Rolls-Royce assembling its 'greatest Phantoms'
A teaser clip from Rolls-Royce as it gathers together its greatest Phantoms from the past 92 years for an exhibition.
Rolls-Royce is gathering together its greatest Phantoms from the past 92 years to celebrate the arrival of the newest generation.
The exhibition, in Mayfair, London, will welcome in the eighth generation of this most celebrated luxury item.
Over the next eight weeks, Rolls-Royce will announce which seven Phantoms will journey to London from around the world, telling the stories of these motor cars and the historical events they witnessed.
At the end of it all, Rolls-Royce will unveil the new Phantom at the "The Great Eight Phantoms" display.
The first of the vehicles chosen is The Fred Astair Phanthom 1 which has been loaded to the exhibition by its owner, the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.
The luxury carmaker says the Phantom has been choice of vehicle for the world's most powerful men and women over the past 92 years.
"Its standing as the longest existing nameplate in the world of motoring is testament to Phantom's enduring importance to every generation's leaders, from heads of state to generals, royalty to rock stars, stars of the silver screen to titans of industry," the carmaker said.
The Phantom I, complete with 7.6-litre straight six engine, arrived in 1925 after being developed in secrecy, with the project code-named Eastern Armoured Car. This suggested Rolls-Royce was intent on producing the kind of military vehicles used in the First World War, most famously by Lawrence of Arabia. Sections of armour plate were left lying around the factory to confuse curious competitors.
Sir Henry Royce's desire to, in his own words, "take the best that exists and make it better" quickly led to the creation of the Phantom II in 1929, this time with a totally new chassis, which significantly improved the handling, as well as a re-designed engine.
The next Phantom, the third in the line, was to be Sir Henry's last project. He passed away in 1933, aged 70, about 12 months into the development of this next Phantom. The finished model, with its 12 cylinder engine, was unveiled two years later and production lasted from 1936 until World War Two. The final chassis was produced in 1941, although the war meant it did not receive its coachwork until 1947. At the time it looked as if the Phantom was another victim of the war.
In 1950, Phantom IV appeared. The car was originally intended to be a one-off for Prince Philip and the then Princess Elizabeth. However, once seen, a further 17 were exclusively commissioned at the request of other royal families and heads of state around the world. Fitted with a straight-eight engine, it performed superbly at low speeds – essential for taking part in ceremonial parades – and featured the kneeling version of the famous Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot.
The Phantom V was produced between 1959 and 1968 and 516 of this hugely successful model were made for clients including the Queen Mother, governors of Hong Kong, King Olav of Norway and John Lennon.
The long-running Phantom VI (1968-90) carried on the royal connection, notably with the Silver Jubilee Car, a raised-roof version presented to Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 by the British motor industry to celebrate her 25 years on the throne, and later famously used at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
In 2003, a watching world was greeted with Phantom VII, to signal the start of Rolls-Royce's renaissance at his new home in Goodwood, West Sussex. Built at the home of Rolls-Royce. an all-new, state-of-the-art centre of excellence, it arrived with a 453bhp 6.75-litre V12 – enough to propel it from 0-100kmh in 5.9 seconds – and every possible comfort a new breed of discerning luxury consumer could desire.
Exquisite detail includes Teflon-coated umbrellas and self-righting wheel-centres.
Production of the Phantom VII ceased at the end of 2016.