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Rolls-Royce and Bentley

Car of the Month - July 2004
Rolls-Royce Phantom III, #3CP140, 1937,
Limousine by Serra

Rolls-Royce Phantom III

"Spanish Ambassador at the Court of St. James" was a term rooting in century-old traditions; thus was listed the position of the Spanish Ambassador in the UK. At the end of the 30ies the ambassador was the Earl of Mayalde. His Excellency did employ a Rolls-Royce Phantom III, #3CP140 - a particularly interesting car because the chassis originally had been exported to Germany where it received coachwork by Erdmann & Rossi, Berlin (as per their 'Kommissions-Buch' the finished car was delivered 31st March 1938). After the end of his service with the Corps Diplomatique the Earl became Mayor of Madrid and his car was relocated to the Spanish capital.

Collectors and admirers worldwide place the Rolls-Royce Phantom III in the pantheon of great cars. The new model made its debut during a period when Rolls-Royce had reached a pinnacle in building multi-cylinder aircraft-engines. There can be little doubt, of course, that much of this knowledge was transferred into the design of the V-12-cylinder motor car engine. That engine provided tremendous torque and power. The chassis was a real gem, too. A very solid frame was strengthened by a sturdy crossmember and sported refinements like built-in hydraulic jacks front and rear; operated independently or together. State of the art independent front suspension (to a General Motors license) enhanced roadholding and ensured ease of handling.


For many years the car gave sterling service and the Earl didn't like the idea to part with this “Zero-Defect-Motor-Car”. Hence at some time during the 60ies he decided the old Erdmann & Rossi coachwork with its rather old fashioned design should be substituted by one that reflected more modern lines. He did entrust the task to Pedro Serra, a coachbuilder from Barcelona (Spain). Serra built a new body that at a quick glance could be mistaken for a Rolls-Royce Phantom V. But all body panels and the structure underneath as well as the complete interior are the work of Spanish craftsmen. The result pleased the Earl of Mayalde very much and he never minimized his efforts to arrange for the mechanical condition of the car to be maintained regardless of cost, too. When the car later came into the custody of a collector in Spain it didn't lack tender TLC (Tender Loving Care) either. The Rolls-Royce was repainted (previously it showed duotone paintwork) and its outward appearance enhanced further by white wall tyres being fitted.

Rolls-Royce Phantom III

(Photos Courtesy of Antonio Castillo del Olivares, Spain)

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