Rolls-Royce Phantom IV

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Rolls-Royce Phantom IV
The first Rolls-Royce Phantom IV.jpg
Production 1950–1956
18 produced
Engine 5.7 L and 6.5 L (final three vehicles only) I8
Transmission 4-speed gearbox (from 1954, 4-speed automatic gearbox standard)
Wheelbase 3.683 mm (12ft 1in)
Length 5765.8 mm (18ft 11in)
Width 1955.8 mm (6ft 5in)
Height 1879.6 mm (6ft 2in) (Data corresponding to the first P. IV varies depending on each unit and/or type of coachwork)
Predecessor Phantom III
Successor Phantom V

The Phantom IV was the most exclusive Rolls-Royce model ever built[1] and one of the most elite cars in the history of motoring. Only eighteen were made between 1950 and 1956, seventeen of which were sold - exclusively to royalty and heads of state. Sixteen are preserved in museums, public and private collections.


Kneeling version of the spirit of ecstasy, made between 1934 - 1939 and again in 1946 - 1956. It was mounted on most of the Phantom IV radiators, except in units 15 and 18.

By creating the iconic Phantom IV the manufacturer broke with their earlier decision to cease production of the series of "big" Rolls-Royce Phantoms after the end of the Second World War.[2]

The chassis differed from those of the shorter, production post-War models, the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and the Bentley Mark VI, apart from a larger size and an engine with increased capacity and power, in having an additional cross-member at the centre of the cruciform bracing and 10-stud road wheel mounting.[3]

The engine for this automobile was a derivative of the 8-cylinder rationalized B range of petrol engines (formed by four, six and straight eight). Specifically it was developed from a B80, the last Phantom IVs from a B81, both used in military and commercial vehicles.[4] The P. IV is the only Rolls-Royce motorcar to be fitted with a straight-8 engine, which was powerful but could also run long distances at a very low speed, an important feature for ceremonial and parade cars.

All examples of this unique model were bodied by independent coachbuilders and most of their bonnets surmounted by the kneeling version of the Spirit of Ecstasy, which had been unveiled in 1934 and used in various other models, among them the P. IV.


Royal Rolls-Royce, published on 7th July 1950 in the British magazine The Autocar, where it is described the first P. IV produced and it was said that; "at present no other orders are being accepted." It is the first article written on the model, as well as one of a very few published in the 1950s about it.

There are several theories about the origin of the Phantom IV but most of the authors credit the honour to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[5]

Indeed, in 1948 the Duke heard about a Mark V Bentley nicknamed Scalded Cat fitted with a straight-eight engine and asked if he might test it out. He enjoyed this experimental car immensely and drove it for considerable distances. When he returned it, he apparently murmured about how nice it would be to have a car with performance in the Royal Mews.

On November 15, 1948, not long after Prince Philip had driven the aforementioned automobile, an order came through for a Rolls-Royce motor car for Their Royal Highnesses Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. They placed the order through The Car Mart, Ltd., RR official retailers. Such a vehicle would have to meet their official needs which meant it must be a limousine. Likewise, it would have to have good performance since the Prince wished to drive it himself. The car would be the first RR in the stables. It was originally planned to be the only Phantom IV, a strictly one-off piece.[6]

Rolls-Royce, aware that Daimler had held the Royal warrant to provide motor cars since 1900, intended to ensure that they made the best car they could. The directors had earlier considered making a replacement for the pre-war Phantom III, but were wary that such a large and expensive motor car might not have a market in the weak post-war economy. Production of the new model was not at Crewe but at the experimental Clan Foundry at Belper which had been the home of the motor car branch during the Second World War.[2][5]

Mulliner was selected as the coachbuilder, and they prepared drawings for approval. The chassis, 4AF2, was delivered to them in July 1949 for erection of the body, which was given the codename of Nabha. Prince Philip visited the workshops more than once while it was being built. When the automobile was completed in July 1950 its delivery was accompanied by a public announcement stating the Phantom IV had been "designed to the special order of Their Royal Highnesses, the Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh".

