Rolls-Royce of America was incorporated in 1919 in the precision manufacturing center of Springfield, Massachusetts to assure the company’s ability to meet the rapidly growing requirements of the American market, and continued until 1931. The earliest automobiles constructed in Springfield by Rolls-Royce were the already-heralded Silver Ghost model, which was superseded by the New Phantom in 1925. The New Phantom subsequently became known worldwide to as the Phantom I following the Introduction of the Phantom II in 1929. Initially, Phantom I chassis were assembled in Springfield from parts manufactured in England. In time, however, Rolls-Royce of America engineered and produced complete chassis adapted to the American market. Refinements gradually introduced to Springfield-built Rolls-Royces included left-hand drive, modified suspension providing a smoother ride, American Bosch or Westinghouse 6-volt electrical systems, a fuel pump replacing the British “Autovac” system, and American-style drum headlights and bumpers. Many Rolls-Royce enthusiasts believe the American cars’ chassis and bodies are superior in build quality to the British examples despite a successful blending of the best of British and American designs, and these Rolls-Royces are prized today among collectors.
This remarkably authentic 1928 Springfield Rolls-Royce Phantom I includes the original chassis, engine and bodywork. The imposing 146.5 in. chassis features a solid front axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and a live rear axle with cantilever leaf springs, together with four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Power is provided by a substantial 7,668 cc (468 cu. in.) overhead valve six-cylinder engine of the type Rolls-Royce’s pre-war reputation for silence and refinement was built upon. Beginning in 1928, the PI engine was also equipped with an aluminum cylinder head. The Phantom I engine is known for its tremendous low-speed torque, as attested to by the observation that the automobile could accelerate from a walking pace to top speed – all in top gear.
Most Springfield Rolls-Royces were bodied with semi-custom designs from Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work or Brewster, with the Brewster bodies being the most sought after. This Brewster Newmarket Convertible Sedan is one of only 67 produced, showing the easy elegance that Brewster bodies were famous for. The top and sealed glass windows predicted the beginnings of a preference for weatherproof closed cars that would progress throughout the following decade, while still providing all of the benefits of open air motoring when desired. An older restoration, this example has a known history from new. The presentation of the black body, with polished aluminum bonnet and wheel disks and nickel-plated brightwork is simply stunning. The aluminum bonnet and wheel discs have been polished to brilliant finish, as well as the polished nickel plating on the headlights, tubular bumper, opening windshield frame and other trim. The varnished wood running boards and stainless steel trim are gorgeous, and the black cloth top and top boot are brand new.
This impressive Rolls-Royce is a beautiful and distinctive automobile, at home on a show field or touring. The images show the full and glamorous appeal of this very special Rolls-Royce.