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Car of the Month

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Strive for Perfection

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Car of the Month - November 2017
Rolls-Royce Phantom III, 1938, #3CM43
Limousine by Erdmann & Rossi


Phantom III Chassis

Entered in the manufacturer's factory documents is 10th September 1937 as  "Off Test" date of the Rolls-Royce Phantom III, #3CM43. The car was shipped almost immediately to Germany where it was to become bodied by Erdmann & Rossi, Berlin. Details from page 253 of the book “The Rolls-Royce Phantom II & Phantom III” von Nick Whitaker und Steve Stuckey (which is out of print) inform the car received limousine coachwork with body-no. 3139.  It was exhibited at the major German motor show of that period from 18th February to 6th March 1938 on the stand of Erdmann & Rossi. No sooner than October 1928 it was registered for its 1st owner privy counsellor Curt Elschner; he owned the Berlin hotel "Excelsior".

It might considered almost unbelievable: as regards this V12-engined car - which no doubt had been a centre of attraction at Internationale Automobil- und Motorrad-Ausstellung Berlin 1938 – up to now not a single photo has been found. Neither seems to exist any picture showing her with her prominent owner. No details are known as regards the car's further fate; all tracks led into dead-end roads.

However not all was lost entirely. Not even dyed-in-the-wool experts have been aware that an Instruction Book in German language had been compiled for the Rolls-Royce Phantom III. It seemed absurd to think that on the microscopically small number of Rolls-Royce Phantom III that were delivered to German-speaking customers the company had invested the enormous amount of labour and expenses to translate the owner’s manual into the  German language. However against all ods Rolls-Royce did arrange for an Instruction Book in German.

Phantom III Handbuch Deutsch

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With a delivery note 'T7265' from 30th October 1937 the manufacturer from England had mailed the handbook to the coachbuilder in Germany. 80 years later most presumably it is a fair guess the single copy which is know to exist is the one and only in the world which has survived. The "Anleitung zur Fuehrung und Instandhaltung des 30/200 PS Rolls-Royce Wagens" recently was offered in breathtaking fine condition (really perfect!). Although a substantial amount was to be invested, a purchaser without hesitation did acquire this extremely rare book.

Lieferschein Phantom III Handbuch

Hence it can be stated as regards the 'lost' Rolls-Royce Phantom III, #3CM43, that it wasn’t lost completely. The original Instruction Book in German language of that car from production in the United Kingdom has survived over all those decades. Perhaps it is hard to top that? – Except if the combination could be arranged of the original handbook in German language plus the original handbook in English plus the original catalogue of the Rolls-Royce Phantom III.

Rolls-Royce Phantom III Bücher