1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Three-Position Drophead Coupe


  • A beautifully presented Phantom II that started life with a Thrupp & Maberly body
  • Professionally rebodied in 1989 in the style of a Gurney Nutting three-position drophead
  • Presented faultlessly and described by the owner as “superb” in every respect
  • Complete with a fascinating archive of Rolls Royce factory build records and data

The Appeal

The Rolls Royce Phantom II arrived in September 1929 to replace the Phantom. By this time Rolls Royce was experiencing robust competition from cars like the Daimler Double Six and the straight eight Lanchesters. The Phantom II was Rolls Royce’s repost and was the last car designed personally by Sir Henry Royce. It featured a novel underslung chassis which gave the car a lower, sleeker look. Many enthusiasts believe the Phantom II to be the best-looking Rolls Royce of all time. In any event, and despite being launched mere days before the Wall Street Crash, it did well for Rolls Royce. A total of 1,767 went on to be built during its six-year production life.
This superb example of the rare breed is a 1930 model and was exhibited at the Brussels Motor Show of that year in its original Thrupp & Maberly body. This was expertly replaced in 1989 by its current three position drophead coupe after Gurney Nutting. This Phantom II has clearly been cherished across a mere four owners, with its current keeper enjoying it greatly since 2017. As our photographic package conveys, this is a car that wants for nothing and is ready to enhance the life of its lucky new owner.

The History and Paperwork

  • The rolling chassis of this Phantom II rolled out of the Derby factory in 1930
  • We note that the car’s build records show it as a “long type chassis”
  • Two wheelbases were offered by Rolls Royce – 144 and 150 inches 
  • From there the chassis was sent to the Cricklewood works of Thrupp & Maberly
  • Thrupp & Maberly had been coachbuilders since 1740
  • By 1930, however, they were in the ownership of the Rootes brothers
  • Thrupp & Maberly would have fitted a bespoke body
  • We know that the car was then exhibited at the 1930 Brussels Motor Show
  • A plaque is fitted to the car to commemorate this
  • Registration records suggest that the first owner retained the car until 1989
  • At that point the second owners commissioned the rebodying of the car
  • By 2004 the Phantom II was in the hands of its third keeper
  • The current owner acquired the car in May 2017
  • The Rolls Royce is complete with a fascinating paperwork archive
  • This includes a significant number of factory build records and specifications
  • Many of these are handwritten and provide much useful data
  • There is even a dynamometer test results sheet from 1930
  • Some service history up to the mid 1930’s is also present
  • There are some photographs included appearing to show the 1989 rebodying 
  • Other interesting and enlightening correspondence is on-hand

The Interior

  • The interior of the Phantom II is in an excellent restored condition
  • Despite this a peerless level of authenticity has been preserved 
  • The tan leather, American walnut accents and Wilton carpets are exceptional

Rolls Royce have long been regarded as world leading exponents in the crafting of luxurious car interiors. This 1930 Phantom II clearly showcases that this reputation is fully deserved. The quality of the materials, fit and finish in here are sublime.

The front seats feature a single bench squab and two separate but flush fitting seat backs. These are stitched into vertical, padded box pleats for additional support and comfort. There is a charming amount of light patina to the seats, adding to their appearance. The rear bench is similarly trimmed and presents in an equally fine condition. Padded arm rests are built into the outer panels to optimise comfort and convenience.

The American walnut faced dashboard is populated with a number of gauges, switches and control knobs in, seemingly, original order. The gauge set is mounted into an elliptically shaped panel in the centre of the dash. The white on black Ferranti gauges cover road speed, amperes, oil pressure and water temperature. A large clock is also mounted here. One supplemental gauge sits outside of this panel and monitors fuel level in gallons.

The four-spoke alloy and Bakelite steering wheel houses a number of control levers in its hub. These advance and retard the ignition, regulate the mixture and set the limit of the governor. To the right of the wheel are the floor mounted, fly-off handbrake and manual gear selector. Other charmingly period controls include a lever opening or closing the radiator shutters, Autovac and fuel tank taps in the passenger’s footwell and a “starting carburettor” on / off toggle switch.

