Rolls-Royce Phantom II Imperial Cabriolet

One of only about 1,767 Phantom IIs produced, XJ 127 was ordered new by Robert T. Neely of New York, the immensely successful founder of the Nedick’s and Shanty Shops restaurants. No expense was spared on this early-production Phantom II, and it was shipped to Paris for Hibbard and Darrin coachwork. The original French chassis plate, Marchal headlamps and driving lamp, and copies of factory records confirm that XJ 127 was guaranteed by Rolls-Royce in France. Next, it was used by Mr. Neely to tour France and Europe before shipment to New York.

Mr. Neely retained XJ 127 until 1932, and it passed through four owners before entering the long-term ownership of Leonard D. Finelli of Columbus, Ohio in 1962. In 1999, it was acquired by Mr. Bill Howitt of Windsor, Ontario, who undertook a complete restoration. The engine was completely rebuilt and balanced by marque expert Brian Joseph, who also installed new wiring.

The opulent restored interior is appointed with a division window, intercom, gold-plated hardware, a faux mink floor cove and various accessories. Other features include Rose and Lily etchings depicting Mr. Neely’s family crest, a hidden gun case within the armrest at Mr. Neely’s side of the car, walnut trim, a Waltham eight-day clock, and a removable leather-padded forward roof panel. A number of the cabinets and ephemera are believed to have been later additions, perhaps during restoration.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

120 bhp, 7,668 cc inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs and power-assisted, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 150".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright ACME Photo

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