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Rolls-Royce Phantom III - It's V-12 Engine, Chassis and Coachwork


58L-Y8
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No one here has enough money to work on one…….buy one, yes. Make it go down the road? No way. Besides, 99 percent of them are as unattractive as AJ’s high school girlfriend! 😎

 

I have driven and played with this one a bit…….last two owners were friends. It’s what we call in the hobby………”A big bitch!”

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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25 minutes ago, alsancle said:

Ed, you may be a car savant, but you are otherwise a nitwit.

 

My high school girlfriend was a knockout?


Your wife tells me she was such a dog she had a collar and leash. Why don’t you ask her opinion about the whole situation again! 😂
 

By the way, you hit it out of the park with the Mrs., how she puts up with you is beyond me. 😎

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Ed: 

Please give us your unvarnished views of the V-12 engine and other aspects of the series.

Steve


They are just plain too much work. Add to it every half assed tractor mechanic has worked on them. They just shout “no joy”. They are quite the piece of engineering……..and five times the work of a PI. Large, underpowered, complicated,expensive, and no one wants to work on them…..even the experts.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Here is what AJ remembers in his mind……..………and an actual photo. AJ keeps telling me she wasn’t so baaaad! He insists she was the prettiest one in the herd.

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You know me well enough to know I like both goats and blondes. 

 

Matt's comment on the nuclear reactor is the funnies thing he has ever said.

 

This one the RR class at Pebble in 2019.  It was very cool.

 

 

IMG_6053.JPG

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The biggest issue with the P III engine is that everything is aluminum.  It's an old fashioned design with seperate heads, blocks, and crankcase - all in aluminum.  The heads are hard to get off (steel studs) and then the aluminum blocks have wet liner cylinders.  Remember in the 1930's aluminum castings weren't what they are today.  The carburator is similar to a Stromburg EE3, but the Rolls engineers made it twice as complicated with extra linkages and several extra drain/vent tubes all over the place.  The pot metal castings go bad & you can send your carb off to have your linkage installed on new catsings for around $3600.  That was the price 15 years ago.   The main timing gear is a fiber gear and they were reproduced @ $400 each 25 years ago.  The P III Technical Society (part of the Rolls Club) has all the tools needed to disassemble the engine which you can rent.  They have a jig you put on the heads to remove them.  I think they did a run of new cylinder heads 20 years ago and they sold out.  You need a special tool just to remove a brake drum on a P III.  In all they have something like 15-20 tools you can rent to work on the chassis.  The waterpump is aluminim.  How fun do think that is to take apart?   Bob Shaffner of Mechanicsburg, PA was a big time P III guy, and he passed away 10 years ago.   Wally Donaghue in MI could work on P IIIs, but he passed away a couple years ago as well.   He wrote an article on P IIIs for The Classic Car about 5 years ago.   L'Cars Automotive Specialties of Wisconsin works on P IIIs, but the website says since 1978, so he's getting older too.   The P III chassis makes a Packard Twelve or Lincoln K look like they're one step above a Model A Ford.  It truly is the engineering masterpiece of the 1930s.  The early ones had a complicated hydraulic value mechanism but most were updated to solid tappets.  The later ones had an overdrive transmission available.  They ran hot here in the US as they were built for the balmy English climate.  They all have a cast aluminum firewall.   The only post 1930 American car with that was a Duesenberg.  There is nothing cheap on a P III.  It's overbuilt.  They have built in hydraulic jacks at each corner of the car to jack it up to change a tire.  Front suspension is independent with coil springs.  Also, the engine was designed to run on a level surface, but when installed in the chassis the front is a little higher than the rear, and they had some oil drainage issues.   I believe there's a fix for that with blocking one of the oil drain holes at the rear of each head & drilling one hole in the front a little bigger.   As with all pre war Rolls cars, all of the coachwork is full custom.  There were a few styles by Barker, Hooper, Mulliner & the like done in series which may have been a little cheaper like Ed mentioned, but there's some pretty spectacular bodies out there too.  Yes, Hooper built some ugly limousines.  But not all P IIIs are ugly.  I'd say about 1/4 are ugly, 1/2 are average. and 1/4 are great looking.  They are all on a  142" wheelbase.  They are proportioned well & don't look as big as they are.  There's only a couple guys who have all the spare P III parts, & they aren't cheap.  If you have unlimited time, patience, skill, and money, you can handle a P III.  Unfortunately, most of us don't.  My best advice to anyone thinking of buying a P III would be to buy a Packard Twelve instead.       

