Synonymous with all that's sophisticated and elegant, the Rolls-Royce is loved by classic car enthusiasts for its unmatched quality and performance. It has carved a significant space for itself in the history of the automobile industry, and continues to command interest and attention all over the globe.
How it all began with the Ghosts and the Phantoms
The Rolls-Royce company started its legendary career in the early 1900s. With the launch of the six-cylinder luxury car, the ‘Silver Ghost’, in 1906 (voted as the ‘Best Car in the World’) Rolls-Royce instantly rose to fame the world over. However, the Silver Ghost wasn’t put into production in America until 1920.
The magnificent ‘Silver Ghost’ was succeeded by the ‘New Phantom’ in 1926, which was later christened as Phantom I. The New Phantom had a 7.7 liter, six-cylinder, 100 hp engine, and a price tag of $ 11,750.
Production of the Phantom series continued up to 1931 with a total of 226 Rolls-Royce vehicles rolling into the market. A 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom I was recently sold at the Bonhams auction for $360,000.
The Phantoms have gained numerous achievements and gone through several major changes over the years:
By 1929, Phantom I had evolved into Phantom II with little change in its price. The remarkable modifications in the new design were the reduced height and the centralized chassis lubrication. The changes in the engine, though subtle, indisputably enhanced the performance of the vehicle.
The 1934 Phantom II 40-50 hp is considered to be the most prized of all Rolls-Royce cars. A Phantom II was recently sold for $249,500. This car has made several celebrity appearances: the short 144” Phantom II won the Grand Prix D’Honneur at the Biarritz Concours D’Elegance in 1930, and the Rolls Royce Phantom II 181 RY was featured in “Octopussy”, the James Bond blockbuster.
The next royal member of the family, the Phantom III emerged in 1936 adorned with a unique, all-aluminum V12 engine with a four speed manual transmission. By 1939, 710 of these vehicles were produced. In fact, the Phantom III was the first Rolls-Royce to don a V12 engine. At its unveiling ceremony at the 1935 Olympia Motor Show, Phantom III was lauded as the most technically advanced car the world had ever seen. This was also the last large member of the classic Rolls-Royce.
Phantom IV succeeded Phantom III in 1950 and was truly a royal member as it was produced on special order from the royal family and all 18 that were built went to the royalty and heads of state to be used for state processions. They came on a longer silver wraith chassis powered by a straight eight engine.
Phantom V and Phantom VI came in quick succession in 1959 and 1968 offering motor cars with a separate chassis until 1991.
If you have a penchant for classic cars, especially the magnificent Rolls-Royce Phantom series, they are definitely worth the buy as their value is only set to go up. Ask for a luxury car insurance quote from Classic Auto Insurance to protect your most valuable investment, and to ensure its best care at all times. Contact us to get a free quote, and help us secure you the best classic car insurance policy that can be tailored to fit your needs as a collector.
About the Author
Drew Yagodnik is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.