On opening the doors plaques reading “Rolls Royce Stand – 1930 Brussels Show” become visible. The door cards are finished in tan hide and are complete with deeply chromed door furniture. They are capped with panels of American walnut. The Wilton carpets are in a complementary hue and are leather edge bound. With the hood in place we note  the headlining is finished in light West of England cloth in fine order. A surprisingly practical carpet and hide trimmed luggage compartment is situated between the rear wings and accesses via a steel lid with chromed, adjustable stay.

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The Exterior

  • This Phantom II is finished in exquisite Claret Red livery which exudes sophistication
  • The condition of the exterior is hard to fault with no significant blemishes noted
  • The front end of the Phantom underscores the car’s unofficial “best looking” title
  • The huge external headlights and deep whitewalls are extremely evocative of the ‘30’s

Henry Royce’s underslung chassis design not only lowered the centre of gravity to reduce roll and improve handling but allowed for lower and sleeker bodywork than before. This helps lend the Phantom II a glorious long and low bonnet with the iconic Pantheon grill tucked well down between the wings. The passenger compartment looks compact by comparison and, combined with the sweeping wings and wide running boards provides an architype for 1930’s automotive elegance and style.

The front end of the Phantom II is certainly the dominant feature. The chromed bowl headlights look enormous by modern standards. An equally impressive pair of chromed horns sit underneath these, and a generous single, centrally mounted driving light is fitted. The Pantheon grill looks magnificent, and the Spirit of Ecstasy seems to proudly keep watch from her lofty perch.

The large, rear hinged doors are wide enough to afford access to both front and back and the generous running boards are topped with runners to protect the paint and aid grip. The tan hood appears to be in excellent condition and is compete with a pair of chromed “pram hinges” to help support the ample C panels. This features a roll back section which can be used independently of the landau style rear section, giving the car its “three position” moniker. A chromed luggage rack is fitted to the lid of the luggage compartment and the rear of the car houses a spare wheel in its own painted receptacle.

This amazing looking car rides on a set of body-coloured painted wheels compete with a delicate gold coach line. These are fitted with deep, white walled tyres to further emphasise the typically 1930’s look. All chrome work is bright and lustrous and has recently been re-chromed where required.

The Mechanics

  • The Phantom II is fitted with a 7,668cc straight six petrol engine
  • This is a pushrod, overhead valve unit with a crossflow cylinder head
  • Power is fed to the rear wheels via a four speed, non-synchromesh gearbox
  • Fuel is supplied by the famed Autovac, vacuum powered unit

The engine in the Phantom II was a refinement and development of its predecessor’s engine. As always with Rolls Royce, the focus was on refined progress and the Phantom II was noted for that capability. An Autocar road test of the time confirmed that “there is a certain speed at which it can run with absolutely no sign of machinery being evident.”

Earlier in its life the Phantom II has benefitted from some engine work by renowned specialists, Caldwell Engineering. This work included a restoration to the engine block as well as the cylinder head being replaced. 

Additionally, this car is fitted with an Autovac which can be seen in the engine bay pictures and the controls of which are located in the passenger footwell. The Autovac is a vacuum driven tank and float arrangement that did the work of a fuel pump in earlier Rolls Royces. The rest of the engine bay is a period delight and in excellent condition. Highlights include the original Rolls Royce chassis number plate and the Bakelite lidded fuse box. The underside of the car absolutely belies its 93-year history by appearing to be in an exemplary condition. 

We learn from the owner that the Phantom II has been kept in his private collection in a tiled dehumidified garage where it has been polished every Friday. The car starts on the button and the gear box and axles are in superb condition.


The Phantom II was a great repost to the threat posed by competitors back in 1929 and serves as a fitting design swansong for Henry Royce. The car was good enough to defy the worldwide depression bought about by the Wall Street Crash and sell in good numbers by Rolls Royce’s standards. For some the Rolls Royce Phantom II represents the pinnacle of pre-war production and remain sought after and deeply desired by purists and enthusiasts alike.

This example is very hard to fault in any respect. It has clearly been loved, cherished and enjoyed across a mere four owners. The condition speaks for itself, and it is positively awash with delightful period detail and charm. This is a car that is likely to be admired by all who rest eyes on her and positively adored by those lucky enough to ride and drive in her. Presented here as a rare and fleeting opportunity to become the next privileged keeper of this sublime car.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1930
  • Make Rolls Royce
  • Colour Claret Red
  • Odometer 21,187 Miles
  • Engine size 7668cc
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Bolton, Greater Manc…
  • Location Lancashire
  • Country United Kingdom

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