sports Tourer by Reuters.

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a number of cars from this sale and some of those failed to sell, including this Stearns-Knight, the Mobile Steam car, and a previously-featured Humber. The Stoddard-Dayton Raceabout sold for $106,700 and the 1917 Mack C-Cab truck was a steal at $8,800 (because that’s probably about what the paint on it cost). Click here for everything else.

RM Sotheby’s was also in Pennsylvania in October, in Hershey to be exact. Sadly the most interesting car of the entire auction, the Gasmobile, was withdrawn (as was the Derby). The top sale was this 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow for $2,310,000.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Some big dollar feature cars included the Belgian-bodied Duesenberg for $1,485,000, the other Duesenberg for $549,000, the White Yellowstone Bus for $165,000, and the Stearns-Knight Touring for $132,000.

Other feature cars that sold included a pair of Stanleys, with the older one bringing $55,000 and the newer one $36,300. The Moon Roadster sold for $66,000. The Apperson Touring sold for $24,750 and the Sears Motor Buggy $35,200. Click here for complete results.

How about some results from Coys? This 1926 Bugatti Type 37 was the top seller at their Blenheim Palace sale back in July. It brought about $968,950. We didn’t feature anything from this sale but you can see more from it here.

Photo – Coys

Finally, Motostalgia’s McPherson Collection sale in Texas. We featured a Zimmer Quicksilver that ended up selling for $15,400. The top sale was this 1958 Facel Vega FVS Series 4 for $190,000. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Motostalgia

Silver Dawn Fastback

1951 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupe by Pininfarina

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Bentley Continental Fastback of the 1950s is one of the most popular classic, post-war Bentleys. Rolls-Royce never built something quite like it, the exception being this one-off, coachbuilt Silver Dawn.

The Silver Dawn was built between 1949 and 1955. In all, 760 were made – almost all of them four-door sedans. The 1951 Silver Dawn was powered by a 4.6-liter straight-six and the power rating was “adequate” in RR terms.

This particular Silver Dawn was purchased as a chassis by an Italian and it was sent to Pininfarina for this body. It is the only Silver Dawn bodied by Pininfarina. Its cost in 1951 was extraordinary, costing the original owner roughly five times the price of an average home in the U.K. at the time. Displayed at the 1951 Turin Motor Show, it was restored by its current owners in 2014.

As a classically-bodied one-off, this Silver Dawn is one of the most stylish, coachbuilt post-war Rolls-Royces. It should bring between $580,000-$710,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ Goodwood lineup.

Update: Not sold.

Australian-Bodied Rolls

1923 Rolls-Royce Twenty Open Tourer by Smith & Waddington

Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | April 12, 2017

Photo – Coys

The Rolls-Royce Twenty was introduced in 1922 and it was Rolls-Royce’s “small car” – if you can consider something that is as large as this as “small.” In its early years, Rolls-Royce built gigantic cars, so really, anything less than gargantuan could be considered small. It was their first new model since 1907.

The Twenty is powered by a 3.1-liter straight-six making, presumably, 20 horsepower. With the correct (read: lightweight) body work, the car could attain 60 mph. The simple yet sporty body on this car was constructed by Smith & Waddington of Sydney, Australia.

That’s right, this British-built Rolls was sent as a bare chassis to Australia where its first owner chose to have it bodied locally. Smith & Waddington were the premier Australian coachbuilder for Rolls-Royces. At one point, they were building bodies for 85% of the Rolls-Royces coming into Australia. This car came back to the U.K. in 2013 and has covered 13,000 miles since the engine was rebuilt in 1990.

When production ended in 1929, only 2,940 Rolls-Royce Twenty models had been produced. This one should bring between $56,500-$69,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold, approximately $56,250.

Four-Door Rolls-Royce Convertible

1971 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Four-Door Cabriolet by Frua & Royle Cars

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

If the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI wasn’t rare enough (only 374 were built between 1968 and 1990 – an eternity as far as single model production goes), this Rolls-Royce is a one-off, four-door convertible.

The Phantom VI was the final version of the numerical Phantoms that began all the way back in 1925 with the Phantom I. A VI was actually Queen Elizabeth’s official state car until 2002. It’s powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 engine making 220 horsepower. VIs were sold as bare chassis and most were bodied by Mulliner Park Ward. This car was sold as a bare chassis to an Englishman who sent it to Frua in Italy for a Sedanca de Ville body to be fitted.

It never was and the chassis changed hands, this time to an American. It wasn’t until 1977 that the body you see here was designed. But it wouldn’t actually be completed until 1993 – after Pietro Frua had died and after the American owner’s collection had been sold. The new owner had Royle Cars Ltd. complete the Frua design and it was done just in time for the 1993 Geneva Auto Show, which makes this the final Phantom VI to be completed.

It also makes this practically a brand new car. It has covered only 72 miles in its life. It’s a Rolls-Royce, so the car’s interior is way off the end of the luxury scale, with a dizzying amount of details scattered throughout. It’s also one of the rarest bodystyles in the world: a four-door convertible. Not many people are crazy enough to build such a car. Only two Phantom VI convertibles were built, here is the other one. This one should bring between $800,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017, $385,000.

Purple Rolls-Royce

1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Convertible by J.S. Inskip

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith was Rolls’ middle-of-the-line model and it was produced between 1946 and 1958. In 12 years, only 1,883 were produced, keeping with Rolls-Royce’s exclusivity pattern.

But, as you can see, this is no ordinary Silver Wraith. It was ordered new by a wealthy New Yorker and first displayed at the 1949 New York International Motor Show. It is powered by a 4.3-liter straight-six making 126 horsepower (aka “Adequate”). The body, which was originally black, was bodied by J.S. Inskip, who was the Rolls-Royce importer in New York.

