Classic Van Auction Talk

Sunday 23 June 2019

1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Drophead Coupe - BONHAMS AUCTIONS Chantilly Sale Sunday 30th June 2019 Chantilly, Chateau de Chantilly FRANCE


Chantilly Sale
Sunday 30th June 2019

1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Drophead Coupe 

Coachwork by the style of Vanvooren

Chassis no. 3AZ72
• Spectacular body constructed to the exact dimensions of a Vanvooren DHC 

• Attractive colour scheme period-style 

• Present ownership since 2004 
• Engine fully rebuilt 
• Well documented history


  • 'The most captious criticism is obliged to admit that a Phantom III provides all that can be desired for a large luxury motor car. The comfort, silence and road-holding with really impressive acceleration and maximum speed made a combination of virtues which few cars of the time could equal. - Anthony Bird, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, 1964.

    Perhaps the most outstanding luxury of the 1930s - certainly on this side of the Channel - was the Rolls-Royce Phantom III. Introduced in 1936, the 7,340cc V12-engined Phantom III succeeded the Phantom II, the six-cylinder engine of which was considered to be the end of its development life. The choice of a V12 was a logical one for Rolls-Royce, the company already having had considerable experience of manufacturing V12 aero engines such as that used in the record-breaking Supermarine S6B seaplane. No doubt another consideration was the need to match the multi-cylinder opposition, notably the V16 Cadillac and V12 Hispano-Suiza.

    A state-of-the-art design employing advanced materials and techniques such as 'skeleton' cylinder blocks with wet liners and aluminium alloy cylinder heads, the PIII V12 produced 165bhp in its early form. The engine output aside, the Phantom III is an important milestone in the history of Rolls-Royce cars, being the first with independent front suspension. Including 10 experimental cars, only 727 Phantom IIIs were made between 1936 and 1940, of which around 300 exist worldwide today.

    Lawrence Dalton's definitive work, Rolls-Royce, The Derby Phantoms, records that '3AZ72' was originally bodied as a saloon-with-division by Windovers. The car's first owner was Alfred Sainsbury of Cadogan Square, London SW1, who was followed by CS Pollock of Crowborough, Sussex in 1947. The Phantom was known to remain in the UK until at least 1960. Many years later the car part of the famous Max Lips Collection in Holland. The present owner bought the car at Bonhams' Rockingham Castle Sale in June 2004 (Lot 509) at which time it still had the Windovers saloon body.

    A new Vanvooren-style drophead cut body was fitted, having been constructed to the exact measurements of an original Phantom III Vanvooren DHC. At the same time, the chair has been made to be ergonomic, multi-adjustable design. Executed in two-tone light / mid-blue, the attractive color scheme was inspired by those popular in the 1930s and later applied by Vanvooren. The engine was completely dismantled and rebuilt, and the chassis was restored to 'as new' condition. 

    A beautiful 'Art Deco' masterpiece, this unique Phantom III comes complete with an extensive history file containing manual manuals, handbooks, technical literature, restoration photographs, Netherlands registration papers, and records of owner owners.


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