- One of six similar examples, each unique; special Henley Roadster-style design features
- Well-known, fascinating history since new; original chassis, engine, and body
- 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Best in Class winner
- Superb and authentic restoration by marque specialists
- Documented ownership history from new
- Eligible and desirable for any major international concours d’elegance
120 bhp, 7,668 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptical leaf springs with live rear axle, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes with power assist. Wheelbase: 150 in.
Rolls-Royce of America records note that Phantom II chassis number 289AJS was initially specified as a Croydon Convertible Coupe, but that the order was subsequently changed to the Special Newmarket Permanent Sedan eventually delivered. None of the six examples of this spectacular design were exactly the same, with each being truly “special;” this car was one of three with the Henley Roadster-style side molding, raked split windshield, and gracefully sloping tail, and is the only example with extended front fenders that cover the side-mount cradles and undercarriage. It all comes together as probably the best-looking closed body mounted to a U.S.-delivery Phantom II, and one of the sportiest sedans of the Classic Era.
As researched by marque historian Rubén Verdés, the car was delivered on 14 March 1933, to E.L. King, a prominent Minnesota banker and chairman of Watkins Products (the famous manufacturer of health remedies and baking products). Mr. King was something of an automobile connoisseur, in particular of Rolls-Royces, who bought numerous examples over the years. Nineteen thirty-three was an especially good year for him, perhaps, as he acquired this car, a second similar sport sedan (number 295AJS), and a Henley Roadster (number 291AJS) all within a few months of one another! The Special Newmarket Permanent Sedan was apparently intended for his daughter, Mary Eleanor Boalt, of Daytona Beach. Ms. Boalt subsequently married Alfred Thomas Gardner in 1936, and later Rolls-Royce records show chassis number 289AJS as the “ex-Mrs. Gardiner [sic] car.”
The Phantom II passed in 1939 to second owner Dorothy Tuckerman, daughter of vaudeville house magnate Maurice Shea, who apparently received it as a college graduation gift, continuing the car’s tradition of generous parental benefactions. Mrs. Tuckerman was followed in 1941 by James N. Lambert of Grand Isle, Vermont; in 1948 by Arthur D. Osborne; and in 1955 by Andrew Darling of Minneapolis.
Andrew Darling was a prominent Twin Cities banker, car dealer, and philanthropist, known for his good-hearted nature and for his love of antique automobiles. Over the years he built a remarkable stable of the finest Full Classics, all beautifully restored and equally well-maintained, and all of them regularly driven. (He famously kept a car for every month of the year and would drive that particular car all month as his everyday car, usually with his big black standard poodle riding shotgun). Chassis number 289AJS was restored early in his ownership and was shown twice in 1962, at the RROC meet in Dearborn, winning 2nd in Class, and at the Classic Car Club of America Grand Classic in Dearborn, winning 1st in Class.
Following Mr. Darling’s passing, his beloved Phantom II was sold after 40 years of ownership to renowned California collector, John Mozart. Following four years in the Mozart collection, the car was purchased by the noted British dealer, Charles Howard, before returning to the United States in the hands of Mark J. Smith. Orin Smith (no relation) purchased the car in 2010, ending a known chain of owners back to “day one.”
With the original restoration now 50 years old, it was considered time for a fresh restoration to the highest modern concours standards. This was painstakingly completed by noted marque specialists, Vantage Motorworks of Miami, to an absolutely exceptional standard of fit and finish throughout. The restoration made its debut at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was justly awarded Best in Class.
Today the car presents in virtually show-ready condition, including deep, glossy black paint accented by polished reveals, a beautiful black leather top covering, and an immaculate interior, trimmed as-original with a divided brown leather front seat and pleated broadcloth rear compartment. Every nut and bolt is beautifully fitted, with exquisite interior wood trim, perfect instruments, and correct C.M. Hall headlights and side lamps, an accessory trumpet horn and marquee-shaped license plate lamp, plus an original “Trilin” tail lamp. The wheel discs are batched NilMelior, from a company that sold exotic auto accessories from the Waldorf Astoria during the 1930s.
A spectacular automobile ready for continued showing with pride, this car truly is “special,” in every sense of the word. Long beloved by known enthusiasts, most prominently the late and much-adored Andrew Darling, and boasting the most pristine and unblemished of histories, with its original engine, chassis, and body, it is, in Diane Brandon’s words, “probably one of the most perfect, correct, beautiful, and desirable cars in the entire collection. It has it all.”