To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' The Guyton
Collection event, 4 - 5 May 2019.
$150,000 - $250,000
- The 1938 Earls Court Motor Show car
- Perhaps the ultimate Phantom III: a car of exceptional beauty
- Best in Class, 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
- One of two produced with James Young's famous "parallel
- Long-term ownership by beloved enthusiast Norris H. Allen
- Featured in many books, including Steve Stuckey's The Spectre
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
CHASSIS NUMBER 3DL86: THE ULTIMATE PHANTOM III
Chassis 3DL86 was one of just two Phantom IIIs delivered with this
body, a handsome saloon coupe. James Young produced bodies of this
basic line on several different chassis of the era, including the
Wraith also in the Guyton Collection, but the two Phantom IIIs were
distinguished by their innovative "parallel doors." Turn and pull
on a door handle and the entire door slides out vertically, several
inches from the car, then moves back parallel to the body, in much
the fashion of a modern minivan door. It is a wonderful trick and
fascinating to watch in operation. More importantly, in any era
when these cars were in regular use, it allowed a large two-door
car to have well-proportioned doors that did not have to open,
dangerously, into traffic.
This car was used extensively in advertising and was chosen for
exhibition by Jack Barclay at the 1938 Earls Court Motor Show.
Copies of its highly detailed James Young and Rolls-Royce build
documentation, in the file, spell out its specifications; it was
ordered to the latest possible engineering design, with bodywork in
Belco Navy Blue with dark pigskin upholstery, Circassian walnut
trim, matching luggage, cocktail cabinets, and sliding smoked
"purdah" glass visors in the rear windows. A two-piece "sunshine
roof" featured an electrically operated upper panel and a sliding
glass inner panel, so that the sun's rays could be let in with
drafts on cooler British days.
Reportedly, the car sold by 11:00 a.m. on the day of the Motor
Show's opening to original owner, Robert Constantine Graseby, a
prominent British electrical engineer, in whose ownership it
remained until after World War II. It was sold via a Scottish
dealer in 1955 to Norris H. Allen, and was shipped to Boston,
collected dockside by its new owner, and driven to New York, so
that J.S. Inskip could mount sealed-beam headlamps, then onward
west to St. Louis.
SHARED AMONGST FRIENDS
Mr. Allen was a raconteur, an early enthusiast of great
automobiles, and a skilled engineer, who owned most every great car
of the Classic Era back in the early halcyon days of the hobby.
Fred Guyton admired him tremendously, and actually bought his house
because it was, literally, just down the block from the man he
revered as something of a car-collecting hero. Over several decades
the pair of devoted enthusiasts became dear friends, and some of
the most significant automobiles in the Guyton Collection bore Mr.
Allen's ownership as treasured provenance. None were treasured as
much as this car, Phantom III no. 3DL86, which in his ownership was
featured in Lawrence Dalton's Those Elegant Rolls-Royce and
Coachwork on Rolls-Royce.
Mr. Allen lovingly maintained the Phantom III for the remainder of
his long life, installing an excellent overdrive unit of his own
professional design, and using it regularly. After his passing in
1990, it was literally given to his good and faithful friend, Fred
Guyton, to ensure its continued maintenance and use. Accordingly,
Mr. Guyton ensured that the car would be exquisitely restored to
exactly its original appearance by D&D Automobile Restoration
of Covington, Ohio, and then showed it extensively, winning Best in
Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2004, among other
significant laurels. Accompanying the car is a thoroughly
impressive history file, show-quality tool kit, and an attractive
three-piece luggage set.
The car remains in thoroughly crisp, fresh, and show-worthy
condition, with the exception of the engine, which was in the
process of being rebuilt at the time of Mr. Guyton's passing.
Though dismantled, considerable work has been done on the engine.
The crankshaft has been ground and is ready to be refit to a
crankcase. The connecting rods have been completely remade by
Fiennes Engineering in the U.K. and now incorporate modern insert
bearings with new bearing blocks, this being necessary due to
damage to the original bearing blocks from an earlier rebuild. The
cylinder heads have been pressure checked and vacuum-impregnated
and are in excellent condition. The timing gears are in good shape
and will run silently. The cam and cam bearings, tappets,
followers, etc. are excellent and are ready to refit, as well. The
clutch and related parts have been relined/ground and are ready to
fit. Many new parts are included with the engine, which has a known
and predictable path to completion.
The Vintage Garage will gladly discuss the engine work that has
been done and what would be required to complete the project,
including information on sources for parts and additional
expertise. Please refer to an RM Sotheby's representative for
One could go into all manner of superlatives regarding this car,
but it is appropriate to end with the exclamations of Norris Allen,
upon his acquisition. "If there is another Rolls-Royce in the
United States to compare with this one I haven't seen it, and I
will go so far as to say I have never seen an automobile in Europe
or the United States that I think compares with this car. It is the
most fabulous automobile I have ever heard about."
Please note that after this car was shown at the Hilton Head
Concours d'Elegance, the clutch failed and the car was sent to
D&D Automobile Restoration to have it replaced. Upon
inspection, it was noted that the crankcase retained moisture and
the engine was subsequently dissembled. The disassembled engine was
then sent to The Vintage Garage, LLC to complete the rebuild. At
that time, it was determined that a new crankcase would be
required. Unfortunately, the work was not finished prior to Mr.
Guyton's passing. While the engine is currently installed in the
car, it is for display purposes only. All of the internal
components for the engine are believed to have been returned and do
accompany the car. Invoices for the work to-date are also included
along with photos of the accompanying parts. Furthermore, the spare
engine referred to in the printed catalogue is NOT included, but
will be offered as lot 404A toward the end of today's sale. Please
refer to RM Sotheby's car specialist Zach Oller
(email@example.com) for further information.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction,
please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/gc19.