Question: What do John Lennon, Fred Astaire, Donald Trump or the Queen of England have in common?
Answer: They all own or owned one of the most exclusive and iconic vehicles in history, the Rolls-Royce Phantom. On July 27, the brand will unveil the eighth generation of this model and, to celebrate, will organize an exhibition, ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’, which will bring together eight of the great Phantom of history. It will be the first time that these unique vehicles are together under one roof.
The Phantom by Fred Astaire
The first specimen travel to London for the show will be the Rolls-Royce Phantom owned by the famous Fred Astaire, which has been loaned by the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. It is a unit of the first generation, from 1927, which retains part of the original costume owned by the singer and dancer, such as his famous top hat or booties.
Throughout its more than 90 years of history, the Phantom has witnessed relevant social and political events: treaty signatures, military parades, prize collecting, royal weddings … The brand will reveal over the next eight Weeks which will be the remaining units of this model that will travel to London for the exhibition. And surely it will surprise, because, in addition to those we have mentioned, the list of famous owners of a Phantom (Elvis Presley also had one) as well as the appearances in movies (‘Indiana Jones and the last Crusade’, Goldfinfer, etc.). ..) or extraordinary events in which this model has been present, is long.
A long story
Rolls-Royce began producing the Phantom in 1925. The model was developed in great secrecy, under the name ‘Armored Car of the East’, which suggested that Rolls-Royce intended to produce a military type vehicle similar to that used by The famous Lawrence of Arabia in World War I. It was manufactured in England and USA and was an immediate success.
Sir Henry Royce’s desire for improvement led the brand to develop a new Phantom in 1929, this time with an improved engine and a brand new chassis, which significantly improved handling.
The next Phantom was to be the last project of Sir Henry Royce, but it passed away in 1933 and the model, equipped with a motor of 12 cylinders, was made known two years later. Production lasted from 1936 until World War II. In addition to its performance, another of its most outstanding features is that each customer could customize their body.
The ‘Spirit’ kneeling
In 1950 came the fourth generation, one of the most exclusive models in history. Originally only a copy was to be built, at the request of Prince Philip of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth. However, other royal families and heads of state became ‘infatuated’ with this model and made 17 others. Among their singularities, the famous Spirit of Ecstasy is kneeling.
The Phantom V was produced between 1959 and 1968 and among its distinguished owners are the Queen Mother of England, the governors of Hong Kong, King Olav of Norway and John Lennon.
The longest lived
The Phantom VI was the most lone: it was mounted from 1968 to 1980. One of the most famous was the one that was built to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II and later used the duke and The Duchess of Cambridge at her wedding.
Finally, the seventh generation of the Phantom was born in 2003 and was the first model manufactured by the British brand under the baton of the BMW Group. Its production has recently ceased, but soon we will know the aspect of the successor of this iconic model.