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American Rolls Royce (Ghost, PI & PII)


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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.


59b62780b1b6b_SamPendleton1.thumb.jpg.7c718ff129b254372fa74206a43418ab.jpg

 

 

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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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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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.

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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..

thumbnail_WP_004370.jpg

 

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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
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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. 

IMG_4569.JPG

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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17 hours ago, edinmass said:

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. 

 

 

Everyone in here - be assured - that if it were the mid 1920's.....and you wanted the fastest, smoothest,  nicest driving big luxury car,  your first choice should be a Springfield Rolls.

 

That being said,  I think Edin would be wise to consider my suggestion  that he THINK about how long the stroke is on that thing,  and what its rear axle ratio is.    Only after he has made a temporary hook up of an electronic tach to the Rolls,  will he be in a position to decide what is a reasonable cruising speed for that marvelous car !

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On 9/28/2017 at 10:51 PM, edinmass said:

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. 

IMG_4569.JPG

Ed, I want to say this car was formally owned by Bill Davis and if so I believe it was restored by Ned Hermann of Vintage Auto, in Cincinnati, OH.  Ned was way ahead of his time in restorations and basically gave the owner a "new car."  I would say this to be a potentially good "test drive" for what a Springfield car should be.

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Hi John, yes, you are correct. He restored it the year I was born........1965! It's been well maintained. It wasn't run much the last few years. I have got it dialed in and sorted, and it drives great. Being born in Springfield, it's one of my all time favorite cars. It runs and drives as good as it looks.  Ed.

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For Sale.......P1 front bumper as found on our Pierce Arrow Coupe a few months ago. It's for sale at my spot at Hershey RCH 38-40. Nice bumper, doesn't look like it has been hit or bent. Ed

IMG_5705.JPG

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On 10/1/2017 at 6:13 PM, edinmass said:

Hi John, yes, you are correct. He restored it the year I was born........1965! It's been well maintained. It wasn't run much the last few years. I have got it dialed in and sorted, and it drives great. Being born in Springfield, it's one of my all time favorite cars. It runs and drives as good as it looks.  Ed.

I was at dinner last night with one of the fellows who regularly worked on the York Roadster  -  says when car was restored (and while Ned/Vintage Auto serviced it through 1980's) he would consider it a top 10 in finest examples of PI's and as close to a new PI as you will find = I am looking forward to your drive report.

 

Sidenote:  Fellow say Ned/Vintage Auto always preached  Springfield cars being 50 mph cars all day long, capable of 55 for periods, you can run it up to 65 for short spurts, and it has plenty of extra power to spare, but if you use the extra power you risk getting into a whole different ballgame of maintenance (ie rule of thumb is that nothing breaks at 50 mph).   He said most Springfield owners were respectful of such, but they had plenty of PII's visit the shop that had horrific problems from being run 70 mph on highway.

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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On 10/6/2017 at 11:04 AM, John_Mereness said:

I was at dinner last night with one of the fellows who regularly worked on the York Roadster  -  says when car was restored (and while Ned/Vintage Auto serviced it through 1980's) he would consider it a top 10 in finest examples of PI's and as close to a new PI as you will find = I am looking forward to your drive report.

 

I will admit to being a fan of the P1 Springfield Rolls, more than most people know. As to the comment this car is in the top ten, yes I agree, and would argue it's in the top five. And on that list it's at or near the top. I have driven about twenty Springfield cars over the years, and few are properly sorted. Having driven just about every CCCA platform and most of the chassis on the list, I can report quite simply there is NOTHING like a Springfield Rolls for refined motoring, NOTHING. I consider myself fortunate to be one of the caretakers of this car. It's a pure joy to drive. 

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It's so good to know that they had it looked after in the "muscle car garage".  I bet they had an interesting time adjusting the brakes, if they were even able to look at them. I find ads like this so banal they are insulting.

 

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On ‎10‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 12:46 AM, edinmass said:

 

I will admit to being a fan of the P1 Springfield Rollsquite simply there is NOTHING like a Springfield Rolls for refined motoring,.......... NOTHING................

I consider myself fortunate to be one of the caretakers of this car. It's a pure joy to drive. 

 

Couldn't agree more.  If it were 1926, and I wanted the nicest driving production car that was also one of the fastest and best-handling of that era.....durn right.

 

Now - to be fair - let's not go comparing different eras.  Technology advances quite rapidly. Was true then..is true now.    The Rolls of that era was designed and engineered for the  fuels of that era...and roads of that era ( which no longer exist...except to get to and from my ranch, to the roads maintained by Yavapai County...!).

 

So let's acknowledge that no matter how impressive the P I's  are,  they are subject to the laws of physics.   And again, lets remember about the advancement of technology down thru the years.....so let's not go comparing them to the big-engine multi-cylinder American luxury cars of the mid and late 1930's;  which by comparison,  were from a different & more advanced planet in terms of their capabilities and engineering.

