Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Barker
Captain John Wanamaker Jr., New York, New York (acquired new in 1933)Sir Terence J. O’Connor, Oxfordshire, England (acquired from the estate of the above in 1936)Patrick D. de Laszlo, England (acquired circa 1940)A. Jones, England (acquired circa 1945)Captain Spencer Hart, London, England (acquired in 1950)Herman R. Zinn, Rochelle Park, New Jersey (acquired from the above in 1959)Dr. Gerard E. Schultz, Buffalo, New York (acquired from the above in 1961)Howard W. Kizler, Scottsdale, Arizona (acquired in 1965)Thomas W. Barrett III, Scottsdale, Arizona (acquired from the above in 1971)Craven Foundation Collection, Toronto, Canada (acquired in 1974)Richard B. Hooper, Seattle, Washington (acquired from the above in 1985)Harold Meden, Bellevue, Washington (acquired from the above in 1991)Ronald Benach, Chicago, Illinois (acquired from the above in 1999)Private Collection, London, England (acquired in 2006)Livio Cossutti, Bissone, Switzerland (acquired in 2009)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, 1959 (National Award)Western Inter-Regional, Vancouver, Canada, 1986 (Second in Class,Prewar Class)The Oregon National Vintage Tour, 1992Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, 1995 (National Award)Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, Lake Forest, Illinois, 2006Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, Lake Forest, Illinois, 2007Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy, 2011Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy, 2015
The Rolls-Royce Phantom II made its debut in 1929 and comprised the final series of motorcars personally developed by Sir Henry Royce before his death in 1933. The Phantom II was designed to be a chauffeur-driven automobile and to compete head-to-head with the Bentley 8 Litre. In 1931, Sir Henry set about designing a new car based on the Phantom II with an eye toward longdistance, high-speed motoring throughout the Continent. Sir Henry envisioned a more compact, sporting chassis to be fitted primarily with owner/driver coachwork. With a 6" shorter wheelbase, shallower steering column angle, stiffer springs, additional shock absorbers, higher-ratio rear axle, and a lowered floor to allow for more rakish coachwork, the Phantom II Continental was born. It was a low, streamlined car, and with its chassis improvements and new fuel-delivery system, it was the fastest Rolls-Royce to date. Its long bonnet and light, sleek coachwork projected the image of speed. Countless Rolls-Royce aficionados consider the Phantom II Continental to be the finest of all prewar Rolls-Royce models.
According to The Flying Lady of September/October 2011, the fascinating car offered here, a Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Three-Position Drophead Coupe, is one of just four built by the coachbuilder Barker. In Barker’s Coachbuilding – 1933–34, which illustrated this spectacular body style, it is described as “Barker Foursome Cabriolet DeVille.” In later depictions, the moniker changes to Three-Position Drophead.
Continental chassis 186 MY was ordered as a Three-Position Drophead to the exacting specifications of Captain John Wanamaker Jr. in 1933. The grandson of John Wanamaker, the Philadelphia department store magnate, he served with the Army’s 78th Division during WWI and headed communications and transportation when President Woodrow Wilson was in France negotiating the Treaty of Versailles. Upon Capt. Wanamaker’s return to the States, the sporty new open-air Rolls-Royce was the perfect choice for him, as he was a fixture of high society, an avid sportsman, and a successful speedboat racer in the US and Europe. Regrettably, he didn’t own the car for long. Capt. Wanamaker died unexpectedly on November 30, 1934, at age 45.
In 1936, this Rolls-Royce returned to England after being sold to Sir Terence J. O’Connor, a member of British Parliament. Around 1940, it was purchased by Patrick D. de Laszlo, who reportedly hid it and kept it safe throughout WWII. After the war, the car passed to two additional British owners before returning to the US in 1959 in the care of Herman R. Zinn of Rochelle Park, New Jersey. From 1959 until today, this Phantom II Continental has enjoyed loving care by Rolls-Royce enthusiasts in the US, Canada, England, and Switzerland, including a decade in the Craven Foundation Collection in Toronto.
The Continental’s flowing coachwork is finished in a rich garnet tone over sleek black fenders. The interior is covered in buttery tan hides and Wilton wool carpet, and features beautifully restored woodwork. Opening the bonnet reveals the jewel-like Rolls-Royce inline six-cylinder engine – complete with a newly cast cylinder head – and a remarkable under-bonnet tool set. Receipts on file document the car’s history as well as attention given to its mechanical components.
With a fascinating provenance rooted in notable American and British ownership and a period of hiding during WWII, this Phantom II Continental Drophead Coupe has a truly captivating past. Today, as a veteran of such high-level concours as Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, and having completed such challenging multistate tours as the Classic Car Club of America CARavan and the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club national vintage tour, this car stands as a rolling testament to Rolls-Royce’s enduring beauty and undeniable build quality.
This intriguing motorcar represents an extraordinary opportunity to acquire an exceedingly rare, stunningly beautiful, prewar coachbuilt Rolls-Royce, considered by many to be the best Sir Henry Royce ever created. It offers the new owner an opportunity for concours competition, rallying, and long-distance touring.