Rolls-Royce recognised the importance of the American market, so to capitalise on this demand and avoid the sizable import duty their home-built cars would incur, in 1921 they opened the only Rolls-Royce factory outside of Great Britain in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Initially the Springfield cars were identical to the British built cars, but during the course of production, some of the ancillary items became locally sourced to improve supply and repair across America. Arguably many of the changes made by Springfield were clear improvements and the car became more tailored to suit the American market-place.
Whilst production of the Silver Ghost ceased in Great Britain in 1925, Springfield continued to build the Silver Ghost for a further year. During this final year of Ghost production, the Silver Ghost was produced in left hand drive. It also had increased engine power, a three-speed gearbox with central gear change and lighter steering (to name but a few improvements). S306PL is one such car and being one of the last of the Springfield built cars, it incorporates all of the above.
New car supply in the American market was quite different to the home market. The American client demanded a prompt supply of a complete car so standardised body styles were offered. This standardisation coupled with the mixed and often difficult terrain meant the American built coachwork was of the absolute highest quality.
The Playboy coachwork fitted to S306PL is arguably the most exciting and sporting coachwork offered by Springfield. It is highly practical having a neat and easy to erect hood, coupled with the benefit of wind up windows. The car looks attractive with the hood both raised and lowered. Interestingly, the Playboy style was not offered as an option for new cars and was an option to update chassis, only 15 cars had Playboy bodies fitted.
Chassis No S306PL was completed in August of 1926, fitted originally with a Pickwick saloon body to the order of Mr Kerr of New York. It remained in its original form until 1932 when it was returned to the factory for the Playboy Roadster coachwork to be fitted (body number B7293) whilst still in Mr Kerr’s ownership. Chassis No S306PL has a continuous history from new, having had a total of 10 owners, with the car remaining in the United States until recently. The car was restored during Mr Haber’s ownership (1972 – 1986) and then exhibited at the 1974 RROC Concours, winning first place in the Late Ghost Class. The car was also judged at the 1977 Concours where it placed second in the same category.
Since its arrival in the UK, work has been carried out by Frank Dale & Stepsons as well as ourselves. The work included but was not limited to an engine overhaul, improvements to the steering, brakes and suspension. The car comes with a history file, which includes a US Certificate of Title, related bills and an early picture of the car with Playboy coachwork fitted.
Chassis number S306PL is fitted with twin side mounted spare wheels, a Dickey seat in the rear deck and a tail mounted trunk which contains fitted luggage, making the car ideal for touring. The Playboy Roadster by Brewster was a landmark design, highlighting all that was great about the production of Rolls-Royce motor cars in the United States, with this particular example being one of very few to survive.