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1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I York Roadster

This 1925 Rolls-Royce New Phantom has a fascinating history. Although Rolls-Royce factory records indicate it was intended to be bodied by Hooper with cabriolet coachwork it seems that intention was never realized. The believed history, recounted in a 2008 letter from Bill Cooke of Wildae Restorations, is that the original purchaser, a Lady possibly named Mrs. Dickinson living on the Isle of Wight, bought it for her husband. He died before the coachwork could be fully specified and in her grief the rolling chassis was left untouched until her death in the mid-Sixties. Hooper records have no entry for coachwork for 25HC, substantiating the oral record. In 1971 25HC was sold by Morris Garage to Rocco D. La Penta on a bill of sale identifying it clearly as a chassis only. In 1974 it was acquired from La Penta by Rolls-Royce stalwart S. Prestley Blake who for several years drove it around his Connecticut property using a temporary seat. Eventually he decided to have the completely original chassis bodied as would have been done when it was delivered in 1925, engaging Wildae Restorations of Braunton, Devon to construct a new York Roadster body, one of Brewster's most sporting styles. Patterned on the sleek Derby tourer, the York roadster's curved doors, side entry rumble seat door, raked windshield and steeply sloped rear deck belie the size of the New Phantom chassis. In the Thirties Brewster bodied only five New Phantom chassis with York roadster coachwork and today only two are known to survive making it one of the rarest and desirable of Brewster's high quality Rolls-Royce bodies. The project took over two years to complete following lines developed from numerous photos of one of the survivors and it is accurate down to the finest detail. Finished in beautiful bronze with a highly polished aluminum beltline accented with red coachlining, it is upholstered and trimmed in brown leather and has a tan cloth top. The lines of the distinctive coachwork are complemented with polished aluminum wheel discs, black wall tires, dual side-mounted spares with tan cloth covers and strap-on mirrors, a trunk rack and generous wind wings on the raked windshield. The Derby-built chassis is right-hand drive with right hand gearshift and the interior is adorned with beautiful wood moldings and instrument panel. 25HC is a dream come true project for Pres Blake, the opportunity to go through precisely the process a New Phantom buyer would have enjoyed in 1925 to realize exactly the coachwork the buyer specified, built to order and the most exact specifications by a premier coachbuilder on a brand new, never-bodied New Phantom chassis. It is proudly identified on the door sills as 'Coachwork by Wildae Restorations Ltd" and its effect can only be equated to the surviving Brewster York Roadsters, one of which sold at auction in 2009 for $946,000, or a Derby Speedster, sold in 2013 for $1.98 million. Built to the highest standards by recognized and experienced craftsman in 1925 and bodied for the first time to equally high standards in the early 1980's, its condition is excellent. It is an automobile for a Rolls-Royce connoisseur who will appreciate its style, elegance and unique history and provenance.


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