- Chassis # 230 AJS
- Engine # N85U
- Restored By Marque Specialists D&D Classic And Dennison-Jayne Motors
- Comprehensive 5-Year Restoration Completed In 2004 & Totaling ~$358,000
- 1 of 3 With Brewster St. Martin Coachwork
- Original Engine, Chassis, & Body
- Tastefully Appointed With Minor Driving Upgrades
- RROC Award Winner Complete With Restoration Receipts & Build Record
When it comes to Pre-war elegance, there are few marques that tick the boxes as well as Rolls-Royce. With their iconic “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood ornament, powerful but smooth engines, fantastic chassis, and elegant good looks, the prewar Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp models embody the era exquisitely. Today, these 40/50 hp models, especially the Phantom II models, remain extremely useable and provide an excellent way to experience the world of elegant pre-war motoring.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom II was introduced in 1929 to build upon the successful Phantom I, also referred to as the “New Phantom”, which was released in 1925. The Phantom II would be the last of the now-infamous 40/50 hp models. The Phantom II utilized the same engine as the Phantom 1, a 7.7 liter pushrod overhead valve straight-six, but added a crossflow cylinder head, improving both power and smoothness of delivery. The engine was now bolted directly to the 4-speed manual transmission and power was transmitted through an open driveshaft, a hypoid bevel final drive and Hotchkiss type drive, which replaced the torque tube and remotely mounted gearbox which was used on the earlier 40/50 hp Rolls-Royce models. The chassis was all new, now featuring both front and rear axles mounted on semi-elliptical leaf springs. This revised chassis allowed the overall height of the cars to be reduced by almost 9 inches, providing for both sleeker looks as well as a better handling car. The 4-wheel servo-assisted brakes from the Phantom 1 were carried over to the Phantom II and a Bijur centralized lubrication system was included for ease of maintenance. The standard wheelbase on the Phantom II was 150 inches with a 144 inch, short wheelbase option dubbed the Continental, also being offered. All Phantom II chassis, including ones destined for the United States were produced in the Derby factory since the Springfield, Massachusetts factory was closed with the end of Phantom 1 production in 1931. Just like the Phantom 1, all of the Rolls-Royce Phantom II models were built as bare chassis and then delivered to coach-builders for finishing. Body styles varied greatly across the approximately 1,693 examples produced, with elegant coachwork being put in place by the likes of Park Ward, Brewster, Thrupp & Maberly, Mulliner, Carlton, Henley, and Hooper.
This particular Phantom II, chassis #230AJS and engine #N85U, is an RROC award-winning car which still wears its original St. Martin body by Brewster and retains it original engine and chassis. 230AJS was produced in 1931 and shipped to the U.S. on 5/9/31. It was then bodied and delivered to (what we believe) was its first owner, a Mr. Charles E.F. McCann of New York, New York. Mr. McCann was a New York lawyer who married Helena Woolworth, the eldest daughter of Frank Woolworth, founder of the now famous retail company. Mr. McCann was also a New York socialite, with a long list of high society club memberships and affiliations. According to the factory build sheet, chassis 230AJS was destined to have a Huntington body which are often larger, limousine types. However, like many Roll-Royce of this era, by the time the chassis made its way to the United States, its original buyer opted for a more elegant Brewster St. Martin body instead; according to Brewster build records. There were only 3 Phantom II chassis fitted with the St. Martin body style and it is believed that 230AJS is the only remaining example of the 3 produced. Much of the early life of this car is unknown, with the records of its ownership lost to time, however, the current owner and consignor purchased the car in 1997 from Harry Woodnorth Automobiles in Chicago, Illinois. Shortly after purchasing the car, it was sent to Dennison-Jayne Motors of West Chester, Pennsylvania for an open checkbook restoration in conjunction with D&D Classic of Ohio. Receipts from the restoration are detailed and numerous, with the final total coming out to a staggering $385,000 (receipts are viewable upon request and restoration summary can be examined in the “View Documents” tab). During the restoration, the car was fitted with tasteful upgrades to improve the drivability of the car, including power steering, power brakes, and an analog gas gauge. All of these upgrades were made in a fashion that they are easily removable should there be a desire to return the car to its factory form. The restoration was completed in 2004 and today the car remains in fantastic shape. There are some minor signs of aging commensurate with car that has been toured and shown, but the paint, interior and brightwork remain in excellent shape throughout. The car is mechanically very sound and is immediately ready to be thoroughly enjoyed. Included with the sale of this car are an immense amount of extremely detailed restoration records as well as the build record for the car.
