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Rolls Royce – The story of 8 Phantoms

A quick deep dive into the history of Rolls Royce Phantoms before the exhibition launch of Phantom VIII.
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Rolls Royce is all set to roll out its 8th edition of the legendary Phantom in 2017 and for this they have put together a stage that will showcase the historic 7 versions of the Phantom line right from 1925 till date. An iconic bespoke luxury motor piece in itself and a collection of 92 years of its history under a single roof is an event glorious enough. But what makes this exhibition exceptional is the fact that all the Phantoms that will be a part of this stage have been selected owing to their association with history of boundless magnitude.

As Rolls Royce continues to unveil which great Phantoms are taking this journey back to home for the event, on a weekly basis, we thought to brush your history with the complete timeline and stories of some of the selected Phantoms.

Phantom I – 1925: Code named the Eastern Armoured Car, the first phantom was developed with great secrecy. It had a 7.668 litre straight-six engine which could deliver an unswerving 80 mph with complete arrogance. Peterson Museum in Los Angeles has loaned ‘The Fred Astaire Phantom I’ for the exhibition.

Phantom – II – 1929

Though the first car was powerful but a new chassis with a shorter wheelbase improved the handling of the Phantom II. This definitely caught the fancy of Sir Malcolm Campbell who had broken the land speed record in his Rolls Royce Blue Bird which had a staggering 2300 horsepower with a 36.5-litre R Aero engine. His Phantom – II Continental is to be displayed at the exhibition.

Phantom – III – 1935

This was Sir Henry Royce’s last project and he passed away during the development of the unmatched 12-cylinder beauty. Soon after, World War – II started and it took a toll on the cars production. The two incidents combined led to a significant delay in any further enhancements to the Phantom line. Still Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery used 3 Phantom III’s during World War – II. His ‘Butler’ Phantom III which had a sloping windscreen enabled the car to have a 15% more efficient aerodynamics is to be showcased at the event.

Phantom – IV - 1950: The entire concept of the car was revamped with the new design built exclusively as a one-off for ceremonial parades of Prince Philip and the then Princess Elizabeth. The straight eight engine performed great at low speeds. Later 17 more of these were commissioned to head of states and other royal families around the world.

Phantom – V – 1959: There were only 516 of these built over a period of 9 years with one of the exclusive line up being owned by John Lenon.

Phantom – VI – 1968: This is the longest running Phantom ever covering a production era spanning 22 years till the 1990. It also continued its royal connection by being the silver-jubilee car used for celebrating 25 years of Queen Elizabeth II.

Phantom – VII – 2003: This is how we know and aspire the car today as the production was only stopped recently with the end of 2016. Phantom VII boasts of a 453bhp 6.75-litre V12 engine and can go from 0 to 62mph in 5.9 seconds. The detailing on the car in ensuring luxury is exquisite and immaculate.

The exhibition starts on July 27 but opens to the public from July 29 to August 2, 2017 at Bonhams international flagship saleroom on New Bond Street, London.

Mehtab Ahluwalia

27 Jul 2017, 10:00 AM

M is managing enterprise sales business for a software major during the day and has a penchant for panache. Well-travelled, well-read and bringing imagination to life through his lens and pen is what he often indulges in. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram.