Lot Number

1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II All-Weather Tourer by Thrupp & Maberly

Sold For $357,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 13 - 15 AUGUST 2015

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  • Originally delivered to the Maharaja of Darbhanga
  • Beautiful, one-off coachwork installed in 1935 for the Maharaja
  • Featured in period in The Autocar and Modern Motoring
  • RROC National First in Class and concours award winner
  • A bespoke Phantom II of exquisite sportiness and grace

Body Style E.1061/A. 120 bhp, 7,688 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine with a single two-jet carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptical leaf-spring suspension, and four-wheel servo-assisted brakes. Wheelbase: 144 in.

Rameshwar Singh Bahadur succeeded his older brother as Maharaja of Darbhanga at his brother’s passing on July 3, 1929. Six days later, he placed an order for an appropriate automobile, this Rolls-Royce Phantom II, which was delivered on January 25, 1930, aboard the S.S. Mulberra to the port of Calcutta. The car was originally fitted with a tourer body by Hooper, accentuated with all of the bells and whistles; the original list of accoutrements to the body flows over three pages! It was originally registered in the UK as DS 8794.

In 1935, the Maharaja elected to update the appearance of his Rolls, having acquired a Thrupp & Maberly-bodied car and admiring the London coachbuilder’s work. They were commissioned to build a new body for the five-year-old Phantom II, one that still had striking modern lines but kept some of the features that the Maharaja liked in the previous body, such as the 280-millimeter Grebel headlights and cowl-mounted searchlights, both ideal for the dark India nights. With a swept polished cowl molding, elegantly rounded skirted fenders, and a windshield and roofline lower than standard, the car had a uniquely sporting appearance for a four-door tourer and appeared fully up to date. It is the only known Phantom II to have been built to this one-off design, number E.1061/A.

The completed car attracted much attention from British trade publications. The January 17, 1936, issue of The Autocar featured photographs of it with the top up and down, and it also appeared in the February 1936 issue of Modern Motoring, noting it as “a striking new body.” A period photo of the Phantom II as completed also appears in Lawrence Dalton’s noted book Coachwork on Rolls-Royce (p. 209).

According to ownership history kept with the car, the Rolls-Royce remained with the Maharaja until 1967, a remarkable period of 38 years. It then passed through a succession of British owners before its acquisition in 1976 by James Leake, the famous American Rolls-Royce collector, who maintained it in his personal collection for over a decade. At the sale of Mr. Leake’s collection in 1987, this car returned to England, later making its way into the ownership of Gert Kaiser, of Germany, from whom the present owner acquired it in 1997.

In its present ownership, the car underwent a complete mechanical rebuild by noted specialists on both the East Coast and in the United Kingdom, including such famous shops as Frank Cooke’s Vintage Garage. It had its engine rebuilt to as-new, including the installation of a new cylinder head, pistons, bearings, and seals, and it was completely rewired by Sports Classics, of Brookfield, Massachusetts. Rebuilding of the lamp fixtures and further electrical work was performed by noted specialists in England, while routine maintenance of the car since has been performed by Seibert Rolls-Royce, of Rochester, New York.

As an enthusiastic owner, the consignor has participated with his Rolls in numerous Rolls-Royce Owners' Club tours in the United States and Canada, appearing in several issues of The Flying Lady, including numbers 98-5 (page 5611), 2003-1 (page 6850), 2003-5 (page 7077), 2005-6 (page 7928), and 2008-6 (page 9091). It has also been very successful on the show field, gathering no fewer than four Rolls-Royce Owners' Club National awards, followed by Best in Class at the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance in 2009.

It is, by no stretch of the imagination, a Rolls-Royce fit for royalty.

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