- Chassis # --
- Engine # Z28E
- Believe To Be 1 Of Less Than 25 PIII Cabriolets In Existence
- Known And Documented Ownership From New
- Recent High Quality Restoration In Original Exterior Colors
- Fitted With Original Engine Per Copies Of Original Order Form
Thanks to the wonderful Rolls-Royce documentation on file, the Phantom III Cabriolet by Park Ward on offer is understood to have had quite an auspicious first home. The honorable Peter Beatty was the younger son of Admiral of the Fleet, David Richard Beatty, and his wife Ethel (née Field.) both are distinguished in their own right. The former having served as the youngest Admiral in Royal Navy history at the age of 48 while the latter was born as the heiress to the Marshall Field’s department store fortune. After his father’s death in 1936, Peter inherited the family home at Reigate Priory in South London, where the car was first registered after being ordered on October 3rd, 1938. It would eventually be delivered on February 3rd, 1939, and is just one of 727 Phantom III’s chassis built between 1936 and 1939.
Fitted with an open cabriolet body, the trends of the time would’ve made this style a rare sight in its day. With so few having been built, the desirability of this V-12 open bodied Rolls has allowed it to remain intact to this day. As specified on the forms available, the motorcar was to be used for “Town Work and Touring.” Further, the vehicle is described to feature ‘Spare wheel carriers each side, rear bumper fittings, bonnet with flap shutters, and an end sloped at an angle of 10 degrees with 9 inches of overhang.’ Customers of elite motorcars in this period most certainly had all of their needs and desires catered to. Delivered new in a colorway similar to how the vehicle appears now, a dark, inky green paint treatment makes for a subdued, luxurious appearance.
This Phantom III endured several remarkable journeys after leaving the possession of Peter Beatty. Staying in the family, the Rolls was purchased by Captain Michael Tree, the grandson of Ethel’s former Marriage to Arthur Tree, a member of Parliament. Just 8 months later, the Phantom would end up in South Africa after being purchased by Barlow Pye. 8 years after, the American Consulate General Clifford R. Nelson brought the vehicle north to Salisbury, Rhodesia. He was the man who likely transported this Rolls-Royce onto our shores. A man named Robert Wilke of Menlo Park California would next gain the distinction of owning this wonderful motorcar. Remarkably, the car was described to have been in original condition at the time of the car’s application to the Phantom III technical society in 1974. After an unspecified amount of time, Robert Schaffner, a fellow California resident, would take possession of the car.
While some reconditioning was performed by Schaffner, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that 3 DL 118 received a full restoration. As previously mentioned, the exterior is finished in very much the same way it was delivered. The interior is now finished fully in red, with matching darker carpets. Completed to an exceptionally high standard, the motorcar presents incredibly well. The thick hides, Circassian Burr walnut trim, and chrome brightwork are all equally resplendent. To sit amongst this is to be transported back to a time. Details like the cut lenses on the rear passenger lights, the clock on the cowl, and the fine woodwork make one appreciate the craftsmanship behind such a vehicle. The exterior shows with equally incredible attention to detail. Both the glossy green paint and brightwork appear lustrous. The top is also freshly redone and will surely keep the weather from intruding while on the move. Mechanically, this Phantom III also bears the distinction of having been powered by its original motor, Z28E, from new. With immense power from its 7.3 Liter overhead-valve V12 and lighter weight coachwork, this highly engineered motorcar should have no issue keeping up with modern traffic and the exceptional quality of the restoration will surely make for a dependable touring companion.
With such a distinguished, well-documented chain of ownership, the Phantom III on offer makes for a true collectible. It’s immensely attractive coachwork, and the rarity of its body style further increases its desirability and affirms its status in the Rolls-Royce community. Its exceptionally completed restoration and matching numbers engine confirm as a must-have for anyone serious about owning a truly extraordinary Rolls-Royce Phantom III
body and paint
This PIII was the beneficiary of a recent restoration and as such remains in excellent condition cosmetically. The paint is of high quality and was very nicely applied leaving it in excellent condition. Given the restoration occurred a few years ago, there are some very minor imperfections scattered throughout the exterior that come along with normal use. There is a small split in the paint on the passenger side of the front cowl, about half an inch in either direction. A few very light scratches are present on the drivers side rear quarter panel just below where the top sits and there is some swirling on the running boards in between the rubber tread pads. The body itself is straight and smooth with excellent and consistent panel gaps throughout. The top on the car appears to have been replaced during restoration and remains in excellent condition with the correct leather piping all the way around.
glass and trim
The brightwork throughout the car is in good condition, with excellent shine and a smooth even finish. There is some very light scratching on the front bumper and a slightly heavier scratch on the drivers side portion near the fog light. The drivers side rear bumperette has some scratching and light stress cracks where it appears it may have made contact with a surface. The front radiator is in very nice condition with just a bit of very light swirling in the finish of the chrome. The door handles show a bit of scratching on them from ordinary use and the same can be said for the window frame trim. The front lights are all in good condition, with clean and clear glass and only some minor swirling and very fine pitting on their chromed surfaces.
The wheels were all redone at the time of restoration. The disks were repainted and had their pin striping reapplied. There are a few minor imperfections scattered about, most of which have been touched up.
seats and surfaces
The interior of this PIII was completely gone through during the restoration and was completed very nicely and to a highly correct manner. The red leather seats are fantastic and remain in excellent condition throughout, still emanating the smell of new leather throughout the cabin. The red carpets were redone in the correct style, complete with their leather piping, and overall condition and fitment remains excellent. The headliner is new, having been replaced at the time the top was replaced. The wood on the dash is in great condition with a only a minor bit of cracking in the veneer around the edges of some of the gauges. The wood trim on the door cards is in fantastic shape with a smooth finish and beautiful grain.
functionality and accessories
The gauges all remain in good condition with bright legible lettering and relatively clear glass overtop showing some minor scratching and hazing. Switches and knobs all appear to be in good condition both cosmetically and mechanically however they do show a bit more age than the rest of the interior. The steering wheel appears that it was left relatively original, showing a bit of age and patina on the rim, spokes, and the center horn button and controls.
engine bay and trunk
The engine compartment shows as largely correct, well put together, well maintained, and overall clean and tidy. There is some light scratching on the top valve covers and some runs in the paint from fluids but the paint overall is smooth and consistent. Metal surfaces are clean and tidy, showing no real signs of issues. Hoses, cables, etc. appear in good cosmetic and mechanical condition. The two large coolant hoses running from the radiator appear to be a newer style but are in good condition. Stampings and tags appear where they should.
The trunk area is clean and tidy with matching green paint to the rest of the body. Painted surfaces are smooth and consistent and the rubber covered “bumpers” appear new and tidy.
The underside of this PIII is overall clean but the work carried out doesn’t quite reflect the rest of the car. Some surfaces were painted while others were left alone. All mechanical aspects on the underside appear well maintained and in good operating condition and there are no signs of any major cosmetic issues present.
This PIII benefits from a recent servicing and it reflects in the mechanically sound nature of the car. It fires right to life with surprising ease and settles in a smooth and quiet idle once up to temperature. Out on the road it makes ample and smooth power with no stumbles or misses to speak of.
The transmission shifts smoothly between gears, holds power well, and displays no signs of any mechanical issues.
brakes and suspension
The braking and suspension systems appear to be in good order, operating as they should, with no odd noises or behavior to speak of.
The tires appear to be newer, likely replaced during the restoration. They are dunlop brand on all 4 corners and are soft and supple with ample tread.