body and paint
Despite the restoration going on almost 20 years old, this PII Rolls-Royce still presents remarkably well. The paint retains a smooth and consistent finish around the car with great color and depth. As can be expected from a car that has been utilized and enjoyed lovingly over the years, there are some minor signs of wear scattered throughout the body. There is some cracking of the paint where the windshield surround meets the cowl as well as some scuffing on both sides of the cowl that looks like contact from the careless lifting of the bonnet halves. There is also some chipping on the painted edges of the folding top that covers the driver's area of the vehicle. In addition, there is some cracking paint on the trailing edge of the rear driver's side fender where it looks like it may have rubbed or bumped against something. There is also some swirling in the black paint of the fenders, but it's only noticeable in certain areas under direct light. The body itself is smooth and straight with no signs of underlying or previous issues. Both sides of the hood fit nicely, with proper gaps. The rest of the body and door gaps all appear consistent and tight, just as you would expect from a high-quality restoration such as this. The wooden and chrome-trimmed running boards remain in excellent condition with a smooth and even finish to the wood and bright shiny trim.
glass and trim
The glass throughout the car remains remarkably clean and clear with no signs of delamination to be found. The brightwork on the car remains in excellent condition, showing some minor swirling but a good shiny finish throughout. The painted Rolls-Royce logo on the front bumper is showing some chipping of the paint, however, this is an easy fix should someone desire to touch it up. The headlights remain clean and free of pitting. They have begun to show some minor yellowing of the glass around the edges of the main headlights and on the markers located high on the fenders. The vinyl-like material that covers the top of the main cabin of the car, as well the removable driver's section roof, remains in excellent condition with minimal fading and no cracking or damage.
The wheels throughout the car remain in excellent condition. The silver paint which has been applied to the spokes and rims remains smooth and consistent with some very minor imperfections here and there. The chrome-plated Rolls-Royce center hubs have a clean and bright finish all around, including the two side-mounted spares.
Given that the restoration took place almost 20 years ago now and the car has been utilized and enjoyed over the years, there are some minor signs of wear which including some small sections of cracking or chipped paint. For a better idea of the flaws present please thoroughly review the exterior photos located above.
seats and surfaces
The thorough and complete nature of this fantastic restoration is just as evident on the interior of the car as it is on the exterior. The whole of the interior of this PII remains in outstanding and highly correct condition. The seats, both front, and rear are properly finished in grey leather, with the appropriate level of stuffing and fitment, and show extremely minimal signs of use. It should be noted that during the restoration, the positioning of the seats was adjusted slightly to allow for more legroom, a sensible upgrade that is impossible to notice. The doors cards are trimmed similarly to the seats and also remain in outstanding condition. The grey carpets fit very well, retain excellent color, and show only minimal signs of use in the form of some light staining in high traffic areas. The wood trim located tastefully thought the cabin, both front, and back, retains an excellent lacquered finish with a beautiful and smooth grain. The rear passenger cabin of the car appears as if it saw extremely minimal use since restoration and remains in exquisite condition. Much of the hardware, such as door handles and window winders appear to original, and such do show some minor pitting but all are clean and very presentable. All the gauges retain clean faces with bright and legible numbers and figures. White designation lettering on switches and gauges appears bright and easily legible and all the switches, toggles, and buttons appear in good condition.
