Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Gurney Nutting
Maria Paz Yangco de Ossorio, London, England (acquired new in July 1934)Mr. Goodyear, Hampton, England (acquired from the above in 1936)Francis Stoner, Montagu Square, London, England (acquired from the above in 1938)Gilbert Murray Bradley, Mayfair Court, London, England (acquired from the above in 1939)R.L. Broad, Kent, England (acquired from the above in April 1946)Herbert F. Bass and Family, Columbus, Ohio (acquired in 1967)Private Collection, United Kingdom (acquired from the above circa 1987)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Introduced in September 1929, the Phantom II replaced the New Phantom, and was the last car produced before Sir Frederick Henry Royce, OBE, died in 1933. The lowered chassis, now available in both 144” and 150” wheelbases, provided an ideal platform for coachbuilders, who were inspired to design and build the impressively elegant cars that defined the 1930s Classic Era. With its imposing radiator shell now placed directly above the I-beam front axle, the car’s long bonnet measured nearly half the entire body length, resulting in a long, sleek stance that inspired coachbuilders to create fresh new looks for the marque. The Phantom II was the first Rolls-Royce to be designed specifically for the owner/driver; therefore, these cars were almost always personalized for the original owner.
The Phantom II was much improved and faster than any previous Rolls-Royce, and modifications designed to improve performance, comfort, and handling continued during its production years. These included a new Autovac fuel delivery system, a time-saving one-shot chassis lubrication system, and silky synchromesh gearing.
Rolls-Royce built 1,767 Phantom II chassis, including some 280 specialized Continental chassis, such as the car offered here. Royce specified the Continental to be sporting and compact, yet able to accommodate passengers and their luggage for long-distance travel. Developed from the standard short (144”) chassis, the Continental was designed with a low center of gravity and brilliantly designed suspension, allowing safe, continuous high-speed touring. As enduringly beautiful as they are, road tests confirmed these were among the most powerful cars of their time. A motor car designed for the privileged few, the chassis price in 1932 was £1,850 for the short chassis, and £1,900 for the long version.
Between the two World Wars, expensive motor cars like Rolls-Royce, were purchased in two parts: a rolling chassis from the car manufacturer, and the body from an independent coachbuilder approved by the manufacturer. J. Gurney Nutting, a major British coachbuilding firm, and designer Captain H. R. Owen crafted this brilliant, highly regarded sedanca drophead coupe, arguably one of the most beautiful car designs ever produced for Rolls-Royce.
As Rolls-Royce Foundation documents confirm, this Phantom II Continental Sedanca Drophead Coupe, chassis 117RY, was originally ordered by Maria Paz Yangco de Ossorio, owner of the Manila-based Victorias Milling Company, which was, for a time, the largest sugar refinery in Asia.
Madame Ossorio, who maintained a residence at the prestigious Dorchester Hotel, purchased the Rolls-Royce through London agent Captain H.R. Owen and specified that her car be built “for use in the UK mainly touring at comparatively high speed.” After just two years in Madame Ossorio’s ownership, the Rolls-Royce was sold to a Mr. Goodyear, and then passed between several owners in the UK through the mid-1960s.
RROC Foundation records indicate that Herbert F. Bass of Columbia, Ohio, acquired 117RY when it came to the US in 1967, and he is known to have used it on a Vintage Tour in 1983. Chassis 117RY later was in the stewardship of Mr. Bass’ son, Gary, of Westerville, Ohio, and remained in the Bass family for approximately 20 years. In the late 1980s, 117RY was sold to an English collector and returned to the UK, where it was subsequently restored in the understated, period-correct French Taupe livery seen today. A smartly fitted burgundy convertible cloth top accentuates a burgundy red leather interior with taupe wool carpets piped in burgundy.
The current owner, a New York collector with a stable of fine prewar classics, acquired 117RY in 2010 and commissioned a mechanical refreshening by Enfield Auto Restoration in Connecticut, a marque specialist. All wiring on the chassis and coach was replaced, the fuel system was rebuilt, and components in the front end were replaced to improve stability.
This Phantom II Continental Sedanca Drophead Coupe will be welcome at the finest concours events, club tours and meets. With its original chassis, engine, and highly desirable Gurney Nutting “Owen Sedanca” coachwork, this beautifully presented Phantom II Continental is certainly one of the most desirable pre-war Rolls-Royce motor cars ever produced.
It is a favored Rolls-Royce model for vintage car tours, and if properly maintained it may be driven at sustained high speeds in comfort. Values for honest, properly restored, well-documented Gurney Nutting Sedanca Drophead Coupes like 117RY have moved to the top of the Rolls-Royce market as the vast majority of these Continentals are fixtures in significant private collections. Once the Phantom II Continental is visually compared to other Phantoms, it is apparent why these stately Rolls-Royce motorcars are so admired by discriminating collectors.