Rolls-Royce built the finest automobiles in the world in Springfield, Massachusetts specifically for the U.S. market. Many Rolls-Royce owners maintain that the catalog coachwork from Brewster -- acquired by Rolls-Royce in 1926 -- was superior in construction and design to the British catalog coachwork. Springfield Rolls-Royces were specifically adapted to the needs of the U.S. market, with lefthand drive, radiator shutters, 6 volt electrical systems, 3-speed transmissions, Bijur centralized lubrication, canister oil filter and carburetor air filter with many accessories and electrical devices sourced from high quality U.S. vendors.
The most successful and appreciated Springfield Rolls-Royce Phantom I coachwork was the limited series of sporting open bodies built by Brewster as Derby, Speedster and Ascot tourers and York roadsters. Sharing common features, they epitomized the performance of the Springfield Phantom I.
Owners frequently had an open body for the summer season and closed coachwork for cooler weather. It was accomplished quickly in a process that was far less expensive than owning two separate Rolls-Royces and permitted a favored, reliable, fast and regularly maintained chassis to be used throughout the year.
This 1928 Springfield Rolls-Royce Phantom I chassis S296KR is a prime example of that coachwork interchangeability. It was originally delivered as a Brewster Avon sedan, then during restoration by Derham Coachworks for Alfred Bissell in the early Sixties had this original Brewster-built Ascot Tourer body installed (number7173) which had originally be delivered on chassis S328LR, a combination used by Rolls-Royce in many 'trials' for demonstrations to prospective buyers.
Finished in rich maroon with black leather and a black top, it was owned by three decades by the North family who had acquired it in the late 70's from David Stockwell in Wilmington, Delaware, giving it a known ownership history back to the Fifties with Bissell, Stockwell and the Norths.
In sound and presentable touring condition with cosmetic and mechanical issues resolved continuously this is an opportunity to own one of the most sought-after classic Springfield Rolls-Royces. It will be a welcome participant in all the most enjoyable classic car tours and events and ultimately is an ideal subject for a full concours-quality restoration. Only 48 Springfield Phantoms are believed to have been bodied as Derbys and Ascots. This is a quality example with unlimited possibilities.