- In excellent condition with recent work by ourselves
- Unique Park Ward DHC coachwork
- Equipped with overdrive
Like all Phantoms, the Continental was built for high-speed touring, offering a breath-taking ability to cover long distances in sublime comfort at high speed.
Of the 1400 Phantom IIs produced, only 280 Continental chassis were made. Royce wanted the Continental to be as small as possible, yet large enough to accommodate a driver, passengers, and their luggage comfortably while touring Europe. Continental chassis were upgraded in several ways with stiffer five-leaf springs, a shorter 12/41 (3.416) rear axle and Hartford remote-control shock absorbers. Furthermore, the cabin floor was designed to be much lower than the standard model. The engine was upgraded with a higher compression ratio powering the car up to 100 mph top speed. Developed from the standard Phantom II short 144″ wheelbase chassis, with an especially low steering column, the Continental allowed coachbuilders to create lower and sleeker bodies. The radiator shell was a bit higher than the standard Phantom II, resulting in the illusion that the car appears to be traveling at high speed, even when parked.
The company touted the car’s power in a mid-1930s advertisement, stating, “The Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental is specially produced for fast touring abroad, where better facilities exist than in Great Britain for high speeds over long distances.”
Of the GX series, only five cars were produced as drophead-coupes, three as closed or fixed-head coupes and one fixed-head, by Thrupp and Maberly for Prince Ali Khan. A high proportion of GX series chassis were close-coupled touring saloons of which 28 GX was fashioned by Hooper and Co. Its build-sheet records indicate it was off-test in October 1930, and delivered to Lillie Hall in May 1931 with completion and guarantees from July 1931.
28 GX was delivered in the summer of 1931 by Bennetts to George Spencer in Lutterworth. He achieved his wealth through his dyeing, hosiery & fabric factories in the Nottingham & Lutterworth area. George kept 28 GX for five years before it was acquired by Gerald E. W. Potter, an Officer in the Grenadier Guards. 28 GX did not stay long with Mr Potter and by late 1936 the chassis cards show that Robert Robertson-Shersby-Harvie was the new owner. Robert was well known for racing in the early days of Brooklands participating in the first BARC meeting of 1914, racing an 8.5 Litre Itala.
The post-war history of 28 GX is relatively unknown, until in 1975 when 28 GX was a bare chassis and acquired by Dr Ryff, a Swiss collector. He intended to create a cabriolet interpretation of another Phantom II carrying Park Ward Close-coupled, fixed-head coupe coachwork, chassis 195 GY. Interestingly it was completed during the same months of 1931 but as a long chassis, to Park Ward design no.3501. According to Rolls-Royce factory records, 195 GY was delivered in 1931 to none other than Mr. T.A. Roberts, the chairman of Park Ward Coachbuilders, for his own use as well as demonstration purposes. If it were possible for the master craftsmen of these famous works to lavish any more attention to detail on their charges, this is a car over which they would have taken extra care. The chassis card notes that the long chassis was specified for “close-coupled coupe coachwork”, an unusual yet very attractive combination. It was also noted as having been set up for continental use and fitted with extra Hartford shocks, with special attention “to be given to performance,” with accessories including a full set of polished wheel discs, twin rear-mounted spares, and a sporting rear-mounted trunk. Clearly, another pseudo-Continental in the making of its coachwork and chassis modifications, but not designated as such being LWB and not of the Continental chassis series.
For 28 GX, the noted coachbuilder, Tony Robinson, took on the project in design and construction, faithfully replicating this striking design with rakish helmet swept wings, footplate running boards, tail-mounted trunk and two spare wheels. Tony Robinson had been producing coachwork of the highest quality for some years for Bentley at Kensington Gardens to concours standards. Robinson had interests in other businesses and eventually decided to pass the day-to-day running of the business to his colleagues. 28 GX was far from finished. The abandoned project was sent to John Foy at Barley, near Royston, where Dr Ryff spent a further £100k in improvements, sourcing parts and getting the final design just as he wanted it, a perfectionist. Dr Ryff decided to sell 28 GX at Bonhams & Brooks auction in 2001, with the car sold to another Swiss collector, Alexander Baeggli, where he drove it back to Switzerland. Yet another perfectionist took over and realising that the engine would benefit from further work, instructed Coldwells to complete a £80,000 concours engine rebuild of the mechanicals and much additional chassis work with Ristes, including the fitting of overdrive, making 28 GX a thoroughly useable as well as a stunning condition car.
All invoices are available to confirm that over £400,000, in today’s terms, has been expended, during the last 20 years. By 2014, Baeggli had his sights on a new addition to his collection, which resulted in 28 GX emerging back in the UK, in the showrooms of Frank Dale and Stepsons; it is there that the car was recorded in the Phantom II Continental book by Andre Blaize. Dr Ryff’s attention to detail in reproducing the drophead-coupe version of Park Ward design 3501 is exacting. It is true that a cabriolet version was never ordered, but the design satisfies both fixed-head and drophead-coupe versions, based on the Park Ward drawings. The design was, of course, only implemented in 1930 on Phantom II long-chassis 195 GY, but apart from the thickness of the B-post pillar at the front of the coupe roof structure it is hard to discern whether the original photographs depict a fixed-head or a drop-head. As the design was created for the Chairman of Park Ward, it is certainly unique in style.
Since the current owner purchased 28 GX in 2018, it has participated in two Concours of Elegance events at Hampton Court and Class events at 20 Ghost Club and RREC Concours D’Etat. Very recent work at Ristes and Jonathan Wood at £20,000 includes fully reconditioning of the cylinder head and upgraded cam followers to the improved design with better oil flow, thereby overcoming the inherent problems of wear during cold-starting.