Classic Van Auction Talk

Thursday, 21 January 2016


28th JANUARY 2015
Lot 3
In single ownership for more than 50 years

1936 ROLLS-ROYCE  PHANTOM III 40/50HP SEDANCA DE VILLE   Chassis no. 3 AZ 40 Engine no. Z 14 B

Coachwork by Windovers Ltd

Chassis no. 3 AZ 40
Engine no. Z 14 B

7,338cc OHV V12 Engine
Single Carburetor
126bhp at 4,000rpm 
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Front Independent Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

*The original V12 Rolls-Royce 
*Rare motor show displayed coachwork by Windovers
*Well-documented example
*Single owner for over 50 years 
*Offered with RROC history file and copies of factory records


Rolls-Royce's "single model" policy had proved an outstanding success for the company, but immediately after the end of The Great War, the recession in the motor trade prompted the introduction of a smaller, cheaper 20HP car to be built alongside the existing 40/50HP Silver Ghost. Henry Royce's new design incorporated a number of modern features such as overhead valve-gear for its 6-cylinder engine, a centre-change gearbox and "Hotchkiss drive" rear axle, so the arrival of the advanced newcomer only served to emphasise the Silver Ghost's Edwardian origins. However, while replacing the elegant but ageing Silver Ghost chassis was no easy task for Rolls-Royce, the big 40/50HP model would soon benefit from developments pioneered on its smaller sibling. 

The new model which debuted in 1925 was a more than worthy successor. Later named the Phantom I, the new model took Rolls-Royce into the modern mid-twenties era of motoring. The chassis of the Silver Ghost was improved, but not in any revolutionary manner. The design philosophy of the marque remained careful evolution rather than revolutionary gadgetry.

Introduced at the Olympia Motor Exhibition in 1935, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III was an immediate favorite of the ruling classes. With innovative engineering, and an imposing presence, the Phantom III was the most sophisticated and powerful pre-war Rolls-Royce. Mounted behind the unmistakable radiator was something entirely new and unique to the Phantom III- an all-aluminum V12 engine. In fact, The Phantom III was the first and only Rolls-Royce powered by 12 cylinders until the introduction of the Silver Seraph in 1998. This engine, displacing 7.3 liters, featured a twin ignition system along with twin spark plugs per cylinder, twin fuel pumps, aluminum heads, and wet liners. 

Despite its massiveness, the Phantom III could move quite briskly thanks to its nearly 360 lb/ft of torque available at just 2000rpm. Smoothly operating in near silence like its iconic forbearer, the Silver Ghost, the Phantom III was capable of reaching speeds nearing 100 miles-per-hour- an impressive feat for any motorcar of the era, let alone one of such impressive stature. Most chassis were fitted with large four-door bodies well –suited to the dimensions and proportions of the car. After just 727 examples were produced, production came to an abrupt end in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II, with Rolls-Royce shifting all production to aiding the war effort. 


Completed in July of 1936 for the 6th Earl of Portarlington, Phantom III chassis 3 AZ 40 was fitted with stately Sedanca de Ville coachwork by Windovers, Ltd. Featuring classic swooping fenders, an open cockpit, bold lines, and an incorporated trunk, this striking Phantom III was a seamless blend of traditional coachbuilding with modern touches. According to the Phantom III Directory and Register, this elegant body had actually been shown at Scottish Motor Show in 1935, presumably on Windovers stand. In 1962, this Phantom was acquired by Mr. John "Jack" Goodman of Tucson, Arizona. 10 years into his over 50 years of ownership, Mr. Goodman had this rare Rolls treated to a refreshed interior, new paint, and an engine rebuild. Mr. Goodman has since kept this car maintained and has driven it sparingly. 

Finished in the striking two-tone combination of black and yellow paint over a plush black leather interior, this elegant Rolls-Royce presents beautifully. The older restoration has developed a nice patina, with fine bodywork that has benefitted from decades in the arid Arizona climate. The black leather interior is complete with fine woodwork, plush seats, and picnic tables. Mechanically, the V12 engine runs smoothly and all systems function properly. This is a beautiful example of pre-war Rolls-Royce elegance, and comes with its original tool kit, along with books and manuals, and a comprehensive history file from the Rolls-Royce Foundation.

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