Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Merrimac Body Company
From The Robert Merrifield Collection
The Springfield Phantom I
Few Rolls-Royce model series were as handsome as the American-built Springfield cars, especially the grand Phantom Is. Four-wheel brakes, centered three-speed transmission, and a redesigned, more powerful engine were great innovations to the previous model – the venerable Silver Ghost. Maintenance was simpler, too, thanks to the Bijur “one-shot” system that eliminated hands-on chassis lubrication. The new model inspired coachbuilders to create regal and imposing bodies, appealing to those who sought a car befitting their station in life.
Delivered new on April 11, 1928, to C.C. Walker of Manchester, Massachusetts, S103RP first wore a more formal enclosed body, a Brewster “Lonsdale.” When the Phantom I was acquired in the 1950s by noted Rolls-Royce restorer Ned Hermann, the Lonsdale body showed evidence of prior damage. Accordingly, Mr. Hermann fitted S103RP with a more sporting open body, the five-passenger touring “Pall Mall,” body no. M1861, which was originally fitted to Phantom I chassis S161PM. Archival references to S103RP and its Pall Mall coachwork have been well documented in the most reputable publication on Springfield Rolls-Royce cars, John Webb de Campi’s Rolls-Royce in America.
During Mr. Hermann’s ownership, he completed a mechanical restoration on the car and maintained the open tourer in his collection, using it infrequently, until April 1979. At that time S103RP was acquired by Ohio collector John McAnlis. During his ownership, Mr. McAnlis disassembled the Phantom I and completed a thorough cosmetic restoration to bring the balance of the car up to the same standards as the mechanicals. Choosing a striking silver and maroon paint scheme and matching vat-dyed crimson leather, the restoration was completed in 1987. The Pall Mall was submitted for concours competition and was shown at Hershey, earning a Senior AACA Award, then a First in Class prize at the Western Reserve Historical Society.
Mr. McAnlis then sought to have the car judged at an official CCCA meet and documents accompanying the Rolls-Royce include a CCCA letter dated September 11, 1990, signed by highly respected Classifications Committee Executive and former CCCA President Katie Robbins approving both body and chassis as original, of the Classic Era, and was accepted as a Full Classic by the CCCA.
In the late 1990s, S103RP was acquired by Bob Merrifield, and it has since been looked after by his collection staff. A centerpiece of his impressive collection and presenting in much the same condition today as when it was first restored, this striking 1928 Rolls-Royce Pall Mall stands ready to serve its next caretaker in grand style.