 

  

 

 

 

                 

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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K8096:

Thanks for your in-depth description of the problems inherent in dealing with a Phantom III.  I recall The Classic Car Phantom III article of some years ago.  My impression was they were excessively complicated, even for a Rolls-Royce.   Reading other sources, the V-12 was developed beginning during 1932 in response to the multi-cylinder trend then current and to include updates to the chassis to accommodate technological advancements.  Of the latter, independent front suspension, teamed with moving the engine and radiator forward of the front axle plane allowed more chassis space for passenger accommodating coachwork on an eight-inch shorter wheelbase versus the Phantom II.    The changed chassis proportions did diminish the aesthetic magnificence inherent in the Phantom II.  Carried over coachwork styles don't work as well with the blunt, tall frontal aspect and relatively short-appearing hood.  

Steve

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I talked about this one in another thread somewhere.  It is a Franay bodied PIII that was the Paris Salon show car.    It was in a private collection for decades and recently sold.  I assume being restored for Pebble.  A fantastic car.

Rolls_Royce-Franay-3.jpg

Rolls_Royce-Franay-1.jpg

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21 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

I noticed we didn't have a dedicated topic for the Phantom III.  

 

Steve,   I just had not gotten around to it.   It is interesting which ones of these threads have the most traction.   The American Rolls thread and the Stearns thread seem to be very active.

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AJ:

 

That Franay sport sedan is one of the best ever mounted on a Phantom III chassis.  But I can't help but imagine how much better it would look on a Phantom II chassis.

 

BTW, do you recall a Phantom III sport sedan by Henri Binder for sale at Hershey some years ago?

 

Steve

 

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3 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

AJ:

 

That Franay sport sedan is one of the best ever mounted on a Phantom III chassis.  But I can't help but imagine how much better it would look on a Phantom II chassis.

 

BTW, do you recall a Phantom III sport sedan by Henri Binder for sale at Hershey some years ago?

 

Steve

 

 

Steve,  agreed on the Franay.  I really liked it but alas, I'm not a Billionaire which is what I think you need to be to restore that car.

 

Is this the Binder bodied car you were thinking of?

 

The Stan West Collection, 1936 Paris Salon,1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Pillar-less Continental Touring Saloon  Chassis no. 3AZ140

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14 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

Steve,   I just had not gotten around to it.   It is interesting which ones of these threads have the most traction.   The American Rolls thread and the Stearns thread seem to be very active.

AJ:

I thought to start this thread after that '36 Phantom III in Texas turned up for sale.  The warning comments sent me to search for more perspective on the series.    Its true, certain threads engender more active participation than others.  The F.R.P-Porter thread is another fascinating topic, thanks for starting it.

Steve

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This is actually a fantastic car that slipped through the cracks at Bonhams a few years ago.   It is a PII Special Newmarket body placed on the PIII chassis when new by Inskip.     It was bought at Bonhams by a smart guy who recognized it and is turning it back to its original configuration.     The roof was padded later to make it a 4 season car and ruined the roof line.    When finished it will be very cool.  I got to see it under restoration and was impressed.

 

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/23945/lot/91/

 

It is perhaps not surprising that it was built for an extremely wealthy client, the famed 'Asbestos heir' Tommy Manville Jr. Manville was the type of socialite that novelists such as Evelyn Waugh and F. Scott Fitzgerald were so minded to encapsulate in their famous Roaring Twenties characters, decadent in the extreme... There were no fewer than 11 Mrs. Manvilles over the course of his 73 year lifespan!

But, if there was one thing that he appears to have been loyal to, it was Rolls-Royce, from whom 5 successive cars were acquired. The best known of those was the iconic Windblown Coupe that he acquired of the New York Auto Show Stand in 1930, that was followed with two left hand drive Phantom IIs, A Croydon and a Henley Roadster.

