Monday, 10 September 2012

Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Coupé

Unquestionably one of the most striking exhibits at the 2012 Windsor Concours of Elegance was this, the 1925/35 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Coupé. Based on the Raja of Nanpara's 1925 Phantom, the original Hooper cabriolet bodywork was replaced in 1935 by this sensational art deco form, crafted by Belgian coachbuilders Jonckheere. Its imposing, oversized grille and Tatra-esque finned, sloping tail are as impactful today as they would have been 77 years ago, and it's the doors that are most eyecatching: earning it the nickname of 'the round-door Rolls', they are elegant ovals with butterflied window glass within. The car won the Prix de Cannes in '35, then made its way to the States where its fate remains hazy. It ultimately ended up as a metallic gold funfair sideshow, before being bought by a Japanese collector in the 1980s for $1.5m - he kept it for 20 years before passing it on to the Peterson Museum in California, who expertly pieced it together for presentation at the 2005 Pebble Beach concours, where it won the Lucius Beebe Trophy for the finest Rolls-Royce. Today it sits alongside the likes of Rust Heinz's Phantom Corsair as one of those cars that you can't quite believe actually exists. A truly phenomenal machine.
Photos by SuckSqueezeBangBlow at the Windsor Concours of Elegance.

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