1936 Rolls Royce Phantom III
- Used by General Montgomery
- Reassigned to the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
- Legendary smooth-running 7338cc V12 engine
- Complete with extensive historical documentation
- Recently fitted overdrive for effective modern road driving
This Freestone and Webb Phantom III Touring Limousine was built in 1936 and owned by the head of English Talbot Motor Company, a Mr Frederick Wilcock. The car was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport Section to be used as General Montgomery's staff car. Mr Wilcock agreed, on condition that it did not cross the Channel, because he did not want it blown up or shot at.
The Phantom was subsequently regularly used by General Montgomery to commute between his home in Virginia Waters and London. It is known as the 'green car' because it is painted black and British racing green, whilst Monty's other Rolls Royces were plain black.
During the secret D-Day planning at Southwick House, King George VI, General Eisenhower and Winston Churchill were driven in this car.
Unfortunately Mr Wilcock's plan to preserve the car backfired on him. After D-Day the Phantom was reassigned to the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General Carl Spaatz and an American fuel tanker backed into it causing some damage, which has since been repaired.
In the 1950s at the time of the Suez crisis, the car was purchased by a planter in Malaya and shipped out to Penang. As the Suez canal was closed, it was driven to the south of Italy and shipped to Malaya via Capetown and the Indian Ocean.
The Phantom 111 was a landmark design for Rolls-Royce, being their first V12-engined car. This 7338cc engine was a spectacular feat of engineering but not without its problems, mainly due to its complexity which required expert and regular maintenance, which in far-flung colonies it did not necessarily receive! Fortunately this car's engine was rebuilt some years ago and has covered few miles since; it posesses all the attributes (near-silent running, tremendous torque and smoothness, pulling from tickover in top gear) that made it so venerated without any of the failings. A recently-fitted overdrive to the four speed gearbox only adds to the refinement.
This is a remarkably original and historically significant motor car, which was involved in the recent D-Day commemorations at Southwick House, and was the highlight of a parade during the recent Goodwood Revival. Complete with extensive historical documentation.