Not to oversell it, but this is one of the most stylish cars ever bodied by an American coachbuilder – especially after the war. The original owner put it up for sale in 1952 for $12,500. A couple of owners later, in the 1980s, the car was redone to it’s current, striking, purple. This five owner car will draw a crowd wherever it goes and is expected to bring between $1,250,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Not sold.

Phantom II Torpedo Sports

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Torpedo Sports by Barker

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 28-29, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

When you think of 1930s streamlined automobiles, you probably think of those Art Deco French beauties. Well here is an English example. It’s a Rolls-Royce Phantom II, which was produced between 1929 and 1936.

It is powered by a 120 horsepower 7.7-liter straight-six. Barker & Co. of London was one of the more common coachbuilders for Rolls-Royce. Most of their designs were relatively traditional – sedans and the like. But obviously not all of their designs were stodgy. This Torpedo Sports looks like something from the late 1930s, not the dawn of the decade.

Built for a man in New York (but never delivered), this car has windswept fenders, rear wheel covers, and the upper part of the rear decklid comes to a boattail-like point. The first owner isn’t actually known for sure (it is thought to be a Maharaja), but from the second owner on, the history of this car is known. The current owner bought it in the early 1990s and it has since been restored.

Only 1,402 Phantom IIs were built and this is the only one quite like this. It’s also one of the sportiest Phantom IIs, too. If you want to see more, click here. And find the rest of RM’s catalog here.

Update: Not sold.

5 Great Classics

1919 Detroit Electric Model 75-A Four-Passenger Brougham

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Detroit Electric is one of the most famous names in electric automobiles. They built cars for a while, too, beginning in 1907 and lasting through the mid-to-late-30s. Later models are rarer than these post-WWI, upright, boxy cars. The company offered quite a large range of cars during this period – 1919 alone had six different model/body style combinations.

This car is powered by a 4.3 horsepower electric motor. It is mostly original but has been repainted. It’s an timeless design. This is the type of car you can use or restore and not feel bad about either choice. It should sell for between $40,000-$50,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $30,250.


1915 Cretors Model C Popcorn Wagon

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Charles Cretors invented the popcorn machine. His shop sold roasted peanuts but he wasn’t satisfied with the machine he had, so he built his own. His company started building horse-drawn popcorn wagons and for a brief time, actually offered motorized popcorn wagon trucks.

This truck features a Cretors chassis and a 4.0-liter Buda straight-four making 22.5 horsepower. The Harrah Collection acquired this example in 1963 and restored it to working perfection. It’s the ultimate toy/promotional vehicle/historical artifact. Only eight or nine of these were built and less than five survive. It’s really cool and will cost its new owner between $250,000-$325,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $231,000.


1916 Winton Six-33 Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Alexander Winton should be one of everyone’s automotive heroes – he’s definitely one of ours. Winton cars were always reliable, attractive, and well-built. The cars deserved to be around a lot longer than 1924, but the marque lived on in one form or another as a producer of engines until the 1960s.

The six-cylinder Winton Model 33 was built between 1916 and 1919. It uses a 5.7-liter straight-six making almost 34 horsepower. Body style could be had just about any way you wanted it and this seven-passenger touring was the largest of the four touring styles offered. It’s great and should bring between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $74,250.


1909 Petrel 30HP Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Petrel was a very short-lived automobile make from Wisconsin. Initial production in 1909 took place in Kenosha but by later that year they had relocated to Milwaukee, where they stayed until the plant closed in 1912. A six-cylinder car was offered in 1909 alongside the four, but the smaller cars were the sweet spot for the company.

This 30 horsepower straight-four is of 4.7-liters in displacement. It resembles a lot of other, early roadsters but that vibrant purple really sets it apart. And yes, that is the original color, although it was exquisitely restored 50 years ago. Less than 1,000 Petrels were built and it is thought that this is the only survivor. It should bring between $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Silver Ghost Landaulette by Barker

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

This is a huge car. And it’s gorgeous, too. The Landaulette body by Barker offers a downright cavernous passenger compartment fitted with all the luxuries available to the British motoring public on the dawn of WWI. The engine, chassis, and coachwork are all the matching originals. The car was restored between 2004 and 2005.

The 40/50HP Silver Ghost still stands as one of Rolls-Royce’s finest achievements. The engine is a 7.4-liter straight-six. While maybe not a fun driver’s car, it seems more fitting as one to be chauffeured around in. It has known ownership history since new and should bring between $500,000-$700,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $577,500.

The Only Two-Door Phantom VI

1973 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Cabriolet by Frua

Offered by Bonhams | Ebeltoft, Denmark | September 26, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Rolls-Royce Phantom VI replaced the Phantom V (obviously). It was introduced in 1968 and lasted, ludicrously, through 1990. They were exclusive sedans and limousines favored by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II. A couple of hearses were also constructed and there were two convertibles built by Frua. One has four doors, making this the only two-door Phantom VI built.

It was designed by Pietro Frua for a Swiss diplomat for use in Switzerland and Monaco. In fact, he kept the car until 1997. It had one other owner before the current owner acquired it. It is powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 and power was “adequate.” Just look at the thing – it’s enormous. The car is over 19 feet long. It’s almost a foot longer than a ’59 Cadillac convertible. It’s one of the biggest two-door convertibles ever built.

And it is opulent. The interior has been aggressively nitpicked to the slightest detail from the leather-lined carpet to the owner’s initials on the horn. You really should see this thing from every angle, including the opposing opening hood. You can find more pictures here. It is expected to sell for between $300,000-$390,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $550,098.