Underpinned by the mechanical zenith that the Phantom III undoubtedly is the car was clothed with a design by the company that Cole Porter was so moved to right 'You're the Top, You're a Brewster body'... Its extremely attractive coachwork heralds from slightly earlier in the decade, being supplied originally on one of the late American built left hand drive Phantom IIs, 216 AMS which was delivered to wealthy industrialist Frederick F. Brewster of New Haven Connecticut. Like Manville, Brewster was a serial Rolls buyer, and it appears that when he took delivery of his new Phantom III in April 1937, he had the Sporting Sedan moved over to the V12 chassis.

Manville would have owned the Phantom III between the divorce with Marcelle Edwards and before his 3 month marriage to Bonita Edwards in November 1941. Rolls-Royce/Inskip remained clever negotiators of cars between their clientele. When charged with finding a new home for the Phantom III in March 1941, they wisely moved the elegant coachwork on to it and lightly modernized it with their trademark sweeping fender treatment. In 1970 it moved into the long term custody of Clarence Curtiss from whom it would only emerge in recent times.

Viewed today, this is a fascinating statement, it has the wonderful styling cues of the Brewster bodies of the time with the sweep down from the windshield line arcing towards the front wheels as it descends the body, arguably echoing famed French carrossier Jacques Saoutchik and of course reminiscent of the Windblown coupe.

Aesthetically, this is a remarkably original car, its interior remains to its original style and the tasteful two tone paint scheme of 'coffee and cream' accents the lines of the car well.

Having lived on the East Coast for much of the last 50 years, this imposing V12 Rolls-Royce would no doubt be welcomed at events up and down the Pacific coast.
 

 

 

PIII-special-newmarket.png

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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6 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

Steve,  agreed on the Franay.  I really liked it but alas, I'm not a Billionaire which is what I think you need to be to restore that car.

 

Is this the Binder bodied car you were thinking of?

 

The Stan West Collection, 1936 Paris Salon,1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Pillar-less Continental Touring Saloon  Chassis no. 3AZ140

AJ:

That might be the Binder sport sedan, thanks!  I'll see if I can locate my photos from then.   The reason I recall it is I too don't think of most Phantom III's as very attractive but the Binder sport sedan was a surprise and delight.

Stev

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3 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

AJ:

That might be the Binder sport sedan, thanks!  I'll see if I can locate my photos from then.   The reason I recall it is I too don't think of most Phantom III's as very attractive but the Binder sport sedan was a surprise and delight.

Stev

 

Maybe we are too harsh and Jason's formula of 25/50/25 is closer to reality?

 

I know they pushed the engine forward on the PIII,  but the hood looks at least 6" shorter than the PII besides the radiator position.

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This one brought a ton of money when it sold.

 

https://blackhawkcollection.com/project/1937-rolls-royce-phantom-iii-pillarless-saloon/

 

Chassis No. 3CP144

Engine No. T48J

 1938 Brussels Show Car

This Phantom III chassis was delivered on September 1st, 1937 to the Brussels dealer; Andre Pisart, S.A. for Mr. Jean Francqui. After being bodied by Vesters & Neirinck of Brussels, the car was delivered to Mr. Francqui on May 7th, 1938. The car was used by Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery in Brussels in the fall of 1944. It was then acquired by the British Army of the Rhine in 1945, and used by Lt. General Sir Charles F. Keightley. It is the only known Phantom III to be equipped at the factory with a tachometer. A ground up restoration was completed on the car in the mid 1990’s.

 

 

1937-Rolls-Royce-III-Pillarless-Saloon03

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

Maybe we are too harsh and Jason's formula of 25/50/25 is closer to reality?

 

I know they pushed the engine forward on the PIII,  but the hood looks at least 6" shorter than the PII besides the radiator position.

AJ:

 

The aesthetic trap of the Classic Era proportions is that our eyes read the main body mass, in where it begins and ends relative to the axle planes.  Those that appeal the most the radiator is parallel with the front axle plane and the rear body ends at or very near the rear axle plane.  Move either mass forward or extend it beyond the rear, the aesthetic appeal diminishes. 

 

"Jason's formula of 25/50/25"

Would you please enlarge on this?   

 

Steve

Edited by 58L-Y8
added 'please' (see edit history)
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