8 September 2014

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Lot 118

1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Piccadilly Roadster by Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work

  • Chassis no. S285RM
  • Engine no. 22856

£160,000 - £200,000

40/50 hp, 7,668 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine, dual ignition with coil and magneto, three-speed manual gearbox, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with cantilever leaf springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted brakes. Wheelbase: 3,721 mm

  • One of 20 Piccadilly Roadsters on the Springfield Phantom I chassis
  • Original chassis, body, and engine
  • Decades of recorded enthusiast ownership
  • A well-maintained restoration

Between 1919 and 1931, Rolls-Royce manufactured its automobiles for the American market in Springfield, Massachusetts. These cars were virtually mechanically identical to their British counterparts and could be had with “semi-custom” bodies, which were built under the Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work name by many of the U.S.’s most prominent custom coachbuilders.

Whilst the majority of Springfield Silver Ghosts had formal closed coachwork, the Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work’s numerous contractors produced a series of spectacular open bodies as well. Amongst them was the Piccadilly Roadster, which was built under the RRCCW name by Merrimac Body Company, of Massachusetts. This fleet roadster was distinguished by its light and sporty lines, a jaunty fabric top, and a relatively small passenger compartment with a short tail, which was accentuated by the powerful length of the engine ahead. Approximately 20 of these bodies were built for the Springfield Phantom I.

The Piccadilly Roadster was frequently employed as a second body on used chassis, making the selection to be used from new for chassis number S285RM rare indeed. According to records of the Rolls-Royce Foundation, this car was delivered new on 13 December 1927 to Colonel Joseph Samuels. Colonel Samuels was the founder of Providence, Rhode Island’s The Outlet Company, one of the largest department stores in New England, and he was also a well-known philanthropist and a long-time Rolls-Royce customer.

This Roadster was passed to Frederick Schloss on 3 September 1929, and it was returned to J.S. Inskip, of New York, for resale 10 years later. The Rolls-Royce Foundation documents, copies of which are on file, indicate continued ownership by such enthusiasts as Walter Hanson, Hathaway Weekes Scully, Ted Bartlett, and Lewis L. Smith, and it was even featured with then-owner Oliver Merrill in the February 1963 issue of The Flying Lady. It eventually came into the hands of Barry Randell, of Sparta, New Jersey, and was restored to its present condition, which earned it an award at the 1998 Annual Meet of the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club.

This car is finished in rich maroon with black wings and maroon wire wheels, and it is equipped with numerous accessories, including the iconic “Springfield” Bausch & Lomb headlamps and rolled aluminium bumpers. It also features well-kept black leather upholstery and a luggage rack with a matching trunk. Interestingly, there are small doors to the rumble seat, allowing for easy entry and exit in a dignified fashion, which is typical of this style. According to the owner, the Piccadilly Roadster remains in excellent mechanical shape, and it would be ideal for either continued concours appearances or for rallying with any of the Rolls-Royce clubs on several continents.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more