As the car was privately owned when delivered to the couple and was painted Valentine green (deep green with a slight blue secondary hue) with red belt-line striping. The limousine became an official state car of the United Kingdom upon Princess Elizabeth's accession to that country's throne in 1952; as such, it was repainted in claret and black.[5] It remains in the Royal Mews and is still occasionally used for royal and state occasions. For example, the automobile was used at the wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton to carry Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, from Clarence House to Westminster Abbey.

The three automobiles of the Spanish Army in front of the Royal Palace of El Pardo (Spain)

On October 18, 1948, Crewe received an order for three cars for Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain: two armored limousines and a convertible sedan. These heavy cars would have overburdened the Silver Wraith chassis, so the factory decided to build them as Phantom IVs - especially since the Foreign Office suggested that Crewe could not turn down the order.[6]

Without intending it, Franco's triple order (along with the Duke's first commission) probably helped to give a decisive impulse to the existence of this model, as suggested by Martin Bennett in his book Rolls-Royce & Bentley: The Crewe Years and the number 9 September 1990 of the British magazine Classic Cars.[7] All these three historical vehicles are property of the Spanish Army and are still in ceremonial use for the Spanish head of state.

Cars of the Aga Khan III (left) and the Prince Regent of Iraq (right).

The firm decided, apparently unofficially, that the Phantom IV would be reserved for the royalty and heads of state. There was discussion of building Phantom IVs for private customers and coachbuilders' drawings exist, but those orders never came about.[8]

The Phantom IV ceased production in 1956, by this time the model was not consider necessary for state use: Appropriate bodies had been built on Silver Wraiths. So, it was possible to buy a Silver Wraith for state occasions, which worked well for the factory. On the contrary, the hand-built P. IV with each unit customized for demanding customers, was not very profitable. However, contributed to reinforce the image of prestige the British firm was looking for.

Table of the 18 units[edit]

Chassis First owner/user Coachbuilder Type of coachwork Coachwork number/design Original colour Upholstery Delivery date Picture of the unit
4AF2 HRH The Princess Elizabeth, The Duchess of Edinburgh H. J. Mulliner Limousine 7-seater 5034 / 7162 First Valentine green with a red stripe down either side; repainted claret and black in 1952 Front: blue leather, later redone in darl blue cloth. Rear: grey cloth 6 July 1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF2.jpg
Mascot of Saint George and dragon, designed by artist Edward Seago, it is made of silver and can be transferred from car to car—whichever the Queen is riding in. Fitted with a specially modified driver's seat in case the Duke of Edinburgh wished to drive himself. It is fitted with a Lion as the mascot when used in Scotland

On April 10, 1952, the Queen was driven in this car to her first royal engagement—the presentation of Maundy Money at the Westminster Abbey. It carried the Queen to the opening of the British parliament in 1954.[9] Fitted with an automatic gearbox in 1955.

