The Guyton Collection | Lot 378
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Fixed Cabriolet de Ville by Thrupp & Maberly
$168,000 USD | Sold
| St. Louis, Missouri
4 May 2019
- Originally delivered to the famed “Bentley Boy” Sir Ronald Gunter
- An unusually sporting and attractive formal Phantom II Continental
- Documented with copies of its factory build information
- Featured in Andre Blaize’s The Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
The Phantom II Continental was designed as an “owner/driver” car, and not unsurprisingly, the majority of these performance-oriented Rolls-Royces were coupes, cabriolets, and close-coupled saloons of a sporting mien. Very occasionally, however, a formal body would be mounted, and few efforts were more successful than Thrupp & Maberly’s Fixed Cabriolet de Ville on chassis 4JS. It was built to the order of Sir Ronald Gunter, 3rd Baronet, one of the famed “Bentley Boys” who had kept that company financially afloat a decade earlier, and who raced at Le Mans in 1935. Not strictly faithful to Bentley, this was one of two Phantom II Continentals that Sir Ronald ordered.
Thrupp & Maberly created a chauffeur-driven sedanca de ville or town car that actually looked quite rakish, with a hoodline with hidden hinges, an extended scuttle line, extremely low roofline, and very close-coupled bodywork, including a small rear compartment sized for only two passengers. Long, curving “helmet” fenders, with a crease at their crest and subtle skirting ending at the running board, accentuated the design. In an era when even the most dramatic formal bodies were usually black or at least a very dark shade, this car was finished entirely in white – guaranteeing to draw notice! Delivery photographs confirm the original presence of dual rear-mounted spare and indicate that the headlamps may have first been Marchal units or similar.
This body was mounted on a chassis which, specified its buyer, should be “as that exhibited at the Olympia Show 1931” – which actually took place after the car was ordered. As historian Andre Blaize noted, “Sir Ronald was certainly anxious to have a chassis which included the latest improvements.”
Subsequent owners of the Gunter Continental included T.C. Coombs of England in 1958, after which the car moved to the U.S. in 1959, with owner Joseph Berlin; it was restored and remained in the Berlin family for over four decades, achieving a CCCA First Prize along the way. It was then acquired by Robert Penenburgh and restored to a modern concours standard in its present appearance, an elegant and rich black and silver livery, by the respected John Sanders of Rockford, Illinois. The simple original woodwork of the interior was retained, though black leather upholstery was fitted, while the Lucas P100 headlamps mounted since at least the early 1950s remain.
Fred Guyton, a lifelong Rolls-Royce admirer, acquired the Continental in 2009, and it has remained a favorite in the collection ever since for its dramatic and rakish appearance. Inspection shows that the Sanders restoration is well-preserved, and after mechanical recommissioning the car could still be shown with considerable pride.
Every significant Rolls-Royce collection demands a Phantom II Continental, and this example boasts a particularly fabulous history, including one of the most famous British sportsmen of his day, Sir Ronald Gunter, “The Bentley Boy.”