This 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II 40-50 was ordered October 29, 1929 by renowned African-American pianist, singer and songwriter, Turner Layton.
Layton wrote such Tin Pan Alley hits as "After You've Gone", "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans", "Southland", and music for four editions of the Ziegfeld Follies in the early 1920's. Looking to expand his career, he moved to England and in 1924 teamed with tenor, Clarence Johnstone. "Turner and Johnstone" became headliners of European cabaret, theater and radio. Their recordings made for Columbia Records sold an estimated 10 million copies during those years. Layton was a bonafide star when he purchased this Rolls. Original purchase price was 1,577 British Pounds (equivalent to $130,000 today.)
Custom limousine coachwork was built on the massive 150" wheelbase 40-50 chassis #49GN. Carlton Carriage Co. of London designed a rakish body, with separate fenders and step plates in lieu of full-length running boards. Together with the louvered sill panels, it gives the large car a very sporty look. The driver's compartment is finished in black leather. The rear compartment is flamboyantly finished in ostrich leather. As Prohibition was not in effect in England, a bar was added just below the division window. When delivered on March 29, 1930, the Rolls was a masterpiece of luxury. A photo of Layton with this car was featured in The Autocar magazine in August of 1930.
Turner Layton enjoyed the Rolls throughout the 1930's and 40's. He retired in 1946 and passed away in London in 1978. Sometime in the 1950's he sold his beloved Rolls Royce in original condition and it was acquired by British automobile broker, C.P. Brooks. He sold it to Dr. G.B. Wood of Corvallis, Oregon. In 1959, Dr. Wood sold the car to Burton and Beverlee Smith of Portland, Oregon. For the next 59 years, the Smith family enjoyed the car for family outings, tours with the local RollsRoyce Owners' Club and Classic Car Club, and showing it at concours events. Through the years it has been serviced regularly and always maintained properly. In 2018 it was acquired by Monte Shelton of Portland. It is only due to his recent passing that it is being offered for sale.
Today, this Rolls remains in original condition throughout. The odometer shows just 69,470 miles since new, which is believed to be completely accurate. It is remarkably preserved, with only normal wear shown on the surfaces inside and out, corroborating the low, original mileage. It is accident and damage free, with no rust anywhere. Mechanically, it is excellent. The original 40-50 6 cylinder engine #SP55 runs beautifully. Plenty of power. Shifts smoothly. The car recently received a full tune-up and runs starts and drives and stops as would be expected of the world's finest motorcar. New Michelin tires were just fitted and the car is ready for the road.
This Rolls offers a rare opportunity to acquire an original custom coachwork Phantom II on the long-wheelbase 40-50 chassis, with a celebrity history and long-term ownership by knowledgeable collectors who preserved the car correctly for over 60 years. It comes with a box filled with documents and history from new, as well as manuals and service information.