Rolls-Royce Phantom I

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Rolls-Royce New Phantom
'27 Rolls-Royce Phantom I (Hudson).JPG
Springfield MA Phantom limousine 1927
ManufacturerRolls-Royce Ltd (UK)
Rolls-Royce of America (US)
Also called40/50 Phantom Phantom I
3,512 produced

2,269 at Derby

1,243 at Springfield
AssemblyDerby, England
Springfield, Massachusetts[1]
Body and chassis
ClassLuxury car
Body style4-door saloon
LayoutFR layout
Engine7,668 cc (468 cu in) I6
Transmission3-speed manual
4-speed manual
Wheelbase143½ in (3644.9 mm)
US LWB: 146½ in (3721.1 mm)
UK LWB: 150½ (3822.7 mm)
PredecessorSilver Ghost
SuccessorPhantom II

The Rolls-Royce Phantom was Rolls-Royce's replacement for the original Silver Ghost. Introduced as the New Phantom in 1925, the Phantom had a larger engine than the Silver Ghost and used pushrod-operated overhead valves instead of the Silver Ghost's side valves.

The Phantom was built in Derby, England, and Springfield, Massachusetts, in the United States. There were several differences in specification between the English and American Phantoms.

The Phantom was replaced by the Phantom II in 1929. The designation Phantom I was never used by Rolls-Royce; it is a construct of enthusiasts applied to help distinguish it from other generations with the same model name.


Derby New Phantom tourer by Windovers 1927


Introduced in 1925, the New Phantom was Rolls-Royce's second 40/50 hp model. To differentiate between the 40/50 hp models, Rolls-Royce named the new model "New Phantom" and renamed the old model "Silver Ghost", which was the name given to their demonstration example, Registration No. AX201.[2] When the New Phantom was replaced by another 40/50 hp model in 1929, the replacement was named Phantom II and the New Phantom was commonly referred to as Phantom I to this day. While Rolls-Royce themselves did not use the term Phantom I until their recent acquisition by BMW Group, New Phantoms were referred to as such in period and are commonly called Phantom I by enthusiasts, concours events, and owner's clubs.[3]


One major improvement over the Silver Ghost was the new pushrod-OHV straight-6 engine.[3][4] Constructed as two groups of three cylinders with a single detachable head,[3] the engine was described by Rolls-Royce as producing "sufficient" power.[4] The engine used a 4¼ in (107.9 mm) bore and undersquare 5½ in (139.7 mm) stroke for a total of 7.7 L (7,668 cc (467.9 cu in)) of displacement. In 1928, the cylinder heads were upgraded from cast iron to aluminium; this caused corrosion problems. The separate gearbox connected through a rubberised fabric flexible coupling to the clutch and through a torque tube enclosed drive to the differential at rear, as in the Silver Ghost.[citation needed]


The New Phantom used the same frame as the Silver Ghost,[3] with semi-elliptical springs suspending the front axle[5] and cantilever springs suspending the rear axle.[5][6] 4-wheel brakes with a servo-assistance system licensed from Hispano-Suiza were also specified,[3][4][7] though some early US models lacked front brakes.[citation needed]

Differences between US and UK versions[edit]

Like the Silver Ghost, the New Phantom was constructed both at Rolls-Royce's Derby factory in the United Kingdom and at a factory in Springfield, Massachusetts in the United States.[3][4] The US factory produced New Phantoms from 1926 to 1931.[4]

Principal differences between the US and UK models included wheelbases and transmissions. Both versions were specified with the same standard 143½ in (3644.9 mm) wheelbase; the long-wheelbase U.S. model was 146½ in (3721.1 mm) and the UK 150½ (3822.7 mm).[citation needed] Both versions used a single dry-plate clutch,[citation needed] with US models equipped with a centre change 3-speed transmission and UK a 4-speed.[4]

Other minor differences include fuel gauge placement, with the UK New Phantom's at the tank but some US models having one on the dash, and manual central lubrication systems. The UK Phantom employed Enots nipples, some times as many as 50, which required attachment of a special Enots oil pressure gun and needed time-consuming service at 500, 1000 and 2000 mile intervals;[citation needed] the US model used a centralized Bijur system which lubricated all the oiling points with a stroke of a single pump.[5]


Wooden coachwork on a Phantom I

Only the chassis and mechanical parts were produced by Rolls-Royce. The body was made and fitted by a coachbuilder selected by the owner. British coachbuilders who produced bodies for New Phantoms included Barker, Park Ward, [Windovers], Thrupp & Maberly, Mulliner, Hooper. Continental houses such as Saoutchik, Henry Binder and Kellner in Paris, Erdmann and Rossi in Berlin, Baltasar Fiol in Spain and the Italian coachbuilder Zagato also produced coachwork for the New Phantom.

American Phantoms could be bought with standardized bodies from Brewster & Co., which was owned by Rolls-Royce after 1926, and additional coachwork choices were available from Fleetwood. Several coachwork choices were listed, or just a plain chassis could be provided for US$13,335 ($210,440 in 2021 dollars [8])[1] A fendered chassis was also available, while coachwork choices were listed by different city names in England: These include the Derby Touring Sedan, Ascot Phaeton, York Roadster, Huntington Limousine, Henley Convertible, Avon Sedan, Newmarket Convertible Sedan, Chatsworth Town Car, and the French city of Trouville Town Car. A convertible sedan with coachwork from Hibbard & Darrin was also offered, as were other French-made bodies by the same coachbuilder. They were shipped to the United States and subsequently mounted on Springfield Phantom chassis.[1]


  • New Phantom (UK): 2,269[9]
  • New Phantom (US): 1,240[4]


  1. ^ a b c Kimes, Beverly R. (1996). Clark, Henry A. (ed.). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1945. Kraus Publications. pp. 1307–1308. ISBN 0873414780.
  2. ^ The Rolls-Royce, Wood, p. 9
  3. ^ a b c d e f The Rolls-Royce, Wood, p. 10
  4. ^ a b c d e f g The Story of Veteran & Vintage Cars, Posthumus, pp. 101-102
  5. ^ a b c Brooks, Philip C. (2009). Carpenter, Rhonda (ed.). "Sir Henry's Final Masterpiece Or How Glenn Ford Pushed a Button and Won the War". The International Club for Rolls-Royce & Bentley Owners Desk Diary 2009. Tampa, FL USA: Faircount: 34–41. All in all, the Phantom I was a more modern car all around, and the Springfield Phantom I even had the Bijur centralized chassis lubrication system
  6. ^ The Story of Veteran & Vintage Cars, Posthumus, pp. 115
  7. ^ Motoring Memories - Hispano-Suiza, Vance
  8. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  9. ^ A-Z of Cars of the 1920s, Baldwin