1936 Rolls Royce Phantom III Limousine by Hooper (1936)




The Phantom III was announced in 1936, and the massive V12 engine was clearly influenced by the company's long experience with aero engines.  A total of 710 chassis were made before production ceased at the outbreak of World War 2, and that was the end of this great car, which was the first truly modern design for years, being the first Rolls-Royce to feature independent front suspension; it was made to answer the competition of its multi-cylinder rivals from Europe and America, which were beginning to close the gap between them and 'The Best Car in the World'.  Contemporary road-tests showed a top speed of 95 mph and 0-50 mph in 12 seconds, plus superb handling and comfort.  One report commented, 'Somewhere is an ultimate in the highest expression of road travel, comfort and performance, and the Phantom III is beyond question the nearest approach to it as yet.'

It may be remembered that in 1937 a limousine model was driven from London to Nairobi and back, covering 12,500 miles in 34 day's driving, averaging 370 miles a day, including the Sahara crossing and the dreadful roads of Central and East Africa; apart from problems with tyres, the car gave no trouble whatsoever - not even a drop of water was added to the radiator.

Coachwork, as always, came from a variety of specialist builders, ranging from saloons and Sedancas to the rarer coupés and even two-seater tourers.  In this instance the choice was " By Royal Appointment"  firm of Hooper, who had held a Royal warrant from 1830.

Hooper specialised in the very top end of the market, building the most luxurious bodies possible with cost not taken into consideration.  Their cars were not sporty, they specialised in very big, stately, elegant carriages and the recipe worked.  In their peak year of production, 1936, over 300 bodies were made.

This fantastic motor car was ordered new by Barker and Co. in January 1938 and was subsequently supplied to Hooper for the fitting of its elegant limousine coachwork.  Chassis 3CM161 was shipped straight out to the United States in 1938, being delivered new to the Rolls Royce sales agent J.S Inskip of 57th Street, New York City.  

Later in its life the car fell into the long-term ownership of Mr. R.D. LaPenta, President of the First National Bank.  Mr. La Penta also owned another Phantom III, a stylish Gurney Nutting Sedanca de Ville (also included in this sale).  Together they were well known in Rolls Royce circles in the 1970s as “The LaPenta Pair”.  Both cars were prepared to concours standard and entered it into Rolls Royce Owner’s Club National Concours events in the 1970s.  This very Hooper-bodied car won the National Concours outright in 1973, and the Eastern Region Concours in 1978.                

In the current ownership for now approximately 20 years, 3CM161shows just 20,000 miles recorded, which are believed to be correct.  This stunning motor car is highly original and is described as being in “very very good condition” all round.  We are delighted to be able to include copies of the original build and test sheets, also a current UK MoT and UK V5 registration document.  

This wonderfully elegant Hooper-bodied limousine is now offered in a delightfully condition, presented in black over burgundy coachwork, with a nicely patinated black leather interior.  A rare car in such beautiful original condition, offered for public sale for the first time in many years.

This car is going under the hammer at Coys forthcoming Auction – at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire on Saturday 26th April 2014. Please contact the auction department for more details on 00442086147888

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  • Mileage: 123
  • Year: 1936
  • Doors: 4
  • Body type: Saloon
  • Transmission type: Manual
  • Fuel type: Petrol
  • Colour: Brown

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