The first Rolls Royce Phantom ever built replaced the 40/50 horsepower Rolls Royce Silver Ghost in 1925. Known as the Phantom 1, the Rolls Royce Phantom retained much of the superior capabilities of the Rolls Royce Ghost combined with impressive scale with refined lines. Autocar’s 22 May 1925 review of the new Phantom review stated that a road trial “indicates further progress towards perfection. Acceleration and speed improved without sacrifice of comfort and refinement”.

With a 6-cylinder engine producing 108 HP and cantilever springing, the Phantom 1 had a magnificent chassis, appealing to owners who wished to make a statement with their cars, making it a favourite with royalty and heads of state worldwide. In the 1920s Indian Princes and Maharajahs generally ordered original one-off touring bodies with custom features that set them apart. Historically, these special cars held significantly higher values than the standard model town cars, coupés and saloons. Maharajahs competed with each other by commissioning some of the most superb and extravagantly fitted Phantoms with the most elaborate coachwork.

This rare 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Torpedo Tourer came up for auction in London, October, 2012. Rare features include the superior build quality of the side screens, designed to be lowered into the doors instead of removed and stored elsewhere when not required. Further bespoke features include the aluminium fascia complete with silver-faced instruments and gauges, cigar lighter, ivory steering wheel and hub stalks. The seat upholstery is pleated rather than button-tufted upholstery, as was more common in the mid-1920s. In addition to these unique customisations, exquisitely finished woodwork including a polished teakwood cabinet was installed in the rear passenger compartment, with space for two decanters, a thermos, crystal beakers, card case, mirror and a clock. The forward driver’s compartment included a “receptacle for a revolver between the front seat cushions and a flap to cover…”! Either the owner held a fascination with firearms shared by many Maharajahs or this addition was indicative of the turbulent times in 1920s India.

This magnificent Phantom 1 interior includes a bespoke-order instrument panel, nickel-faced instruments, ivory handles and knobs, and even retains its rear compartment clock. The interior is upholstered in a sumptuously rich Nutmeg hide to match the flame mahogany woodwork beautifully. Inside the ivory inlaid rear cabinetry is a 4-piece silver tea set, four jade travelling cups, two glass and sterling silver etched bottles, a glass and sterling silver flask, a set of leather-wrapped Champiere of Paris binoculars, a sterling silver and blue velvet ledger, an ivory grooming kit with leather case, a sterling silver vanity mirror with a matching bristle brush set, an inlaid wooden chessboard, a brass compass, a sterling silver card case, and a sterling silver Indian cigarette lighter.

Specification: 108 HP, 7.7 litre OHV 6-cylinder engine, RR-design carburettor, 4-speed gearbox, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension, live rear axle with cantilever rear suspension, and four-wheel mechanical brakes with servo-assist plus. Wheelbase: 146.5 in.