4AF4 Rolls-Royce Park Ward Pick-up truck ~ Grey ~ 1 October 1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF4.jpg
Experimental truck used for the factory. Dismantled in 1963.
4AF6 HM Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran H. J. Mulliner Cabriolet 5077 / 7205 Blue silver White 3 December 1951 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF6.jpg
According to Martin Bennett's book "Rolls-Royce & Bentley: The Crewe Years" (3rd edition, 2011), chassis 4AF6, a 2-door convertible, was returned to Rolls-Royce: The third PIV built, and the second delivered to a customer, was 4AF6 for the Shah of Iran. The coachwork was again by H.J. Mulliner, but the huge drophead coupe body, which was finished in a light metallic blue with white leather upholstery, was by no means characteristic of this coachbuilder. It was the only Phantom IV to have built-in Silver Dawn type headlamps. The car was returned to Rolls-Royce Ltd in 1959, it is believed because it had proved insufficiently stiff, flexing severely on Iranian roads. The outcome was that the company scrapped it, though the body survives on a Phantom III chassis, which perhaps suggests that the fault lay with the chassis. The car made its way to the United States in 1982, apparently from Switzerland,[10] still with its metallic blue paint. Recent photos of it (2010)[11] exist online, but its current whereabouts are unknown.
4AF8 HH Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Hakim of Kuwait H. J. Mulliner Limousine 6 light saloon 5153 / 7206 Beige and royal midnight blue Biscuit July 1951 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF8.jpg
4AF10 HRH The Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester Hooper Limousine 9663 / 8292 Black Fawn 1 September 1951 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF10.jpg
According to Philip C. Brook's article "Phantoms in a Postwar World": "(...) The car was very imposing. It was also huge, and the late HRH Prince William of Gloucester told me that the family sold the car because it was too big. Delivered in 1951, it was sold in October 1960 (...)." It was later featured in the 1966 films Arabesque[12] and Fumo di Londra (Smoke over London).
4AF12 Ernest Hives, director of RR, then sold to HRH The Princess Marina, The Duchess of Kent Hooper Limousine 7-seater 9719 / 8307 Blue, later repainted black Beige 1 July 1951 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF12.jpg
According to Martin Bennett's book "Rolls-Royce & Bentley: The Crewe Years" (3rd edition, 2011), Ernest Hives is said to have used the car only infrequently, preferring his Bentley R Type B226WH. The car was built with a manual transmission but was converted to automatic before being sold to Princess Marina. In the collection of Ion Țiriac, Romania.
4AF14 Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain H. J. Mulliner Limousine 5-seater 5035 / 7181 Black West of England beige 13 June 1952
4AF16 Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain H.J. Mulliner Limousine 7-seater 5036 / 7181 Black West of England beige 4 July 1952 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF16.jpg
Armored. Used by H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain for his ceremonial progress from the Zarzuela Palace to Congress, Madrid, for his Coronation on 19 June 2014.
4AF18 Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain H. J. Mulliner Cabriolet 4945 / 7183 Black Green leather 28 March 1952 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF18.jpg
Armored. Also used by H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain after his Coronation on 19 June 2014 for ceremonial procession from Congress to Royal Palace in Madrid.
4AF20 HH Aga Khan III Hooper Limousine sedanca de ville 9750 / 8293 Dark green with a sideline in light green; later repainted entirely red Red leather May 1952 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF20.jpg
When R. R. sold the car to the Aga Khan they included a clause which said he could not sell the car. However after his death his widow sold it to the Mayfair-Lennox hotel (Missouri, USA), where it was used to pick up guests at the airport but due to the boot short capacity it was resold in 1962. The car was later repainted red. In August 2011, the car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, California.[13] It was estimated to sell for $850,000-1,100,000. Bidding failed to satisfy the vehicle's reserve and it left the auction unsold. It is now in the collection of Ion Țiriac.
4AF22 HH The Prince Talal of Saudi Arabia Franay Cabriolet - / 7183 Cream and green; later repainted black Green leather June 1952 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4AF22.jpg
The only Phantom IV with a French-made coachwork. This one was listed in their works description as a sedanca de ville, but a four-door cabriolet was erected on the chassis instead.[14]
4BP1 HM King Faisal II of Iraq Hooper Limousine 9890 / 8361 Black Red leather 26 March 1953 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4BP1.jpg
Made for his coronation.
4BP3 HRH 'Abd al-Ilah, Prince Regent of Iraq Hooper Touring limousine 7-seater 9891 / 8370 Delivered all-black; later black over white, with black fenders,[15] and then finally the white segments painted dark blue. Light blue leather 26 March 1953 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4BP3.jpg
Built for the coronation of his nephew, King Faisal II. Years later all the royal family members were assassinated in the 1958 coup d'état. At the time of the uprising, the car was at Hooper's in London for servicing, and it was eventually sold in the USA. Displayed at The Royal Automobile Museum, Amman, Jordan.
4BP5 HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom Hooper Landaulet 9941 / 8399 Claret and black Front: blue leather, rear: grey cloth 1 May 1954 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4BP5.jpg
Rolls-Royce retained this car for the exclusive use of the British Royal Family. Finally in 1959 it was purchased by the Queen. This car was built to celebrate RR Golden Jubilee, 1904 - 1954. On permanent loan at the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, Paulerspury, U.K.
4BP7 HRH The Princess Margaret, The Countess of Snowdon H. J. Mulliner Limousine 7-seater 5686 / 7368 Black Beige cloth 16 July 1954 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4BP7.jpg
Purchased by Princess Margaret, she chose Pegasus designed by Edward Seago and made (by Louis Lejeune Ltd., London) as her mascot. Fitted with an adjustable seat in case the Princess wished to drive herself. The car, still in its original black color and featuring its Pegasus hood ornament, was offered for sale by The Real Car Company of Bethesda, Gwynedd, North Wales[16] in 2008. No selling price was published but the company states that it sold for "somewhere around $750,000."
4CS2 HH Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Hakim of Kuwait H. J. Mulliner Limousine 6 light saloon 5724 / 7376 Two-tone green Olive green leather 1 February 1955
On display at the Nethercutt Collection, 15151 Bledsoe Street, Sylmar, CA 91342 (USA). The series C, to which belong only the last three P. IVs had a powered version of the engine with 197 hp compared to 160 hp of the rest. According to a plaque at the Nethercutt Collection, the car cost $25,000 when purchased new.
4CS4 HH Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Hakim of Kuwait H. J. Mulliner Limousine 5725 / 7376 Golden copper and silver Beige August 1955 Galdames (Vizcaya)-Museo de coches antiguos-18-Rolls Royce Phantom IV (1954).JPG
On display at Castillo Concejuelo in Torre Loizaga, Biscay, Spain.
4CS6 HM Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran Hooper Limousine 10177 / 8425 Black then repainted in bordeaux Grey leather October 1956 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, 4CS6.jpg
In 1977 the car was in London for "major repairs and refurbishing". After three years and a reported $25,000 worth of repairs, the car was still in the UK. There was a dispute over who owned the car; the ousted Shah or representatives of the Iranian Embassy who said it belonged to their country.[17] Finally the exiled Pahlavi family lost their claim to ownership in the British courts. Displayed at the National Car Museum of Iran.


