The Rolls-Royce Phantom II was the last of the great six cylinder automobiles whose entire development had been managed by F. Henry Royce himself. The company's West Wittering design team put the design to paper per Royce's specifications. The Rolls-Royce Phantom II was the third and last of the Rolls Royce 40/50 hp models and it received high acclaim. The automobile was known to ride smoothly, accelerate fast and be comfortable to drive.
A Radical Design for the Phantom II
There were reasons for the unveiling of the Phantom II just four years after the Phantom I. The main reason was increased competition from other manufacturers like Buick and Sunbeam. Royce was well aware that his current chassis was out of date. The gearbox, springs and frame had not been seriously modified since 1912. It was also said that the people at Buick were so impressed with the Rolls Royce Phantom I that they simply copied it.
The radical design changes for this automobile, compared to the Phantom I it replaced, took the Rolls Royce company into the new decade. When the Phantom II was launched in 1929 it impressed and exceeded in every area of design excellence and fine manufacturing technique even that of the the legendary Silver Ghost. Many have said that the Phantom II is the best automobile Rolls Royce ever built.
For one thing, the engine and gearbox were in unit construction. The rear springs were now underslung, replacing the previously used cantilever suspension allowing to mount most elegant bodies of lower overall appearance. The front axle for instance had been designed to provide the best stability in braking at speed.
As a more sporty version to be fitted with particularly light coachwork the Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental showed itself to be quite different from the base model. The shorter Continental model had a 144.0 inch wheelbase. The Phantom II Continental had a lower steering column and special springs. This was the luxury automobile for high end buyers who wished to drive themselves rather than employing a chauffeur.
The Phantom II featured a much improved and impressive front and rear suspension as compared to the Phantom I it replaced. Production lasted over five years with 1402 Phantom II's produced.
Choose Your Own Coach Builder
The Phantom II's were built by the Rolls Royce factory in Derby England as rolling chassis. The owner would then have the coach work done by a coachbuilder of his own choice. There were several to choose from. Park Ward, Brewster and Company and Thrupp and Maberly were just a few who did much work with the Phantom II's. Brewster and Company did most of the work on Phantom II's headed for the U.S. with left hand drive.
1935 Rolls Royce Phantom II Specifications
The engine for the 1935 Rolls Royce Phantom II was a redesigned 7.7 liter six cylinder inline producing 120 horsepower. Top speed was claimed to be 92 MPH. The Phantom III model followed in 1936 with it's impressive twelve cylinder engine.
Transmission was a four speed manual. Synchromesh was added on gears 3 and 4 in 1932 and on gear 2 in 1935.
The car's wheelbase was 150.0 inches (The Phantom II Continental model was given a 144.0 inch wheelbase). It's overall length was 220.0 inches and it's width was 60.0 inches. Curb weight was in the range of 6,000 lbs.
Brakes were four wheel drums.
Front and rear suspension for the Phantom II was beam-axle and the rear had semi-elliptic leaf springs.
Total Phantom II production from 1930 through 1935 were 1,402 vehicles. In addition to this there were 278 Phantom II Continental's built.
An interesting side note is that the first Phantom II produced was put through a 10,000 mile road test. The road test put the vehicle under many different types of terrain and various speeds.
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An excellent Kindle book on the Rolls Royce Phantom automobiles is The Rolls-Royce Phantom II and Phantom III (Complete Classics) by authors Steve Stuckey and Nick Whitaker.
A Rare Collector Automobile
With well under 2,000 vehicles produced over it's entire model run, the Rolls Royce Phanton II automobiles are rare collector cars. Models from specific coach builders of the era are even more rare.
Vintage Rolls Royce automobiles are coveted for their good looks, solid engineering and reliability. Along with that is the legendary Rolls Royce prestige. Some would say that the Rolls Royce brand is the most famous of all time. Rolls Royce automobiles were known to have transported royals to and from functions. What goes with this of course is a very expensive price tag that takes a good deal of wealth to add one to a collection.
Whenever an auction occurs involving either a Phantom I or Phantom II you can expect a high price. A 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom I went on the market for just under $200,000. A original and finely restored 1931 Phantom II was listed at $217,000. A 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental sold for over $500,000.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)