Villa Erba

25 May 2013

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Lot 107

1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Tourer by Barker

  • Chassis no. 82OR
  • Engine no. ZG95
  • Body no. 6323

Sold for €268.800

40/50 bhp, 7,668 cc overhead-valve six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with cantilever leaf springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted brakes. Wheelbase: 3,822.7 mm (150.5 in.)

  • An original Rolls-Royce factory test car for 1929, with original engine, chassis, and body
  • Attractive Barker tourer coachwork, restored in eye-catching original colours
  • Fascinating history
  • Winner of the Lucius Beebe Trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Even in the rarefied world of Rolls-Royce, where every car is a reflection of its owner’s whims and is therefore different, a beautiful thing sometimes bears repeating. Thrilled by the success of its 1927/28 Riviera trials car, a Barker-bodied Open Touring on chassis 21UF, the factory produced a second car on factory experimental chassis 15EX, finished to exactly the same specifications, save a rear-mounted spare, and used it as a “propaganda car” (demonstrator) at German shows. Finally, a third and final car was built to the design, identical down to its colour scheme of cream bodywork with polished aluminium bonnet, scuttle and wings, and upholstery, which was in apple green leather. That third car is this car, chassis 82OR.

The car was built in June of 1929, and it was retained by the factory until October 1930, when it passed to original owner H.W. Cullum. The Rolls-Royce then led quite an adventurous existence, appearing in 1956 in Mombasa, Kenya, under the ownership of Mr D.L. Wright. Reportedly, whilst in Mombasa, it was used to chauffeur Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh during a visit to the city.

The Rolls eventually passed to William Proctor, also of Mombasa, who sold the car in 1964 to Pan American Airways engineer Jack Porter. Porter took the Rolls-Royce home to the United States, shipping it to San Francisco in 1965, and for the next 32 years, the car remained a beloved member of the family. It followed the Porters to homes in New Orleans and, finally, Marshall, Texas, where Jack Porter lovingly performed the car’s original restoration.

In 1997, the Rolls was acquired by enthusiasts from London, who performed a cosmetic restoration. The current owner acquired the car two years later and, after researching its history, decided to have the car painstakingly restored once more—this time in its original colours and exactly as it had been when new.

The result of the restoration is still spectacular today, just as it was when it earned the Lucius Beebe Trophy for Most Elegant Rolls-Royce at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1999. Mrs Porter was invited to join the current owner at the concours, and she pointed out two blanked-out holes in the radiator shutters. In Kenya, she recalled that no one ever used keys, but to protect the Rolls from theft, the car had a padlock connecting the two centre louvers covering the radiator. If the car would be stolen, it would overheat after a mile or two and not get very far. “It’s the Mombasa anti-theft device”, she recalled with a smile.

To find a pre-war Rolls-Royce that was specially built by the factory, for the factory, to show off the best of its efforts, is incredible enough. To combine that with original coachwork, beautifully presented in its original colours, and a fantastic provenance and beautiful restoration, makes this spectacular Rolls a very special and rarely-seen automobile today.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more