A direct descendent of the Silver Ghost, the Rolls-Royce Phantom I was launched in May 1925. It became immediately obvious that Rolls-Royce had gained quite a bit of knowledge in terms of refining the chassis. Sir Henry Royce felt that the Silver Ghost chassis was adequately robust. He was not easily persuaded that the company needed a new chassis. Instead, further improvements were made – in essence, a process of careful technical advancement – which reflected Royce’s belief in evolution rather than revolution. For the most part, the Phantom I chassis was identical to that of the Silver Ghost. It did offer customers two different wheelbase lengths from which to choose: 143.5 inches or the longer 150.5 inches. The Phantom I gearbox was also the same as before, except that the old cone clutch was replaced with a new, single dry plate clutch – more conducive to quieter and smoother operation.
Constructed on the sporting short chassis, the example offered here, chassis no. S 286 RM was delivered by Rolls-Royce on May 4th, 1928 to Eldridge Johnson of Camden, New Jersey with Brewster Pall Mall Phaeton coachwork. He sold the car to E G Callison of Naples, Florida who then sold the Phantom to Dan ‘Hap’ Motlow of Nashville, Tennessee in 1976. Motlow had the Phantom extensively restored and then used it regularly on RROC rallies in the 1980s. Motlow’s collection was sold in August 1993, at which time S 286 RM was purchased for the Ivone Peitz Collection.
Finished in black with contrasting ivory coach-line pin striping and hood accents, along with a tan Hartz cloth top, the Rolls-Royce appears as important and regal as it must have when new in 1927. The interior is trimmed in complementary black leather both front and rear with black carpets; the leather is in good condition overall with no signs of extreme wear. Instrumentation includes the ignition/light switch, ammeter, oil pressure and coolant temperature gauges alongside the speedo/odometer, and a Rolls-Royce eight day Chelsea dashboard clock. The car features a fold-out tonneau windscreen in the rear compartment, dual side-mount spares and a trunk luggage rack.
This most sporting Rolls-Royce has a charming patination that comes only through most careful use and care. Maintained by the collection’s private mechanic since purchase, this Phantom I is a motor car of extremely high quality. Having been on display in the Peitz Collection’s motor house and driven often, this Phantom I has been enjoyed through the years and is now ready to offer all of its wonderful attributes to a fortunate new owner.