Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Three-Position Drophead Coupe
By 1925, the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost nearly reached the limits of its development, so the chassis was upgraded with a new engine and dubbed the “New Phantom.” Its six-cylinder, overhead valve engine was similar in many ways to that of Rolls-Royce’s other current model, the Twenty, but its massive 7,668 cc displacement was more than twice that of the little Twenty. The Phantom was developed in great secrecy and codenamed EAC which stood for “Eastern Armoured Car.” Ernest Hives, who was in charge of development, even left pieces of armor plating around the factory, lending credence to the cover story.
The Twenty and the New Phantom were both replaced in 1929, with the Twenty developed into the 25/30, while the Phantom was developed into the Phantom II. The Phantom II chassis was still rated 40/50 horsepower, but it was lower and its suspension utilized front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs. Stylistically, Royce was influenced by the lines of the contemporary Riley Nine, especially the manner in which the rear passengers’ feet were tucked comfortably under the front seats in foot wells, enabling a variety of attractively close-coupled coachwork to be fitted. So inspired, Royce decided to build a special car for his own use, which was to become his final design masterpiece.
Royce decided on a lightweight sporting body, which Ivan Evernden designed and Barkers originally built. This car became the forerunner of the legendary Phantom II Continental. Based on a relatively short 144-inch wheelbase, the Phantom II Continental had stiffer five-leaf springs and a 12/41 axle replacing the standard 11/41 unit, which combined with a higher compression ratio, allowed greater cruising speeds. The Phantom II Continental also featured a lower floor, a low-rake steering column and Hartford remote-control shock absorbers that were later replaced by a set of Rolls-Royce remotely controlled hydraulic dampers.
The Continental offered higher levels of performance and more sporting driving dynamics and was best suited for the enthusiast-owner who would likely drive themselves, rather than being chauffeured. The car was intended for use on “the Continent,” where higher speeds, greater distances and mountainous terrain were the norm. Capable of reaching 100 mph, the Continental was a true long-distance, grand touring machine, just as its name implied.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
130 bhp, 7,668 cc overhead valve inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th gears, solid front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 144"
Source: RM Auctions