1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sedanca de Ville by Barker
Chassis number: 90MY
Registration NUmber: JJ8590
Chassis 90MY, was bodied by the renowned London coachbuilders Barker, known for the exceptionally high quality of their work, and was originally delivered to Thornton B. Thornton, whom history records as a jute merchant in London. In his research, the previous owner notes that this car is one of only two Phantom II Continentals built to similar specifications, with stainless steel fittings in place of the usual wood trim, the other being chassis number 72MS.
Subsequent owners were Rudolph DeTrafford OBE of Regent Park, a well-known British aristocrat and banker, and F.L.F. Parker of Skirwith Abbey, for whom it was his second Continental!
By 1967, the car had joined the private collection of Philip Bertram Gurdon, 3rd Baron Cranworth of Letton, where it remained for a further 16 years. When Baron Cranworth’s stable was dispersed in 1982, the car was stated to have recorded 36,374 miles. Thereafter, it became part of British construction baron Sir William McAlpine’s renowned collection, and under his long-term, fastidious 21-year ownership, was reportedly the subject of over £160,000 in restoration work, performed by the likes of Hofmanns of Henley, McKenzie-Guppy, and Alpine Eagle. It made a brief foray into feature film stardom during this time, appearing with Liam Neeson in the Simon Moore film Under Suspicion in 1991, and was the basis of a 1/43-scale Magia model by Giorgio d’Antonio.
Following its two decades of care by Sir William, the car was added to its previous owner’s illustrious Rolls-Royce collection in 2003 and has been conscientiously maintained since. It presents beautifully in very dark blue with a lovingly tailored interior, featuring dark red leather upholstery to the driver’s seat and a rich complementary West of England maroon cloth in the rear compartment.
Significantly, the car also retains its original registration number, issued to it in 1933. It is thoroughly described in both of the tomes published on the Phantom II Continental by Raymond Gentile (p. 178) and André Blaize (pp. 425–429), yet it is also accompanied by copies of its Rolls-Royce build records and a bound collection of other documentation and photographs carefully assembled by the knowledgeable and caring prior owner.
Relatively few examples of the sedanca de ville, perhaps the iconic body style for Rolls-Royce in this period, were built on the Continental chassis. The roof of this example has been recently recovered in correct Japanned leather with a beautiful job being made of it. The patented Barker sedanca mechanism is easy to use & furls tidily away into a recess in the roof covered by a hinged plate then stowed.
The massive restoration is well worth reading up on in the accompanying history as it covers just about everything that could have been done to the car. The result is a smooth powerful machine with a silent engine that starts instantly. The brakes, so often a disappointment on Phantom 2's are pin sharp with a well adjusted servo giving excellent feel. Likewise the often heavy steering is on this car finger light & play free with a very precise feel to it. Indeed to drive this car is to understand how they were when new. We rate it very very highly indeed.
The car has just returned from a full tune up at marque specialist & defacto expert Carl Ford of C.J. Ford Engineering & as a result is running as well as a phantom 2 can run. It wants for nothing & is ready for immediate extended use. Having just driven its sister car; another Barker p2 Continental Sedanca 2000 KM's though Spain & Portugal we can attest to their suitability for long trips & covering serious continental miles.