Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Gurney Nutting
R. Miesegoes, England (believed to be first owner)R.H. Armstrong (acquired in 1944)N.W. McCaw, Surrey, England (acquired in 1950)Keppel’s Head Hotel, Portsmouth, England (acquired in 1951)Ben Feder, Stamford, Connecticut (acquired in 1960)Marilyn and Jack Tallman of Decatur, Illinois, and Bonita Springs, Florida (acquired in 1964)Roger and Sissy Morrison, Salina, Kansas (acquired in 2011)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Introduced in September 1929, the Phantom II replaced the Phantom I, the last car produced before Sir Frederick Henry Royce OBE died in 1933. The lowered chassis provided an ideal platform for the coachbuilders who were inspired to design and build fresh new looks – the looks that defined the 1930s Classic Era. With its distinctive 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 streamlined appearance.
This model was much faster than any previous Rolls-Royce despite its three tons, due in large measure to the incredible improvements made, particularly to the Continental chassis, and modifications continued during its production years. The new Autovac fuel-delivery system, a time-saving “one-shot” lubrication system, and silky synchromesh gearing were designed to eliminate imperfections and improve performance, comfort, and driveability.
Rolls-Royce built 1,672 Phantom IIs between 1929 and 1935, including 280 Continental chassis like this example. Royce wanted the Continental to be as small as possible, yet large enough to accommodate a driver, passengers, and their luggage comfortably while touring Europe. The standard PII chassis was heavy; therefore, Continental-specific coachwork had to be designed to be as light as possible and still perform safely and powerfully. The Continental was developed from the standard Phantom II short 144" wheelbase chassis, with an especially low steering column, a low center of gravity, and special springs to permit safe and continuous high-speed touring over almost any road surface. The radiator shell was a bit higher than the standard Phantom II, resulting in the illusion that the car appears to be traveling at high speed, even when parked. Many Rolls-Royce specialists feel there may be no more-reliable prewar car than the Phantom II Continental, as it is powered by the final evolution of the straight-six large horsepower engine that Rolls-Royce first introduced in 1907.
The company touted the car’s power in a mid-1930s advertisement, stating, “The Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental is specially produced for fast touring abroad, where better facilities exist than in Great Britain for high speeds over long distances.” The Autocar published results in August 1933 for the Phantom II Continental, showing a timed top speed of 92.31 mph. The Motor, in March 1934, recorded a top speed of 90.2 mph.
This remarkable example was bodied by J. Gurney Nutting & Co., a coachbuilding firm founded in 1919 that quickly gained a reputation for building bodies of excellent quality. Chassis no. 147RY was built for the British company Grimshaw Leather on behalf of Dex Garage for Mr. R. Miesegoes, who intended to use the car in the UK. After finding its way to the US, it was discovered in a northeastern Ohio barn in 1964 by well-known collector Jack Tallman, who then drove it 400 miles to his home in Illinois. Mr. Tallman had it restored by a marque specialist in Pennsylvania, the Frawley Company. Within the past few years, another significant restoration and refurbishment was conducted, while the Phantom II was owned by Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® judge Roger Morrison. The brilliant restoration, as evidenced by a large volume of photographs and invoices, was conducted by specialists Mann’s Restorations with fine tuning by Rick Hamlin at Rick’s Auto Restoration. The car is currently part of a prominent West Coast private collection. The final result is nothing short of spectacular.
This stunning car, the most desirable of the Phantom II models, the Continental, still carries its original and highly coveted Gurney Nutting Sedanca Drophead Coupe body. Its incredible, complete hand- and road-tool collection is fitted in a custom wooden toolbox. The Phantom II Continental chassis is favored by Rolls-Royce specialists for vintage car tours, as it may be driven at sustained high speeds in comfort and style. This ideal entrant for top-end concours events is simply the best imaginable: It features the best chassis, the best coachbuilder and the best body style; has documented provenance; and has been restored to the highest standard under the careful supervision of a renowned Rolls-Royce expert. Gooding & Company is proud to present this Phantom II Continental to the collector who seeks only the rarest and finest.