HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I with Hubbard & Darrin...

Pick of the Day: 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I with Hubbard & Darrin coachwork

Imperial False Cabriolet was one of two built, and both had royal owners


I’ve spent much of this week wandering around the Las Vegas Convention Center’s massive exhibition halls and adjacent parking lots, looking at the latest customized vehicles. But when it comes to customized coachwork, it’s hard to rival the Pick of the Day, a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I by Hubbard & Darrin being advertised on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Pontiac, Michigan.

The dealership suggests that this may be “one of the most important P1 Rolls-Royce” vehicles in existence, including a connection with Italian royalty.  The dealer notes that the Rolls retains its original inline 6-cylinder engine and drivetrain, and it has coachwork by the famed Paris-based but American design team.

That coachwork is made of aluminum, the dealership notes, “utilizing the Sylentlyte technique.”

“The Rolls-Royce Phantom was Rolls-Royce’s replacement for the original Silver Ghost,” the advertisement points out. “Introduced as the ‘New Phantom’ in 1925, the Phantom had a larger engine than the Silver Ghost and used push-rod operated overhead valves instead of the side valves in the Silver Ghost. 

“Phantoms were built in one of two factories, one in Derby, England, and the other in Springfield, Massachusetts. Between the two there were several differences in specifications, which included the wheelbase and the transmissions offered. The US-built cars had a slightly shorter wheelbase than the UK-built ones at 3,721 mm and 3,822mm respectively. The next difference was in the transmission. While both cars got the same single dry-plate clutch, the US-built examples got a 3 speed while the UK built ones a 4 speed.” 

The dealer notes that the cars were produced (in England) as rolling chassis and that coachwork was done by specialists of the buyer’s choice.

“In this period, the choices were plentiful, with marques such as Barker, Park Ward, Bidde and Smart, Thrupp & Maberly, Mulliner, and Hopper all available to UK-based clients, and Chatsworth, Newmarket, and Hibbard & Darrin were available to US-based clients.”

Tom Hibbard had been a co-founder of LeBaron and in 1923 moved to Paris to pursue European clients. In France, he met Howard “Dutch” Darrin, an American designer who had stayed in France after serving as a US military pilot in World War I.

Hibbard & Darrin used the Sylentlyte technique, which formed vehicle body structures from cast aluminum rather than wood, and created the Phantom I Imperial False Cabriolet styling for Rolls Phantom 1 chassis 79OR. The car is one of only two believed to have been done on the long wheelbase chassis, one for King Leopold and the other, this one, for Princess Pageteli of Italy.

“This car benefits from an extensively documented history including service records, manuals, and a build sheet of the car,” the dealer notes. 

“According to the documentation included with the sale of this car, the chassis was completed in 1930 at the Derby, England Rolls-Royce plant. The chassis was then sent to Hibbard & Darrin who were located in Paris, France. The chassis cost $16,650 while the body cost $9,985 bringing the total to $26,635. The completed car was then delivered to Italy where it resided with Princess Pageteli. 

“From here the history gets a little vague but at some point, the car made its way to the US shores.”

The dealer reports the car was restored in 1970 by John Griffin, who “was responsible for the expert restoration of other fantastic and rare Roll-Royce vehicles and his expertise shows in this car as well.”

The car has a tan top, though photos from 1970 show a dark-colored top, the dealer points out.

“Today this very special Roll-Royce P1 presents very nicely for the age of the restoration,” the dealer adds. “There are a few minor things that could be touched up and attended to in order to bring this car to its full potential. Once fully in order, both the special body and its unique construction, ensure that this P1 would be welcome at shows and concourses around the country.”

The car is being offered for $175,000. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.



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