1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca
Rolls-Royce 1933 Phantom II Continental Sedanca Coupe by Gurney Nutting
130bhp, 7,668 cc, overhead valve inline six-cylinder engine
four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th gears
solid front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs
four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes
The Rolls-Royce motor car was advertised as early as 1906 as “… not one of the best, but the best car in the world”. Of all the Rolls-Royces ever made by engineering genius Henry Royce, many believe that none is more deserving of that title than his masterpiece, the Phantom II Continental.
Based on a chassis with a relatively short 144-inch wheelbase, the Phantom II Continental had stiffer five-leaf springs, and a 12/41 axle replaced the standard 11/41 unit, allowing greater cruising speeds. In addition, the engine's compression ratio was increased to 5.25:1, and its design also featured a lower floor, a low-rake steering column, and Hartford remote-control shock absorbers that were later replaced by Rolls-Royce remotely-controlled hydraulic dampers. Just 1,680 Phantom IIs were manufactured between 1929 and 1935, and of these, only 281 were Phantom II Continentals. The Continental offered higher levels of performance and more sporting driving dynamics, best suited for the enthusiast owner who would likely also choose to drive.. As the name implies, the car was intended for use on “the Continent”, where higher speeds, greater distances, and mountainous terrain were the norm. Capable of reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour, the Continental was a true long-distance grand touring machine just as its name implied. One of the most coveted of body styles for the Continental was the breathtaking Sedanca Coupe, originally designed and built by Gurney Nutting for London Rolls-Royce dealer H.R. Owen. Soon, other custom coachbuilders introduced their own interpretations of this gorgeous body style. The chassis of the example offered here, 32PY, came “off test” on September 16th, 1933, and is reported by Raymond Gentile in his book The Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental to be one of just four original examples fitted with the Sedanca Coupe bodywork by Gurney Nutting. With its close-coupled body, two-position convertible top (fixed rear with open or closed driver's compartment), low windshield, and elegant blind rear quarters, 32PY remains one of the best-looking cars of the period. The car's bonnet extends nearly to the base of the windscreen, and when combined with the many fine vertical louvers, accentuates the visual impression of length, adding to the body's superb overall proportions.Gentile's book shows that 32PY was originally delivered to an owner by the name of Heskett-Wright of London, England, through the main agents H.R. Owen Ltd. Its next recorded owner was Lt. Col. J. O'Hea, also of London, and in December of 1944, 32PY was in the ownership of J. Sutherland, Esq. of Nairn, Scotland, before being sold to Dr. A. Dickson of Aberdeenshire in May of 1948. The car is reported to have remained in the long-term ownership of Dr. Dickson, including some years of storage. During the late 1980s, 32PY was again sold, and appropriately, it was restored by Gurney Nutting. While the original coach-building firm had ceased to exist in the late 1940s, a group of specialist restorers of original Gurney Nutting coachbuilt cars purchased the rights to the venerable name. While details are limited, the car appears to have been thoroughly and correctly restored with the body removed from the frame. The car was then sold to a Florida-based collector in the early 1990s.