Lot 103

British Classics Online

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Riviera Town Car by J.S. Inskip


€41,400 EUR | Sold

Netherlands | Netherlands



Chassis No.
Engine No.
Bill of Sale Only
  • One of the rarest body designs produced on a Rolls-Royce chassis
  • A characterful, late example of a Springfield-built Phantom
  • Adorned with special coachwork by Inskip in 1937
  • Fitted with its matching-numbers engine
  • An exciting project that requires recommissioning
Please note all lots are being sold on behalf of a court appointed bailiff. They are being sold ‘as is, where is’, with no warranties as to their mechanical condition, and all sales are full and final. Please also note buyer’s premium for this auction is 18.15% (this is a VAT inclusive figure).

The “New Phantom” was a direct successor to Rolls-Royce’s legendary Silver Ghost in the 40/50hp series, and though the benchmark set by the Ghost was high, the New Phantom surpassed it in almost every regard. Eventually known as the Phantom I, the most significant improvement over the Ghost was the introduction of a smooth and powerful six-cylinder 7,668 cubic-centimetre engine utilising overhead-valve technology.

By 1921 interest from the burgeoning North American market had led to a three-year backlog in orders, sufficient for the firm to open a new manufacturing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts. Initially producing Silver Ghosts, the factory moved to Phantom I production in 1926. Most examples were bodied by American coachbuilders such as Brewster & Co, which was acquired by Rolls-Royce of America in 1926.

This Phantom I left the Springfield works on 24 October 1931 wearing a St. Alban Town Car body by Brewster. The first owner was Mrs. Mary Ruth Bogart Dunn, the daughter of a coal baron who lived in the prestigious San Remo apartment building in New York City—delivered two weeks after her wedding, this Phantom I may have been a wedding gift or dowry. At the time, it was relatively common for cars to be rebodied to keep pace with fashion, and in 1937 the decision was taken to have the car transformed into a desirable Riviera Town Car—a style devised by Brewster and applied to just 10 Phantom I chassis. However, following the company’s liquidation in 1937, J.S. Inskip took up the lease at the former firm’s Long Island City coachworks, and it was his eponymous concern that bodied this exceptionally rare Riviera Town Car, arguably in a less dramatic style than its older Brewster cousins. Along with typical Inskip features such as the beautifully sculpted door handles, the car was also fitted with basketwork on the passenger compartment to complete its luxurious appearance.

By October 1952, this Phantom I was in the ownership of Clarke Mecum of the Bronx, New York City before passing into the ownership of E.O. Nance of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Nance owned the car from at least 1955 until 1964 when it was bought by another Ohio resident, B.E. Stewart. Stewart clearly cherished this Rolls-Royce, showing it regularly and keeping the car until 1981. The next owner was noted as Dr. U. Dangel of Stuttgart, Germany.

This extremely rare Riviera Town Car will require recommissioning after an unknown number of years on static display. An important Rolls-Royce, it is worthy of an eventual return to a concours lawn or a place in any major collection.