As Rolls-Royce nears the debut of the next-generation Phantom, the company is looking back on some of the famous owners of its ultra-luxury models. After previously highlighting Fred Astaire’s 1927 Phantom I, the automaker now shines the spotlight on British Field Marshal Bernard “Monty” Montgomery and his 1936 Phantom III. The cars will be alongside the new Phantom at its debut on July 27 at an event in Mayfair, London.
During World War Two, Field Marshal Montgomery had three Rolls-Royce Phantom III at his disposal. The one going at display at the eighth-generation Phantom launch was his favorite of the trio. Alan Samuel Butler, the Chairman of the De Havilland Aircraft Company, originally ordered the opulent sedan. He specified it from coachmaker HJ Mulliner with an odd front-sloping windshield that made the vehicle 15 percent more aerodynamic. It also featured an enclosed spare tire and sculpted tail. Field Marshal Montgomery kept the car until 1962.
A Rolls-Royce specialist recently restored the car, so it should look beautiful next to other examples of the model’s long history. The sedan will also be on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance later this summer.
Rolls-Royce hasn’t been able to hide development of the new Phantom from spy photographers, including a long-wheelbase variant. Aesthetically, the eighth generation doesn’t look much different from the current one. However, there’s a new platform because the Rolls moves to BMW’s CLAR platform, which is also under the latest 7 Series. The chassis should mean significant weight savings. An evolution of the existing V12 should be under the hood, too. Inside, there's a digital screen for the instrument cluster rather than analog gauges.
Gallery: Field Marshal Montgomery 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III
‘THE GREAT EIGHT PHANTOMS’ A ROLLS-ROYCE EXHIBITION ROLLS-ROYCE ANNOUNCES ‘FIELD MARSHAL MONTGOMERY’S PHANTOM III’ AS THE SECOND GREAT PHANTOM TO JOIN THE EXHIBITION
15.06.2017 Press Release
At the end of July, ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’, a Rolls-Royce Exhibition, will gather together the greatest Phantoms from the last 92 years in Mayfair, London. The Exhibition will also welcome the next generation of this most celebrated luxury item, the new eighth generation Phantom.
At the end of July, ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’, a Rolls-Royce Exhibition, will gather together the greatest Phantoms from the last 92 years in Mayfair, London. The Exhibition will also welcome the next generation of this most celebrated luxury item, the new eighth generation Phantom. In the lead up to the opening of the Exhibition, Rolls-Royce is announcing which Great Phantoms will journey to London from around the world, telling the stories of these motor cars, their fabled owners and the historical events they witnessed. It is with great pleasure that the marque announces today that the Rolls-Royce Phantom III of British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein will join the Exhibition.
Although Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein was nicknamed the Spartan General due to his ascetic lifestyle, there was one area in which he demanded the very best – his personal transport. And his preference was for Rolls-Royce.
During World War Two, the Field Marshal had the use of three Rolls-Royce Phantom IIIs.
The first of the Phantoms, a 1936 model coachbuilt by Freestone & Webb, was owned by the head of English Talbot Motor Company, Frederick Wilcock, before being requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport Section. Montgomery used it as his personal transport in the run up to D-Day, and ferried Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower and King George VI to D-Day planning sessions at his base in Southwick House, Hampshire.
A keen believer in the power of the image, Montgomery used his Rolls-Royce Phantom to communicate permanence, solidity and reliability – a signal to his men that he was there to stay.
But it is the ‘Butler’ Phantom III, which will be present at the Exhibition in London, which proved to be Montgomery’s favourite. This particular Phantom was commissioned for Alan Samuel Butler, Chairman of the De Havilland Aircraft Company, with bodywork by HJ Mulliner of Chiswick. Its most striking feature was a front-sloping windscreen that made the car 15 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than the standard configuration. The motor car’s slippery nature was also helped by the enclosed spare tyre and swept tail.
The ‘Butler’ Phantom III was Montgomery’s main official mode of transport for many years visiting such eminent addresses as 10 Downing Street, the War Office on Whitehall, the British Prime Minister’s country residence Chequers, and military operations centres such as Northwood in Hertfordshire and the NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers-Europe in Rocquencourt, near Versailles, France.
The Field Marshal kept the 'Butler' Phantom until 1962, by which time it had also carried the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as taking Monty around the UK to historic meetings, inspections and celebrations.
The ‘Butler’ Phantom III has recently undergone extensive refurbishment at Rolls-Royce specialist P&A Wood in Essex, England.
‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ Exhibition will be the first and only opportunity for members of the public to see this amazing Rolls-Royce before it attends the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the United States in August, after which it will return to its current owner’s private collection.
‘The Great Eight Phantoms’, a Rolls-Royce Exhibition, will take place in Mayfair, London, at the end of July this year.