Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake: luxury truck

Arturo Rivas
Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake
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D en The British hurried ahead of Monty Pythons's Flying Circus has a reputation for having a keen sense for the bizarre and the slightly over the top. In automotive history, this tendency also manifested itself in the fact that almost every model was accompanied by a station wagon version, be it in (small) series or as a single piece. Mention should be made of many others: various converted Aston Martin sports coupés, Jaguar XJS, Austin Mini Countrymans and even two Lotus Elans with the wonderful nickname 'Elanbulance'.

Per cylinder, 1,273 cubic centimeters of displacement

Of course, some Rolls-Royce from different eras also had to endure the conversion to a Shooting Brake or an Estate. But this Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake from 1928, which initially only left the Derby factory as a mobile chassis, bears its mahogany cabinet construction with such natural grandeur that its appearance is always reflected in the faces of passers-by at the roadside The magic of a smile.

During the fast-paced ride in the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake through the rural area south of Landshut, the Rolls-Royce owner from Bavaria tells the story of his rare “Woodie” station wagon. In view of the huge amount of space in the rear, we sit a bit wedged in the front part of the five-and-a-half-meter truck, which tapers sharply towards the bonnet, and watch ourselves as we rush across the country and through towns. We are a good two meters ahead of the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake; we look at huge, slightly trembling headlights, imposing curved fenders and the small, half-naked girl on the grille.

The noise is to be taken literally, because the ignition explosions in the six 1,273 cubic centimeter cylinders (no spelling mistake!) of the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake only come outside with a hiss. From below, the transmission adds a muffled singing with a tempo-dependent pitch - otherwise only the wind makes the music in the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake.

The driver has to do - adjust the slats, tune the mixture, and the ignition Adjusting idle speed

The driver of the does the same thing as a machinist, because the mighty Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake is not satisfied with steering, accelerating, braking and occasional gear changes.

beingWhen starting the engine and now while driving, the pilot has to ensure the best working conditions of the 7.7-liter engine with no fewer than four different control ranges: water temperature (movable radiator fins), mixture strength in the carburettor, early and late ignition and finally the idle . The Woody owner chooses the right mix for the currently popular outside and engine temperature as well as the driving situation based on several thousand kilometers of driving experience that he has already gained with his Phantom. This also includes a trip with a few friends to the castles of the Loire, which the burly Briton completed without any technical problems.

Despite all the shifting and rolling and with a lot of verve driven through curves and towns - always keep moving! - we learn the story of how the Rolls-Royce was transformed into a small truck: 'The car initially had a conventional six-light saloon body from Knibbs, each with three side windows, but was called up for military service in 1940.' /p>

New purpose in the war: express transporter

The Royal Air Force converted it into a express transporter in which technicians and spare parts could be brought to aircraft that had landed in an emergency and their crews picked up. Thanks to small folding chairs in the rear and opposite the wide rear bench seat, the wooden structure could accommodate up to ten people. The bodywork company Weaver took care of the conversion.

The history of the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake remained in the dark until 1953, only to shine even more with a new owner: Mirabel Topham. The resolute, sturdy, built and extremely wealthy lady owned the Aintree Racecourse, whose events she was in charge of. This also included the infamous Grand National Obstacle Race, which in 1954 killed four horses but luckily no jockeys.

In the same year, an automobile race track was opened on the Aintree site, which is about ten kilometers north of Liverpool. The British Formula 1 Grand Prix took place there five times. The most prominent winners were Stirling Moss and Jim Clark. In 1957, Moss even achieved a success eagerly awaited by race fans in Aintree: the first Formula 1 victory by a British driver in a British Vanwall racing car.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake served as the reliable girl for everything on the Aintree site, usually driven by Mirabel's nephew James Bidwell-Topham. “One can assume that the Rolls-Royce was also used as a route vehicle, collecting stranded racing drivers or picking up Lady Topham's illustrious guests from the hotels,” reports the owner of the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake. The huge time clock from a zeppelin and next to it the lap counter from a Bugatti are indications that the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake is also a timekeeper houseserved.

Structure made of 150 year old mahogany wood

Now we are gradually reaching our goal in the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake, the artfully decorated fortress of Trausnitz Castle in the middle of Landshut . Really almost as noiseless as a phantom - the gravel crunching under the wheels makes the greatest noise - we drive through the outer bailey and its gates.

In the inner courtyard of the facility, we are delighted with the many equipment details of the large Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake, the structure of which, made from mahogany wood, which is now around 150 years old, has been fundamentally overhauled and optimized by the body specialist Hooper. Exactly when that was can no longer be determined today, but it is likely to have happened before the Topham era, i.e. at the end of the 1940s. And the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake remained in this condition, serviced by various Rolls-Royce specialists who left their badges in the car.

One of the great achievements inside the cheek of the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake is a car radio with two station selection controls, each offering a station for 'Country Music' and one for 'City Music'. The gigantic hodgepodge of tools, housed in the running boards and under the front seats, is equally impressive, as if it were a question of participating in the Beijing-Paris rally. But what fascinates most about the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake: All six doors of the wooden structure can be opened completely effortlessly and without friction, nothing jams, grinds or squeaks.

In the Rolls with rubber boat on the roof to the swimming lake

With so much perfect craftsmanship, it is easy to understand that the stylish Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake remained in family ownership until 1981 and only was initially sold to a British collector after the death of James Bidwell-Topham and then came into the possession of the German Rolls-Royce enthusiast. And he uses the sophisticated Rolls-Royce Phantom I Shooting Brake as pragmatically as it did back then: 'When we go to the lake with our son and his friends, the inflated rubber boat is transported on the roof.'


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