functionality and accessories
This car was treated very lovingly both during and after its restoration and that caring nature comes through in the well functioning nature of all aspects of the interior of the car. The doors fit well and close with ease. The windows roll up and down in a smooth fashion. The floor-mounted shifter moves easily through its range of motion. Both the front map lights as well as the gauge lights illuminate as they should. It appears that all buttons, toggles, and switches located on the dash and steering wheel function as they should. The rear-mounted dome lights in the passenger compartment illuminate with the switch tucked into the passenger side armrest. During the restoration, analog fuel and tachometer gauges were added for ease of driveability. These have been mounted in a way to make them easily removable should future owners desire to return the car to its factory form.
engine bay and trunk
The engine bay of this PII remains in excellent and highly correct condition. Some of the metal components show signs of their original nature in the form of very minor pitting present but are all in clean and tidy condition with no signs of issues. Painted surfaces remain smooth and consistent. Wiring and hoses appear looked after and in good shape. The exhaust headers show some pitting around the area where they connect to the cylinder head but remain clean and tidy. Proper number stampings and tags are located where they should be. Power steering was added during the restoration to ease in modern driveability but can easily be removed should future owners desire to return the car to its factory configuration. Overall, the engine appears clean and tidy, showing no outward signs of mechanical issues.
This PII features a rear-mounted luggage trunk nicely finished in matching vinyl-like material to the top of the car. It remains clean and tidy with bright chromed trim work and latches.
The underside of the car shows some minor signs of use but overall remains in excellent and clean condition. Painted surfaces show a smooth finish with minimal chipping or flaking. The leather gators on the leaf springs are tight and clean with no rips or tears. Braking and suspension components appear well looked after. The underside of the engine as well as the rear differential shows some road dirt and oil accumulation, but nothing out of the ordinary. The exhaust system shows in very good order with no corrosion present.
This PII has been kept in excellent mechanical condition and it shows quite clearly as the big 7.7 liters straight-six engine fires easily to life and settles into a smooth and consistent idle. During our brief testing, the car made smooth and reliable power with no evidence of flat spots or stumbles in acceleration. While not quick by any sense of the word, the engine makes “ample enough” power to easily propel this large automobile down the road making it actually very useable, even in today's modern traffic.
The transmission appears to shift smoothly between gears. Naturally, with gearboxes of this age, care must be taken when moving between gears to match RPMs and prevent grinding, a skill easily implemented with a bit of practice. The clutch feels strong with proper pickup and grab and seemed to hold power without issue.
brakes and suspension
The brakes have a tall order to complete in bringing this large PII to a stop, however, they appear to be wholly up to the task, bringing the car to a smooth and controlled stop with no issues to speak of. The suspension seems to be all in order, providing a smooth and comfortable ride with no odd noises or road manners to speak of.
The tires are Firestone Deluxe Champion all around, including the two side-mounted spares. All 6 tires located on the car appear to be in excellent condition with plenty of tread and solid sidewalls.
Driving a Rolls-Royce of this era is an experience that every car person should have at some point in their life. The size and grandeur of these cars provide the ultimate in road presence but despite their large nature, these 1930’s era Rolls-Royce drive surprisingly modern and can easily be used on today's roads, keeping up with traffic fairly well. This particular Roll-Royce PII has been fitted with power steering, making those tight and finer turns a breeze. The big 7.7 liter straight six, provides a subdued but wonderfully mechanical and visceral sound. The ride quality is surprisingly comfortable given the outdated suspension technology, making covering mileage in a PII such as this, relatively easy. This particular Rolls-Royce PII, 230AJS, is a fantastic look into the golden days of motoring. It's no expenses spared restoration, although completed almost 20 years ago, has held up impressively well. The loving nature with which it has been cared for since the restoration was completed also shows very clearly in the excellent running and driving nature of this PII. As it sits today, 230AJS shows no needs except for a new home and driver looking to enjoy this stunning Rolls-Royce as it is meant to be. Given the nature and rarity of its St. Martin style body, 230AJS, will be welcomed and adored at most concourse events and Rolls-Royce owner events.