A Closer Look at the Rolls Royce Phantom II

The Robert Hall Phantom II Continental Sports Coupé (Freestone & Webb, 1933)

With the Silver Ghost and the New Phantom having stormed on the scene and having enjoyed levels of unprecedented success, Rolls-Royce moved forward. In 1929 they saw fit to announce to the public their newest model, which would basically take over for both of the aforementioned officially in 1930. The Phantom II met the public eye and received great acceptance, both for its luxurious provision and for being the final 40/50 model Rolls-Royce would ever make. As one can obviously see, Rolls-Royce had no problem continuing to set the bar for luxury, even with the times being as hard as they were in those days.

Since we recently discussed the New Phantom, or Phantom I, which was the automobile that replaced the original Silver Ghost by Rolls Royce, it seemed only appropriate to continue with the Phantom II. Now a few years have passed, that the Depression has hit. One is forced to wonder how the public reacted to the release of such a fine car in the midst of such hardship. Certainly for some it was well received; for others, well, we can only assume it was not at the center of much celebration. Yet it forged a spot for itself in history, a niche deep enough that new versions of it have been designed and manufactured in very recent times. So, what was it about this car that made such a lasting impression? Let’s take a look at the Rolls-Royce Phantom II.

Sitting in Luxury’s Lap

For some, the Phantom II was nothing more than a New Phantom that had undergone an upgrade. After the Silver Ghost and New Phantom, what would motivate Rolls-Royce to continue their line? Well, to begin with, the prior statement was a great understatement. In reality, the Phantom II was a major improvement over its predecessors. What is really the purpose of upgrading if there aren’t going to be improvements? So, we can begin there.

While there were a couple of versions of this car, one being the Continental, the Phantom II had pretty much the same chassis as those that came before it. It sat a bit lower than the New Phantom, and also had better springs, which were semi-elliptical. A couple of other new features were the twin ignition system and the in-line six motor with a lighter-weight aluminum head. Since this vehicle had such a big engine to begin with, it was important to focus on making improvements as necessary.

Of course, there were other additions and changes. A two-door coupe version was also available which only sat two people. This Phantom II was actually referred to as the sportiest Rolls-Royce ever offered, and that statement is likely very correct. Since this was typically a large, roomy vehicle, even known for limousine models, having a version that only sat two was a stretch that the bigwigs were likely unsure would go over or not. Fortunately, it did fine; buyers didn’t seem to flinch, and even seemed to be drawn to the unique model.

Benefits and Setbacks of the Phantom II

There were several good reasons for people to actually make the decision to purchase a Phantom II, if indeed they could afford to buy a vehicle during those times. For instance, these cars were considered to be very reliable. When Rolls-Royce built the Phantom II, they purchased the parts with the attitude that money was no object, and likely did the same when it came to the construction. Certainly, this played a huge part in their reputation for reliability. Aside from the car’s head-turning aesthetic, it was also a huge draw that it bore the Rolls-Royce name, which was a major sign of wealth and prestige. To be seen driving, or even riding, in a Rolls-Royce was to let others know that you had ‘made it’, and in a time when so many were losing their shirts, this was a big deal indeed.

But, as with any vehicle, the Phantom II had its negative points as well. First and foremost, they were expensive then, and they still are today (even more so). Even if one found themselves able to purchase one, the price of maintenance and maintenance parts was astronomical. Once again, current owners find this to still be true. Finally, this was a big, heavy car that was awkward to handle. But we can assume this was a small price to pay when all other things are considered. If one was, or is, going to own one they likely have already considered this factor and found they really couldn’t care less.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II Specs

Let’s touch base, be it ever so briefly, on this vehicle’s basic specifications.

  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • In-line six engine
  • Front and Rear track at 58.5 inches
  • Natural aspiration
  • Front longitudinal positioning
  • 144 inch wheel base
  • OHV valve train
  • Live axle rear suspension with semi-elliptical springs; Rigid axle front suspension with semi-elliptical springs
  • 7,668 cc displacement
  • Bore & Stroke of 4.25 x 5.5 inches
  • Compression at 4.75:1
  • Front and rear drum brakes with Servo-Assist
  • Steel-over-steel chassis
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Worm and nut steering

Bringing It All Together…

In the Rolls-Royce Phantom II we have a vehicle upgraded in many ways from its predecessors, the New Phantom and the Silver Ghost. With a bigger, more powerful, and lighter engine, as well as the offering of two different sub-models, this car found the popularity it was looking for, even in the face of difficult financial times. Today, it continues to be a popular, but expensive, model for collectors to pursue.

And indeed, it is a beautiful car, but what else does one expect from Rolls-Royce? Yes, prestige is definitely a factor. But to most collectors, this car has become much more than that; it is a must have that has nothing to do with prestige, really. It has to do with the filling in of a spot that no other car can fill. This is the case most every time when it comes to Rolls-Royce models, of course.

Today we still have many of these out there and available for purchase, whether by private owner or through high-priced auction houses. The car will cost a pretty penny no matter how it is obtained, and maintenance will continue to cost the owner. But as anyone who has one, or is pursuing one, will tell you, it is well worth every second and every cent.

So, if you’re looking, you will find what you are looking for. Just keep the pluses and the minuses in mind, because they are important. But we know that if you have set your heart on owning one of these incredible cars you have likely considered all things, so keep going. One thing is certain: it will be worth it in the end to really gain one.

Best of luck to you.

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