In 1929 the arrival of the Rolls-Royce Phantom II set new standards for others to follow. It was a vehicle specifically designed with the chauffeur driven passenger in mind. At the time the only home produced rival to compare with the Phantom II was the Bentley 8 Litre, which was a faster vehicle but was thought to be far less chauffeur friendly, with considerably heavier steering and a gearbox which was more difficult to operate. During the development of the Phantom II, the majority of the long distance testing was carried out on the long straight roads surrounding Chateauroux in France. This fact and Mr Henry Royce’s many journeys between the South of England and the South of France no doubt opened his eyes to the type of motoring not available upon England’s narrow and windy roads. With long distance high speed motoring in mind, the Phantom II Continental chassis was created, the project being personally overseen by Henry Royce with assistance from Ivan Evernden. The whole car, including originally its style of coachwork was conceived by Royce, to be a more sporting and compact four seater owner/ driver motor car when compared to the long wheelbase standard Phantom II. Just 281 such chassis were produced and they differentiated themselves from their standard cousins with thicker springs and a 6 inch shorter chassis, measuring 144 inches. The steering column was optionally lowered to what was known as the “F” rake position, and the floor was also lowered to allow more rakish coachwork to be fitted. Mechanically speaking the Continental was fitted with a higher ratio back axle (12/ 41) which provided brisk acceleration and higher top speeds at lower revolutions. Royce decided that the use of 5 thicker leaf springs as opposed to the standard 9 or 10 would save weight and allow for a smoother ride if the road surface was less than perfect. To assist control of the ride additional shock absorbers were also added to the standard hydraulic units, which were controllable from the driver’s seat in the later examples. With lightweight coachwork being fitted the final result was a motor car capable of carrying four people in comfort, at high speeds, for many hours at a time over great distances. It is rightly considered by many, including ourselves, to be one of the finest pre-war Rolls-Royces ever built.
Chassis No 62GX was originally completed in early 1931, fitted with two-seater drophead coupe coachwork by Carlton. It was fitted with a dickey seat to the rear of the body as well as a golf club hatch and compartment.
Carlton built just nine bodies for the Phantom II Continental chassis, each being different from the next, making Chassis No 62GX a unique motor car.
The car was delivered new to Major J Coats of London in early 1931 and was purchased by Mr Frank Rowland in 1938. During the 1970’s it was owned by Mr Bidwell and then found its way to the US when owned by Don Williams of the Black Hawk Collection in California. The present owner purchased the car in late 1994 and shipped it to Japan, where it still resides in his large collection. It has participated in numerous events during his ownership, winning Best of Show at the 2007 Tokyo Concours d’ Elegance. It was also invited to be shown at Pebble Beach in 2021where it was widely admired.
A truly beautiful example, ready for touring or showing, or both.