- Believed to be one of 11 PV23 examples built with left-hand drive
- Reported longtime ownership by the legendary comedian Red Skelton
- Originally purchased by famed 1960s Florida professional sports owner Bill MacDonald
- Factory-equipped with numerous luxurious amenities, including air conditioning and rear mini-bar
- Benefits from well-maintained late 1990s cosmetic restoration by a marque specialist
- Documented with factory build records and accompanied by a feature profile of the original owner in Sports Illustrated magazine
Introduced in 1959 as Rolls-Royce’s flagship model, the Phantom V quickly became the preferred transportation of royals and jet-set celebrities worldwide. Approximately 217 of the 839 examples produced through 1968 were bodied by coachbuilder James Young in a variety of styles, including the PV23 touring limousine.
Believed to be one of just 11 PV23 examples equipped with left-hand drive, this Phantom V claims important ownership provenance while benefitting from a well-preserved older restoration. According to factory records on file, chassis number 5LVF49 was dispatched to James Young for touring limousine coachwork in May 1966. It was specified for the United States with instruments in miles and fitted with Dunlop whitewall tires, P100 headlamps, electric windows all around, a Hirschman electric antenna, pencil-beam rear interior lamps, a rear center armrest containing a mirror, notebook, and pencil, and a refrigerated mini-bar with decanters and glasses. Finished in “black number 1” paint and upholstered with beige leather in the driver’s compartment and beige cloth in the rear cabin, the Phantom V was dispatched for shipping in September 1966.
The Rolls-Royce was ordered new by the American marque distributorship in New York on behalf of William “Bill” MacDonald of Miami Beach, Florida. A fascinating figure in the professional sports scene of his era, Mr. MacDonald was a wealthy businessman and philanthropist who at various points owned three minor league baseball teams and several race-winning thoroughbred horses, though he may be best remembered as the promoter of the first Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston fight (in which Muhammed Ali first claimed the heavyweight championship belt). He was additionally acquainted with a who’s-who of A-list cultural figures, from John F. Kennedy and Jayne Mansfield to King Hussein.
After a few years in Mr. MacDonald’s possession, the Rolls-Royce briefly passed to H. Fisher of Miami before being acquired during the early 1970s by the legendary Red Skelton. A comedian and entertainer whose impressive career stretched for 70 years, Skelton is best known for his wildly popular television show of the 1960s, and he owned several Rolls-Royces during his lifetime.
The Phantom V reportedly was owned by Skelton for 26 years before being acquired in May 1996 by Richard Gorman, the proprietor of marque specialist Vantage Motorworks, who conducted a cosmetic restoration that has been capably maintained ever since. Purchased from Vantage by the consignor by 2002, this wonderful Rolls-Royce touring limousine is ideal for motoring enjoyment or display at events, and would make a noteworthy addition to any collection of luxury automobiles.