alsancle

American Rolls Royce (Ghost, PI & PII)

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This really did come out of a barn... in New Jersey just about 45 years ago. I guess I looked pretty happy with my new acquisition. This was taken the morning we towed it home... down Rt. 95 through the center of Providence, RI. We (my friends and I) didn't own a trailer and didn't know anyone who did. I was 20 years old at the time.

 

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Nothing like a tow rope at 50 mph.  Think about the things that would happen 40 years ago without a second thought that would get you arrested these days.  

 

Joe, do you know where that car is now?

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I've no idea. I looked it up in a RROC membership list once but now I forget where it was. That was still a long time ago. I worry that it may have been rebodied by one of the "only open cars are worth having" crowd. The rear section was Brewster faux cane work. It must have been very striking when new.

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Here is a little RR PI Springfield fun:  When I told a RR "authority" that my car was running on original DeJon coils the response was "Hell must have just frozen over, there are perhaps 3 known examples of original coils on the globe - well now I guess there are 5."  Unfortunately, they are also somewhat suspect so they are hitting the shelf for new coils.

 

By the way, the original coils have a dark red/maroon top on them - the Bakelite was painted black in an earlier restoration. 

 

I also took a picture of an original unrestored DeJon distributor data plate - the reproduction as silver  with black paint and this one is clearly silver with white paint. 

 

I have also been told the RR PI cars originally had ignition wire much like "Packard 440 wire" - I would agree from "quote original cars" I have seen, but the tool box was packed with a ratty original set of wire with all the original ends still on them - braided black lacquer wire .

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Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)

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On 8/28/2017 at 2:28 PM, JV Puleo said:

I think I have two more of them in a drawer...

 

j

Huge difference in how car ran w/new coils - my guess is a drawer is a good place for original DeJon coils

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That's why I took them off! I think they came from a friend's completely original Newmarket PI.

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So this Fleetwood bodied P1 was owned by a great family friend Ted Billings of Shrewsbury Ma back in the 50s and early 60s.   I was surprised when I stumbled on to it at Pebble Beach.

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3 hours ago, alsancle said:

Are the American built Ghost and P1 Whiteworth?  How about the LHD PII?

 

I have never seen an American ( Springfield )  P II.  

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31 minutes ago, SaddleRider said:

 

I have never seen an American ( Springfield )  P II.  

 

I guess I was a little ambiguous in my wording.  I know LHD PII chassis was built for the American market in Derby with Brewster doing final assembly.

 

I'm gonna guess the American built cars are not whitworth and the PII is but I don't know,  hence the question.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)

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Yes. American Ghosts and PIs are all Whitworth and, of course, PIIs are because they were built in England. It would be more proper to say Brewster built bodies. The chassis arrived fully assembled and road tested. RR would never have shipped the car any other way because they road tested every chassis and, buy the time the PII was available, the RR of America work force that was trained to do the tests was gone.

 

Interestingly, the Late Art Souter (he was the head of maintenance at RR of America from beginning to end) mentions that the idea of shipping some parts to the US rather than incurring the huge expense of tooling was considered but rejected by RR management.

 

As to the threads, this wasn't the problem it would seem today. The universal use of the standardized SAE threads we are all familiar with post dates WWI. Until then, there were numerous systems in use of which Whitworth was only one. It was, however, fairly common. It was only after the standarized threads had been accepted and were in universal use that it would have occurred to anyone that it might be a problem and, by then RR of America was on the way out. What we consider "standard" today was actually a culling of the many sizes readily available. For instance, there were 1/2-12, 1/2-13 and 1/2-14 bolts all in use at the same time. When the SAE selected 1/2-13, the other two sizes gradually went out of use – but this took years. Right into the mid 30s, the older sizes continued in use. As to cars... during WWI the Army organized the MTC - the Motor Transport Corps. This was to train men to drive and to repair motorized transport. Relatively few enlisted men could drive in 1917... in fact, nearly none except perhaps those who had driven a Model T Ford.  This didn't help much with the trucks and passenger cars the Army bought. The multiple thread systems proved a  logistical headache so, after the war, it was decided that no motor vehicles would be purchased by the government unless they conformed to a standarized threading system.

 

[EDIT] This came to me as an afterthought, but my great-uncle, Sam Pendleton, served in France with the 310 MTC. He arrived just before the Armistice and thus was kept behind with the Army of Occupation. I don't think he got home until about 1922. My uncle always liked cars and always had one. He may have already known how to drive when he entered the arm and would have been assigned to the MTC as a matter of course. Here he is shortly after he returned.


