Lot 253

Hershey 2023

1926 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster in the style of Merrimac


$308,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
Engine No.
US Title
  • Well-documented ownership history since 1957; single ownership from 1986 until 2017
  • Wears an excellent Piccadilly replica body hand-built by Doug Chalmers and Bill Gathings; retains numbers-matching engine
  • Fantastically restored between 2009 and 2016 by marque experts Fred Buess and Robin Onsoien
  • Exhibited at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
  • Tastefully upgraded for touring performance with Gearvendors overdrive module and lightweight forged pistons

Many of the American Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts produced in Springfield, Massachusetts featured closed coachwork that was heavy and formal, albeit beautifully constructed and finely detailed. Lightweight sporting bodies for the Silver Ghost were rare indeed, but they did exist, most prominently the Piccadilly Roadster style provided by local coachbuilder Merrimac.

Just 105 examples of the Piccadilly were produced for Springfield Silver Ghosts, and it was a much sought-after choice for both new and used chassis; mounting an attractive roadster body proved a clever way to get a low-mileage chassis to a new owner. Unique among its contemporaries, the fascinating and well documented Silver Ghost offered here received its Picadilly Roadster replacement body much later in life.

Chassis S272PL is among the last Silver Ghost examples completed at Springfield. It was fitted new with Willoughby’s Tillbury Sedan coachwork for delivery on 13 August 1926 to hotelier William J. Upson of Bethel, Maine.

At some point following Upson’s death in 1936, the car was acquired by a Connecticut resident who removed the rear half of its Tillbury body and converted it to a pickup-type configuration. It was in this state that the noted Springfield Rolls-Royce enthusiast Fred Kelly discovered and acquired S272PL during the winter of 1957. Shortly thereafter, Kelly sold the car to Silver Ghost guru Paul Rizzo, who mated an attractive Packard Roadster body to its chassis.

By 1969, S272PL had arrived within the Denver, Colorado-based stables of noted collector Arthur Rippey and his Veteran Car Museum. Two years later, the car is believed to have passed to Robert Kelce of Englewood, Colorado, and in 1986 this Silver Ghost was purchased by Norm Buckhart of Sonoma, California, who treasured it for the next three decades.

In 2009, S272PL was submitted to marque expert Fred Buess for a fantastic, multi-year, concours-grade restoration that would see Buckhart’s chassis fitted with an excellent Piccadilly replica body handmade by Doug Chalmers and Bill Gathings using period-correct methods. At this time, the car was also tastefully upgraded for continued touring use with a Gearvendors overdrive module, as well as a set of new lightweight forged pistons. Importantly, Rolls-Royce documentation on file confirms that S272PL retains its numbers-matching engine, which was previously rebuilt by Eric Rosenow during Buckhart’s tenure.

Fellow Springfield Rolls-Royce expert Robin Onsoien finished S272LP’s restoration in early 2016, and the incredible quality and exhaustive detailing lavished upon S272PL were immediately substantiated by the car’s invitation for display at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

A lovely Springfield Silver Ghost of excellent quality and rich, characterful provenance, this stunning Piccadilly Roadster would be a brilliant addition to any Rolls-Royce collection.