1966 Rolls-Royce Phantom V James Young Sedanca de Ville
Lot 36 | Monterey Jet Center Auction | Estimate $500,000 - $700,000
Chassis No. 5VF27
Engine No. F13PV
When the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith was discontinued in 1959, a demand remained for a limousine-worthy chassis. The Phantom V's newly designed 12-foot long wheelbase weighed 5,600 pounds (before a body was fitted) and was powered with the new V8 engine, coupled to the General Motors Hydramatic transmission with servo-assisted braking. The lightest Phantom V cars exceeded three tons when bodied, however the boosted brake power enabled the driver to safely slow and stop the massive car.
A total of 832 Phantom V cars were built. Only 108 of those were fitted with James Young bodies and just three received the Sedanca version of the seven-passenger touring limousine, Design PV23SD. Rolls-Royce specialists rank this as one of the most elegant touring cars ever designed and they are highly favored by most collectors. Despite their great size, James Young managed to create a streamlined body that visually minimizes the largest post-war Rolls-Royce ever built at the time. James Young's design cues included their signature sculpted door handles and fitted body spears that followed the car's lines, dovetailing from front wings to the rear quarters. The James Young-bodied Phantom Vs generally merit the highest respect, and corresponding value. All Phantom models were built to order, therefore no two are exactly alike. Rolls-Royce insisted this model provide the ultimate in passenger comfort and convenience.
5VF27 was the first of the three made and was ordered by London dealer Jack Barclay Limited, for a member of the British Peerage, Hon. Mrs. Dorothy Burns. She took delivery 14 June 1966, and traveled with every comfort and convenience, including a special radio and unique foot rests. Twin picnic trays above fold-out “opera seats” fronted exquisite polished burled walnut cabinets containing cut crystal decanters and tumblers. A fine Smiths clock is centered just under the division window. She ordered the radio to be placed to her right. A fitted center armrest contains a leather-bound vanity mirror, cigarette case and lighter, burl handle brush and a leather notebook with pen. Rear quarter panels featured lighted vanity mirrors.
The next owner of record, Nelson A. Rockefeller, was the grandson of Standard Oil founder, John D. Rockefeller. The former New York Governor was an avid luxury motor car enthusiast. He accepted delivery just a few days before being sworn in as Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford. According to Rockefeller archives, the Vice President had it refinished to his order in Black over Primrose Yellow because he could not obtain a similarly finished Phantom V belonging to Italian industrialist and president of Fiat, Gianni Agnelli. Subsequent owners were Martin Infante, Jr., of New Jersey; Dennis Nicotra of Connecticut, and John Baldwin of California. The consignor commissioned marque specialists Vantage Motorworks of North Miami, Florida to execute a complete restoration of the car, and a return to its original livery of Shell Gray over Black Pearl with tan interior. The now-dazzling restoration was completed in October 2016 and was featured on the cover for the definitive work on Rolls-Royce coachwork, Rolls-Royce, The Classic Elegance.
From its spot-on correct undercarriage to its meticulously presented engine compartment to the exquisitely restored and tastefully accessorized interior, it could be argued this is the finest Rolls-Royce Phantom V in existence. The car is offered with full documentation supporting its rarity and remarkable provenance, and without doubt will be sought after at the world's finest concours and car events, poised to become the crown jewel of its fortunate new owner's collection.