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As far as I know, these rules only applied to motor transport. I've owned at least one 1930s Brown & Sharpe milling machine, ex-Springfield Armory, that had a number of fasteners with very peculiar threads... as does my current B&S mill which, while not an ex-Armory machine, dates from the mid 30s.

Edited by JV Puleo
grammar (see edit history)
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I still have them...they came in handy when I had a Norton Commando. I actually have two or three sets of wrenches and sockets.

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On 9/10/2017 at 7:57 PM, alsancle said:

Great explanation.  Thanks Joe!

 

Did you have a complete set of whitworth tools to work on your car?

Yes, you have to have a Whitworth tool kit and it also helps to have a variety of truly precision adjustable wrenches too = I am very pleased to have a car that has from new spent its time in million dollar garages and has never seen a speck of rust in its life (ie I cannot imagine having to deal with even one rusted Whitworth nut or bolt).

 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)

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And, the 1932 RR Phantom I Springfield "Dover" sedan makes its first public appearance in 36 years and first time to run in 18 years - at Dayton Concours d'Elegance this weekend !  I have put in 8 to 14 hours a day for two months and a week to get it out onto a showfield.  Original Owner was Valeria Langeloth of the current The Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation

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Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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Here's another. This is one of Alden Handy's photos. The car is a straight windshield, iron head Newmarket convertible sedan. The picture was taken on Cape Cod, just after the end of WWII.

 

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That is  a great picture Joe!!!  So it has the early headlights but also the splash shield below the radiator.  Does that mean early 29?

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I think it is more likely it was just updated at some point. That was extremely common but it could also be a 29 FR series aluminum head PI. I think those were the only aluminum head cars with drum headlights (mine was S193FR)although I could easily be wrong about that as it has been 30 years since I was involved with RRs. That said, the clogged radiator problem aluminum head cars had was known by then so I suspect that Iron head cars were more desirable that early on when there were more available than there were people that wanted them. I believe this photo was also on The Old Motor and David Greenlees found another photo with the same car... the owner was known as a racing personality. I didn't dig out the original, which I have, but I seem to remember his name is written on the back.

 

I like this picture because I particularly like this body and because it's just "a nice used car being used" at the time.

 

The John Mereness car above is an Avon. The rough one my friend Andy bought in Connecticut, with the original stainless steel wheels, was one of these.

 

(EDIT] It occurs to me that there are early and late Newmarkets. The straight windshields were the earlier version. I think that the slant windshield is always seen on an aluminum head chassis but I am not certain when the change took place and as they were all custom bodies it doesn't have anything to do with a model year.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)

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On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 2:13 PM, motoringicons said:

A little late to the conversation....

 

Here is my car. 1927 Springfield Phantom I Tilbury Sedan, S274RM. This car was bought new by a member of the Vanderbilt family in NYC and sold to Al Fisk (Fisk Iron Works in Cincinnati and early RROC member) and later to David Noran. I have driven the car about 13,000 miles since 2003. When I bought it, it had about 87K original miles and the next trip out will probably make the speedometer go back to 00000. These cars take a lot of sorting out-more than most 1927 American cars-but after they are well sorted out, they are great drivers. 55 mph is no problem and the engine does not overwind at this speed. This car is mostly original with the exception of a 1960s repaint by Fisk. Although I have done a lot of mechanical work to it, it has not been apart. It has been driven hard and often during my ownership. I just love these cars. Understated elegance when they are properly presented..

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On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 2:13 PM, motoringicons said:

 after they are well sorted out, they are great drivers. 55 mph is no problem and the engine does not overwind at this speed.

 

I disagree - think about how long the stroke is on a P I motor.    Do you know what your rear axle ratio is ?   I had an early "Springfield"  P I that did have a quite high rear axle ratio - which, yes...did permit even up to 50 mph without major over-revving.

 

Yours, obviously is an outstanding CLOSED car - could have a final drive ratio much lower....so I think you are "pushing your luck" .

 

The above dosnt change my own belief that if it was the mid 1920's...and I wanted the nicest driving fastest production car...it would be a Springfield Phantom !...!

Edited by SaddleRider
fouled things up again ! (see edit history)

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Nope, 55 miles per hour is not pushing it. I have driven it about 13,000 miles so I should know!!! There is plenty left after 55 mph, but at 55 mph it is perfectly comfortable and happy. I might add, it is really "well sorted" as they say.

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)

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This 1929 P1 runs comfortably all day at 55, I'm sure it will go to seventy with out too much protesting, but with the top down and a nice country road, I haven't found a need to push it harder. Later this month I plan on taking it out on the interstate, I'll report the results afterwards. 

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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