Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Brewster
John Ryan, New York, New York (acquired new in 1931)Frances Drake, New York, New York (acquired in 1946)Frederic Palmer, East Haddam, Connecticut (acquired in 1951)Leslie Stevenson, North Granby, Connecticut (acquired in 1964)Gerald Lettieri, Rocky Hill, Connecticut (acquired in 1987)Elizabeth Zoller, Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania (acquired in 1995)Peter Zoller, Chandler, Arizona (acquired from the above in 2009)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 1997 (Third in Class)RROC Concours, Virginia, 1997 (National Award)AACA National, Pennsylvania, 1997 (First Place)AACA Grand National, North Carolina, 2002 (First Place)San Marino Motor Classic, California, 2018 (Second in Class)
Launched in May 1925, the Phantom was the replacement for the Silver Ghost, which had helped establish Rolls-Royce’s reputation for excellence. While using the chassis of its predecessor, the Phantom introduced a 7.7-litre overhead-valve engine in place of the Ghost’s smaller side-valve unit; twin ignition with two spark plugs in each of its six cylinders; servo-assisted brakes; and single dry-plate clutch.
Produced in Derby, England, and in Springfield, Massachusetts, Phantoms were marketed to the most well-to-do customers, with elegant bodywork available from noted coachbuilders such as Park Ward and Hooper. The January 1926 purchase of Brewster & Company by Rolls-Royce meant many Springfield Phantoms were bodied in Long Island City, New York, in one of 26 designs by Brewster’s Carl Beck. Dubbed the Phantom I – but only after the introduction of the Phantom II in 1929 – a total of 2,212 were built between 1925–1929, with another 1,240 done in the US, where the production continued into 1931.
Finished in light gray with green wings and taupe leather interior accented by walnut veneers, chassis S109PR is a late-production 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom I. One of 21 wearing Regent convertible coupe bodywork by Brewster, this sporting model features a low roofline, an all-weather convertible roof, graceful front wings carrying dual side-mount spares, and a half-door allowing access to a dickey seat.
Per John Webb de Campi’s book Rolls-Royce in America, this Phantom I Regent was delivered new in April 1931 to John Ryan of New York City. After being held by two other owners, it was acquired in 1964 by Rolls-Royce collector Leslie Stevenson. In 1987, this Phantom was purchased by well-known car and automobilia collector Gerald Lettieri.
In 1995, this Phantom was procured by Rolls-Royce enthusiast Elizabeth Zoller of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, who commissioned a comprehensive refurbishment by marque specialists D&D Classic Automobile Restoration in Covington, Ohio. Attesting to the quality of work performed, this car earned Third in Class at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®. Among its other honors were an AACA National First Place and an RROC Concours National Award in 1997, and an AACA Grand National First Place in 2002.
Accompanied by its handbook, Schoellkopf card, chassis card, RROC documentation, and top boot, this Phantom I Regent is stated by the consignor to have been maintained “on the button,” and it still presents exceptionally well, earning a Second in Class at the San Marino Motor Classic in June 2018. A remarkable example of one of the finest prewar touring cars ever made, this desirable Rolls-Royce with rare Brewster coachwork is poised to bring its next owner enjoyment touring or on the concours lawn.