• Wonderfully sorted, late-specification Phantom II
• Beautifully presented and maintained example in great colors
• Body originally commissioned by the founder of Rio’s Copacabana
• Recognized as a Full Classic™ by the Classic Car Club of America
7,668 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine, 120 HP (Est.), 40/50 taxable HP, four-speed manual gearbox, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, four-wheel mechanical drum brakes with servo assist; wheelbase: 144”
As the successor to the Phantom I in 1929, the “New Phantom,” retrospectively named Phantom II, was in fact a radical redesign by Rolls-Royce standards of the era and it marks the last series designed and developed under the watchful eye of company co-founder Henry Royce. Much lower than its predecessors and purpose-designed to suit to the new crop of sportier body styles that were becoming available from custom coach builders, the Phantom II ushered in a new era at Rolls-Royce with its sophisticated chassis design, masterfully updated 7.7-litre engine, and revised four-speed gearbox with synchromesh third and top gears for driving ease. An unqualified Classic Era icon, the Phantom II was highly exclusive with only 1,681 examples produced in all between 1929 and 1935.
The origins of this splendid example are rooted in the spectacular success of Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Palace, the beachfront hotel established by Octavio Guinle in the 1920s. A devotee of French design, Guinle chose Henri Binder, the renowned French coachbuilder from Paris, to build the body for his new Rolls-Royce Phantom II. Renowned as one of France’s top coachbuilders, Henri Binder’s expertise was rooted in magnificent horse-drawn carriages and he successfully transitioned to motorcars as they emerged in the late 19th Century, building bodies for the finest chassis designs of the era.
Mr. Guinle’s Phantom II was numbered 103GY and sold to him via Oscar A, Cox & Co. of London. The chassis was sent to Binder in Paris for the fitment of its sporting yet elegant Drophead Coupe body. Following completion, the Phantom II was shipped to Rio, where it remained with Mr. Guinle until 1938. Three British owners followed, with the car subsequently exported to the United States, where it passed through the Blackhawk and Imperial Palace Collections, and then Dr. Donald Vesley.
Dr. Vesley also had the fully restored PII chassis numbered 162SK (ordered new by the Marquess of Queensbury), which carried the refinements that benefited such later-production chassis. 162SK was originally delivered with a formal Sedanca deVille body by Windovers which had long since been separated from the chassis. Considering his options, Dr. Vesley decided to combine the restored body and engine of 103GY with the improved long-wheelbase 162SK chassis. Accordingly, the magnificent Binder Drophead body was mounted to the 162SK chassis offering a more refined suspension, central chassis lubrication, and improved handling for more enjoyable driving dynamics. Following Dr. Vesley, the Binder Drophead on 162SK passed to Bill Lassiter, then Barry Cooney, and then Mark Thomas in 2001.
As now offered from the current owner, 162SK continues to benefit from its quality and thoughtfully completed restoration, with the long, sleek, and sensuous Binder Drophead Coupe body particularly attractive in its black finish and fabric top. A subtle red pinstripe provides a dash of contrast, carried over to the red interior. Further accented by the downward-sweeping rear bodyline and three-position top, 162SK is a study in effective design and execution, including the rear spare-tire rack and integral trunk. The engine compartment is also tidy and presentable, with the engine continuing to benefit from an overhaul during 2000. It is not uncommon for the top prewar Rolls-Royce chassis to wear several different bodies in their lifetimes, a fact well understood by committed marque enthusiasts, and copies of the factory build records and documents are on file for 103GY and 162SK, plus correspondence. In addition to its sporting open coachwork and wonderfully sorted and restored late-specification chassis, this Phantom II is an exemplary touring vehicle, eminently suited to RROC and CCCA events, where it will certainly be enthusiastically received. Crafted for a connoisseur with exceptional taste, this gorgeous Binder bodied Rolls-Royce embodies the very essence of both elegance and silent speed.
1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Drophead Coupe