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Coachwork by Hibbard & Darrin
The striking body of this Rolls-Royce was crafted by coachbuilder Hibbard & Darrin of Paris. Founded in 1926 by Americans Thomas L. Hibbard, a co-founder of LeBaron coachbuilders, and designer Howard “Dutch” Darrin, the duo designed and built cars through 1931. Hibbard & Darrin bodied a total of 31 Phantom I chassis; without question, their elegant continental designs were among the most handsome of their time.
Chassis no. S297FP was built in the Rolls- Royce Springfield, Massachusetts, factory and sent to Paris for fitment of its unique one-off coachwork, described by John Webb deCampi as a “Special Roadster.” This left-hand drive Phantom was initially delivered on June 21, 1930, to Porter B. Chase of West Hartford, Connecticut, a 1918 graduate of Yale University. There is some conjecture that Mr. Chase was affiliated to the banking family of the same name. A series of owners followed, including well-known aficionado Charles LeMaitre. RROC sourced records document ownership through 1991.
Unlike many Rolls-Royce of the era, which were sent back to coachbuilders to be re-bodied with what was then considered most fashionable, this Phantom I retains its original Hibbard & Darrin body, no. HD203. According to its current owner, the most recent restoration was completed to a high standard more than 30 years ago. It has also just been fitted with new blackwall tires and a black convertible top which contrasts beautifully with the red and burgundy coachwork. Perhaps most impressive are the well-maintained brass-rimmed gauges inset within the burl walnut dash along with inlaid veneers extending to both doors. A lovely burgundy leather interior and rumble seat complete the seating appointments. The telltale split windscreen immediately identifies the car as a Hibbard & Darrin design. Dual sidemount spares, chrome-plated wire wheels, accessory trunk, and period-correct tubular bumpers are both functional and visually appealing.
The consignor reports that it is “a great driving car ideal for touring.” Ideal for Rolls- Royce Owner’s Club driving events or CCCA CARavans, this exquisite Hibbard & Darrin bodied Phantom will be admired wherever it might appear. With known provenance and distinctive coachwork, this is a spectacular automobile not to be missed.