  1. ^ (c) 1997-99 K.-J. Rossfeldt, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. "Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Photos, Reports and Books from the archives of K. J. Roßfeldt". Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  2. ^ a b James Carrington. "Rolls-Royce Phantom IV". Darkforce. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  3. ^ Martin Bennett, "Rolls-Royce: The Postwar Phantoms IV, V, VI", p. 18, (2008)
  4. ^ Reginald James Spencer, "Rolls-Royce at Clan Foundry, Belper", Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club
  5. ^ a b c Pigott, Peter (2005). Royal Transport: An Inside Look at the History of Royal Travel. Dundum Press. pp. 125–126. ISBN 978-1-55002-572-9. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  6. ^ a b Brooks, Philip C. (2011). Oldham, Charles, ed. "Phantoms in a Postwar World". The International Club for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Owners Desk Diary (Tampa, FL US: Faircount Media): 35. Retrieved 2014-08-10. (registration required (help)). 
  7. ^ Ramón Roca, "Las Carrozas del Estado Español, Los Rolls Royce Phantom IV", (2014)
  8. ^ Brooks, Philip C. (2011). Oldham, Charles, ed. "Phantoms in a Postwar World". The International Club for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Owners Desk Diary (Tampa, FL US: Faircount Media): 36. Retrieved 2014-08-10. (registration required (help)). 
  9. ^ Buckley, Martin (2004). "1 Pomp & circumstance". Cars of the Super Rich: The Opulent, the Original and the Outrageous. St. Paul, MN USA: Motorbooks International. p. 24. ISBN 0-7603-1953-7. Retrieved 2012-10-05. The Phantom IV was the royal family's official state limousine and carried the Queen to the opening of Parliament in 1954. 
  10. ^ Trenk, Dick (2010-04-06). Bergsma, Joris; Booy, Rutger, eds. "Comes with an armed guard". Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Pre-War Post-War Publishing. Archived from the original on 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2013-08-25. One chassis was rebodied with a six seat convertible body for the Shah and because it had been at the Mulliner Park Ward body works during the overthrow, it survived. It was smuggled into Switzerland and kept hidden. 
  11. ^ Royce Phantom IV 4AF6 at auto show
  12. ^ "Internet Movie Cars Database: 1951 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV Limousine Hooper [4AF10]". Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  13. ^ Info at
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ New York Magazine: 17 March 1980. 1980-03-17. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 

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