 

My "Springfield" P I was incredibly hi geared ( low numerical ratio) compared to other "Springfields" I have driven.     While cruising at 45-50 mph appeared to be effortless and delightful  ( yeah...yeah..,.o.,k...so I did take it much faster once for a short period)......,   B U T      that 5" + stroke meant those heavy connecting rods were thrashing around on poured Babbitt rod bearings with frightful loadings.  

 

 Where were there roads in that era that would cause an engineer to think the car should be designed to cruise at 50 mph?  

 

A little respect for the laws of physics  if you really care about preserving history...folks.

 

Edited by SaddleRider
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3 hours ago, alsancle said:

So Pete,  my naive understanding of the PI and PII differences is that they were mostly chassis related.  Are there engine differences too?   Is a PII good for higher safe sustained speeds?

 

Cant help you - never even worked on a P II, much less owned one.   I got to drive a "Continental" once literally "around the block"...probably 50 years ago !

 

I could make a wild guess and say the later cars, some of them, may have been fitted with "higher" ( meaning lower numerically ) final drive ratios.  If that is the case, then yes, the "higher" geared car would suffer less "lower end" abuse at higher road speeds. 

 

By the early 1930's,  we know from highway engineering reports the road system in the United States had dramatic improvements, so that extended higher speed cruising became possible.   That explains the sudden appearance of overdrives and "Columbia" style rear axles.    Whether this was something Rolls Royce was aware of,  I have no clue.

 

Some of the many keys to a motor being able to survive at higher engine rpms,  are  1)  the shorter the stroke...and   2)  "precision insert" type connecting rod bearings.   As late as the Phantom III,  Rolls was still using "poured babbitt for its rod bearings, but its shorter stroke would presumably give it more tolerance to higher rpm operation than the Phantom II, which I am told,  but have no knowledge,  has a identical "lower end" to the Phantom  I.

 

I am told, but havn't seen the actual paperwork,  that when the first Autobahns opened up, Rolls told its buyers of the Phantom III not to go wide-open for any time at all.... I like that because it would be consistent with my prejudices...!  But again,  have no personal knowledge of that.  By the time the first AutoBahns opened up,  I believe the Phantom II was no longer in production.

 

I am trying to be cooperative - but am way out of my area of actual knowledge here - hopefully someone else can straighten us out with facts!

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There are lots of differences between the P1 & P2, overall ninty percent of them are chassis related, and ten percent are engine related. I have driven both, and truth be told, I prefer the P1. It's kind of interesting to observe but of ALL the legendary pre war motor cars, I only find two that live up to the hype, legend, and reputation of the ages. The first is Duesenberg, and the other is Rolls. All the others are good cars but every one of them can be discounted against the formentioned two.  No car is perfect, and many pre war cars were flawed, some of them seriously. I also find many cars with reputations of "being a great car" to be poor performers and have many bad habits and disappointing traits. Just my two cents. Ed

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On 9/29/2017 at 11:02 AM, alsancle said:

I love everything about that but the trunk.

 

 

Good news! The trunk has been removed. I'm having P1 withdrawal issues, so I will pick it up on Wednesday and put it in the new garage where it belongs........its new forever home. ?

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7 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

I am trying to be cooperative - but am way out of my area of actual knowledge here - hopefully someone else can straighten us out with facts!

 

And since when does that stop anyone on the Internet?  :D

 

Ed,  outline why you prefer the P1 to the PII?  I would imagine as Pete suggests that the rear end should have a higher ratio.

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As Ed has said, there are a lot if differences between the PI and the PII. The progression runs like this...the Ghost was introduced in 1908 and by the 20s was a dated design. The PI was an updated Ghost... the chassis is virtually identical but the engine was updated. It was, to a great extent an interim model. The British introduced the PI in 1925 but the American company couldn't re-tool fast enough to introduce it simultaneously and continued to produce the Ghost into mid-1926 (I have to go out and don't have time to look up the dates). This hurt the company because the latest model wasn't available from them. The earliest American PIs didn't even have front wheel brakes although they were recalled and fitted with them. The British company then introduced the completely redesigned Phantom II (which they called the "New Phantom") in 1929, once again leaving the American company behind. This created the same problem that had arisen in 1925–26 but by now the American company was clearly unable to afford the much more expensive design changes. The final days of RR of America were largely taken up with re working traded in PIs, updating older cars, repairs, maintenance and selling the few remaining cars. In a last ditch effort to save the company, two series of left hand drive cars were built in Derby, the AJS and AMS series PIIs. These were also sold in other countries where LHD was desirable but I believe most came to the US. It appears that all, or nearly all, were imported as chassis and bodied by Brewster in NY. One of the things that always hurt the company was that most RR buyers really didn't know much about cars and were purchasing a status symbol... as a result, there were always British built "genuine" RR cars being sold to Americans based on their snob value more than anything else.

 

Personally, I like the PI much better than the PII and I like the Ghost best of all.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Recently some very nice Springfield Ghosts have traded for whit I consider very low prices. I am referring to open cars with decent lines. Recently one of the best low mileage cars I have ever seen had a problem finding any intrested buyer. If the market remains this soft for such great mid twenties cars, I shudder to think what will happen to most of the run of the mill iron from the same era.

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