Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville
With the launching of the Phantom V, Rolls-Royce was offering a vehicle of the highest class but not reserved solely for dignitaries, royalty and heads of state. Here was a Rolls-Royce for those successful in business and finance that were looking for an exceptional car providing convenience, incredible comfort and plenty of room. Although the royal court and dignitaries placed the first orders, the bulk of inquiries originated in industry or from private individuals. In total, slightly over 500 examples were built between 1959 and 1967.
Rolls-Royce never constructed a limousine body for the Phantom V but only supplied its chassis to independent coachbuilders. As custom coachwork demand declined, there was an attrition, until in the mid-1950s when only four specialists remained. The most prominent to construct bodies for the Phantom V chassis were James Young, an independent firm, and H.J. Mulliner, which was owned by Rolls-Royce Motors. The Rolls-Royces of the ’50s and early ’60s were the only cars ever that spanned both the classic, hand-made coachbuilt era and the modern car era, with strong motors and power assistances.
Coachbuilder James Young Ltd. offered three versions of the Phantom V, a seven-passenger limousine, a touring limousine and a Sedanca de Ville. The James Young catalogue thusly described the Phantom V: “This luxuriously equipped limousine is designed to provide the maximum comfort, whether owner or chauffeur driven… The coachwork on this magnificent car is recognized as the finest to be found anywhere in the modern world. It is the culmination of a century of superb craftsmanship which began with the Bromley Brougham.”
The James Young bodies, with their special features like Razor-edge fender crowns, square push-button door handles and “bustle-trunk” rear styling, were the most popular and recognizable of all the Phantom V designs. And the interiors were so luxurious, with magnificent seating trimmed in thick English Connolly hides. They were said to be the only cars ever made whose seats were “furniture” and not simply car seats. Exotic veneers were used on almost 40 individual pieces of fitted wood trim. Beneath the division window was a gorgeous bar with cocktail requisites, picnic tables and jump seats as well as luxurious Wilton wool carpets and lambs wool overlays. A comparison is invited with limousine coachwork prior to and after the war. Neither Duesenberg, Mercedes-Benz, Hispano-Suiza nor even Rolls-Royce were ever fitted with such elaborate and time-consuming interior work as these 20 foot long gentle behemoths.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2011 at the Battersea Evolution, London.
6,230 cc V-8 engine, four-speed automatic gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs and anti-roll torsion bar, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 3,683 mm.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Dan Savinelli