1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Mayfair Limousine de Ville

The Forgotten Engine - click the icon to find out more


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Basic data

General description





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Basic data

Year manufactured .... : 1937click - 56kb image

Chassis number ........ : 3CP196

Engine number............ : S18K

Engine type.................. : V12 - 7340cc - 40/50hp

Coach builder ............. : Mayfair Carriage Company Limited

Registration number... : HLR 791

Body style.................... : Limousine de Ville

Body colours ............... : Black over fuchsia

Interior........................... : Black leather chauffeur’s compartment with oatmeal West of England cloth in rear

Asking price ................... : Not for sale

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General description

ExteriorClick -82kb image

The aluminium bodywork is in extremely good original condition with no evidence of denting or accident damage. Paint work is finished to a very high standard although cracks are evident at body-flex points around the windscreen base. All bright work is correct to original specification including twin Mellotone horns and Lucas FT 57 foglamp. The car has twin side mounted spare wheels in their original aluminium casings. All doors fit accurately with excellent shut lines and no distortion or hinge drop. The key to the master switch box also operates the two bonnet locks and both near side door locks. The four door windows operate correctly; the rear quarter lights open with over-centre catches; the windscreen seals properly and can be opened both fully or for de-misting only. De Ville construction is quite sophisticated having a centre sliding panel, similar to a modern sun roof, that can be used in that manner. Alternatively, the two cant rails may be hinged back into the rear roof, being then hidden by a clip-up panel, to display a fully open driving compartment. The boot is bottom hinged and very small - all luggage was intended to be carried on the lid. The latter is ribbed and has two strap brackets on each side.

InteriorClick - 71kb image

Woodwork is in very good condition, being a diagonally grained veneer on the door cap facings and halved on the dash board and division bulkhead. There is a modern water temperature gauge fitted beneath the dash board; all other instruments and switch gear are original and in good working order. The black leather upholstery in the driving cabin is original and recently has been re-packed, re-stitched and re-coloured. Inflatable lumbar supports are integral with both front seats and are in working order. Black carpets in the front are in excellent condition but probably are not original. The sun visors are scissors-action roller blinds.

The central division is electrically operated from up and down switches located on both sides of the rear seat. The blind to the rear window is also electrically operated either by a switch in the rear compartment or from the dash board; when not in use it is hidden inside the roof lining. Adjacent to the off side rear seat is the one-way electrical telegraph for instructing the chauffeur; the amplifier and speaker being located under the front glove box. Rear upholstery is in oatmeal West of England cloth and appears to be original. The rear seat is divided by a fold down arm rest and both sides have inflatable lumbar cushions within their construction. The outer arm rests contain integral pull-out ash trays and have illuminated vanity units above. Two occasional seats, of cantilever design, fold and lock into the central division bulkhead. Between these seats is a central fitment comprising an ashtray and match holder on top, bottom-hinged cubby in the middle and a locking drinks cabinet at the bottom. The carpets appear to be new and match the upholstery. A heater, with electric fan, is located beneath the off side rear seat.

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MechanicalClick - 2ximages 88kb & 97kb

The engine, which is original to the car, is quiet and very powerful. It has a V12 configuration with a displacement of 7340cc (448cu in.) giving an RAC rating of 50.7hp. Tappets have been converted from hydraulic to mechanical and make no noise. The water pump has been re-built and a new Calorstat has been fitted to the radiator. The engine runs at 75o to 85oC, even in hot weather, and shows the correct oil pressure of 32psi at 50 mph when hot. A new stainless steel exhaust system has been fitted. Modern fuel pumps are fitted at present although the originals have been located. Modern coils are fitted - original pattern items are no longer available. The car is happy to cruise at 60 mph and is capable of reaching over 90mph. Ride is excellent with no rattles, jarring or bump-steer. The one-shot chassis lubrication system works, as does the integral jacking system. The four speed gear box is quiet and smooth in operation - having synchromesh fitted to 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears. The rear axle is quiet. The braking is excellent with no clunking, fade or pulling - the brake shoes are all virtually as new. The chassis and cabin have been completely re-wired. All wheels are in good condition and have unworn tyres. The chassis is unmarked, with no signs even of surface rust.

In November 2001 a complete engine overhaul commenced - see the diary.

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ToolsClick - 3 x image2

Most of the original specification tools are with the car and are kept in a purpose designed tool box under the front seat. Starting handle, jack lever, wheel spanner and mallet are mounted under the bonnet.



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3CP196 was purchased originally by Martin V Roberts through CG Norman & Co. Ltd of London SW1. One address change for Mr Roberts was noted on the factory records in 1938; no other owners are recorded. The car was exported to the USA in 1965 and formed part of the collection of Ernest Stern until its subsequent return to the UK in 1988.

The car holds a current MOT certificate and is now registered as an Historic Vehicle.

No records exist for The Mayfair Carriage Company which ceased trading in the mid 1970’s.

3CP196 is to be the feature car on the cover of the Phantom III Technical Society 2002 Directory & Register.

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