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Car of the Month Selection

Car of the Month - March 1998
Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental, 1933,#98PY,
Barker Allweather Torpedo

Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental, 1933, #98PY, Barker Allweather Torpedo

The overall production figure of the Rolls-Royce Phantom II is 1,675. Every single one is highly desirable combining perfect driving manners and faultless operation with coachwork designs unsurpassed in elegance . But the utmost in desirability is stated by great many to be the rare Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental. The grand old man himself, Frederick Henry Royce was the driving force for a plan to create the Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental. He had seen good reason to suggest the company should add to their image of supreme quality a touch of sporting performance. Notwithstanding the sales department's disapproval of his idea he arranged for a modestly tuned version to be fitted with a most striking Saloon body by Barker. After a demonstration run to France, where the car was placed first at a Concours d'Elegance in fashionable Biarritz and Spain, where it caused a sensation when shown in Madrid, the sales office accepted orders and in brochure christened the new model "R-R Phantom II Continental". 281 were built bodied with a variety of custom built coachwork.

Barker BodyA mere 3 of the Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental were made as four door convertibles. Hooper built one on chassis #7RY and Thrupp & Maberly one on chassis #24MS. Barker was the coachbuilder which had been entrusted with the body for the first ever Continental and no doubt was responsible to a certain extent for the model's coming into being. Barker built the magnificent Allweather Torpedo shown here. Their body no. 6761 was finished just in time to be delivered pre-Christmas on 21st December 1933 to Lt. Col. W.B. du Pre, who had placed his order on 7th July, 1933. Interior in red leather made a striking contrast to the black paintwork. The dashboard in mother of pearl (!) was an almost exotic feature but the Andre Telecontrol (shock absorbers on the rear axle being controllable) gave off that this was a driver's car and not an Indian Prince's gem.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental, 1933, #98PY, Barker Allweather Torpedo

Presumably one of the greatest days in the car's history was 6th July,1935, as it was honoured to become Royal Transport when H.M. The Late King George V. and his sons H.R.H. Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales (later H.M. The King Edward VIII.) and H.R.H. Prince George, The Duke of York (later H.M. The King George VI.) did a review of the Royal Air Force at Mildenhall. They inspected Handley Page Heyford bombers powered by Rolls-Royce Kestrel engines. A photo of this event showing #98PY, then registered AKX386, with the members of the Royal Family and their high ranking entourage is to be found on page 141 in "The Rolls-Royce Motor Car" by Bird & Hallows. In Gentile's book "The Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental" on page 207 bottom the car is shown after it had had a less lucky day in its life - the day when sometime after 1946 a new owner had decided to alter the convertible into a saloon and substituted the fold down top by a hard top.

Engine with tools

It was in this form that the car in 1988 became the property of a new owner in Switzerland who felt relieved to find that the previous owner, a gentleman living in Versailles (F), had had the car for some 30 years and always had been keen on careful maintenance. During the eighties the engine had been subject to a complete overhaul and the dynamo, magneto, brakes, steering box and electrics as well. The then owner started on the self-imposed task of bringing the Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental back to its former glory in outward appearance too. A painstakingly careful process of restoration was carried out. To take the later fitted saloon top off was one-week job because it had been fixed by several hundred nails and screws. Even more time-consuming was to make a new frame for the folding top. Fortunately two friends did assist, who normally made prototypes of industrial robots and their knowledge of newest technology helped to re-create the vintage mechanism correct in every detail. Repainted in ICI black nitrocellulose paint and with an interior completely refurbished in red hide (Connolly had supplied the leather) this car took part in the 1991 Annual Meeting of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club at Castle Ashby and was awarded 1st place in Class 18. No mean feat for a car that had not been cosseted in a covered trailer but travelled the whole distance from Switzerland to the meeting being driven through sometimes appalling weather. The car and its new hood were up to Barker's original description: Allweather Torpedo...

Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental, 1933, #98PY, Barker Allweather Torpedo


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