- Among the most elegant formal Springfield Phantom I’s, with the “Croydon cowl”
- One of 10 built and three known extant; the only example with a landaulet top
- Believed to have been delivered new with gold-plated hardware throughout
- Formerly of the Bob Pond Collection
- Documented with Rolls-Royce Foundation sales and ownership records
The Marlborough Town Car was an unusually elegant example of Brewster’s coachwork on the Springfield-built Rolls-Royce Phantom I chassis. Its crisp, dashing lines included front doors that rakishly flowed into the cowl, a predecessor of what would become known as the “Croydon cowl” on certain Phantom IIs, and a relatively low roofline with blind rear quarters. Only 10 examples of the design were built, of which this car, chassis no. S449MR, is believed to have been the only one delivered with a folding landaulet top over the rear compartment.
The build order for the car notes that it was specified in Black and Carmine Lake, as it is finished today. Interestingly, the same document records under Custom Features “paint all lamps, radiator, windshield, mirrorscope, top irons, at my convenience.” It is believed that these items were delivered, as finished today, in gold plate—creating a truly spectacular counterpoint to the dark hues of the Marlborough body. The sum of $21,750 was paid by original owner, John Barry Ryan, son of the great New York industrialist and art collector Thomas Fortune Ryan and himself a successful financier.
A continuous chain of further owners from the early 1950s until the mid-1970s is recorded by the Rolls-Royce Foundation. Flamboyant coal magnate Claude Canada reportedly purchased the car for his collection in 1975. Later it passed to Robert Pond, in whose famed California stable it remained for many years. It has made several memorable “cameo appearances” over the last four decades, including carrying Gloria Swanson in a 1974 television special, Paramount Presents, and center stage in a dance number to “Puttin’ On the Ritz” during the 1984 Miss USA pageant.
Bearing a well-preserved older restoration and well-known, fascinating history, this very special Rolls-Royce is still every bit the dramatic showstopper that it was back in 1931!