I hope you enjoy the notes and pictures of these fantastic cars in miniature. I got the idea for this article from a talk Michael Jeanes gave some years ago about a museum he had visited in the USA which had a complete collection of Rolls-Royce Phantoms. How wonderful it would be to see these magnificent cars all together. As a collector of model cars I have been able to assemble a complete collection of Phantoms, albeit much smaller than the real ones. However, the small
scale does allow ample opportunity to observe the cars close up and to get a sense of the size of each relative to the other (which as you will gather from the statistics and pictures is fairly consistent).
The success of the 40/50 HP (Silver Ghost) was probably due to Rolls-Royce’s concept of the ‘one model’ policy. In 1922 this ended with the production of the Twenty HP. But Rolls-Royce was still aware of the need for a new ‘big’ car and in 1925 the New Phantom (retrospectively called the Phantom I) was introduced. Thus the concept of a large ‘flagship’ model was sort of in place. The Phantom I, produced from 1925-1929, was followed by the Phantom II, 1929-1935, and the Phantom III, 1936-1939.
Rolls-Royce probably thought that the Phantoms had
ended with the introduction of the Wraith in 1939. However, this notion changed in 1950 when, after a visit from Prince Philip, the first Phantom IV was produced for HRH Princess Elizabeth. Between 1950 and 1956 eighteen of these very special vehicles were built for royalty and heads of state.
These rare cars were the only vehicles produced with a straight eight engine which allowed for a very slow, smooth pace befitting a ceremonial car. But demand for large stately cars didn’t die out and in 1959 the Phantom V was introduced, followed by the Phantom VI from 1968 until 1990. Prior to WWII Rolls-Royce did not build the coachwork on cars. The Company supplied the complete chassis, radiator and a few other bits and the customer selected a coachbuilder to supply a body to his specifications. This continued with the Phantom IVs, Phantom Vs and some Phantom VIs. Where possible I have chosen to illustrate the various models of Phantoms with specific Rolls-Royce vehicles. Thus the first five Phantoms are based on real cars rather than just generic cars. The Phantom VI is a James Young body, but not a specific chassis. In 2003 the new Rolls-Royce Company introduced the latest model, the Goodwood Phantom which the Company now calls the Phantom VII. And its successor the Phantom VIII is now on the books. There are many variations of the Goodwood Phantom: standard wheelbase, extended wheelbase, drophead and a myriad of ‘special editions.’
Dertermining the exact number sold is difficult, but I think the estimate on the chart is probably accurate. Thus we have an almost unbroken line of Phantoms from 1925 to the present. Hopefully the statistics and pictures with this article will allow you to enjoy these very beautiful cars in miniature. In a future article I might look at those very exclusive Phantom IVs. Acknowledgement: with the exception of the Goodwood Phantom, specifications of the other Phantoms have been sourced from the sixth edition of Bird and Hallows; The Rolls-Royce Motor Car as updated by Brendan James. By David Marshall-Martin, GSM