The Rolls-Royce Phantom III was the final large pre-war Rolls-Royce. Introduced in 1936, it replaced the Phantom II and was an entirely different car with its V12 engine, 120 horsepower and four-speed transmission.

727 V12 Phantom III chassis were built between 1936 and 1939, with 130 delivered to members of the British Royal Family. It was the only V12 Rolls-Royce until the Silver Seraph was introduced in 1998. The Phantom III was the last car that Henry Royce worked on—he died a year into its development.

The PIII is powered by an aluminum-alloy V12 engine of 447 cubic inches, having a bore of 3.25 inches and a stroke of 4.5 inches. It is a pushrod engine with overhead valves operated by a single camshaft. Early cars had hydraulic tappets, replaced by solid adjustable tappets in 1938. The PIII is unusual for its twin ignition systems, with two distributors, two coils and 24 spark plugs. Wire wheels are fitted as standard, but many cars carry Ace wheel discs which were fitted improve cosmetics.

The car started life in 1937 with a Barker Sedancalette body when sold new to Lady Elizabeth Snaggle of Waterside House in Hampshire, England. Sometime prior to the 1970's (most likely done by Mulliner in the 1950's) the body was modified to an owner-driver sport sedan with a low windshield, helmet front fenders and step-plate running boards. The body number 7135 is stamped on the back of the dash, door caps, floorboards, hinges and most of the wood veneers, including the instrument fascia. Please refer to the attached letter by Steve Stuckey, THE preeminent PIII authority.

Around 1940, it was sold to K.G. Jackman, of Grove Park, London, who kept the car until 1977.

The car was then acquired by John Gabiati, of Northern California. In 1981 he gave the car to his son, Ernie Gabiati, a car collector in Lafayette, California, who kept it in his collection for over 25 years. He drove it on the Al McEwen/Pebble Beach Motoring Classic from Kirkland, Washington to Monterey, California, over 2000 miles roundtrip, without any mechanical issues. This reflects the $125,000 he spent on a complete mechanical overhaul, including rebuilding the engine. This work is fully documented with receipts from the famous Acme Garage in Hayward, California, and John LittIe, eminent Rolls-Royce Phantom III expert, in collaboration with Cincol Engineering, in England. It is not known by whom or when the cosmetic restoration was done, but the car remains in excellent condition.

It was later sold to Jim and Washington State Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, who drove it on a regular basis.

Many Phantom III's were not handsome, but bulky, stodgy limousines. Few have coachwork as stylish and alluring as 3AZ218.

Note: The last few photos show a comparison of our car's original iteration with how it looks today after the much needed re-styling, as well as a very similar Barker bodied PIII.

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