This just in: A rare 1933 Rolls-Royce , will go up for sale on June 20 in England. It's expected to fetch nearly $137,000.
As far as Rolls-Royces go, that's a veritable bargain. At a Bonhams sale in 2007, a 1904 Roll-Royce two-seat contraption fetched $7.25 million. And at a Sotheby's sale in 1993 a 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost took $1.7 million. (It's also, for that matter, a lot cheaper than any Phantom, Ghost, or Wraith you could buy today.) But it's near the roughly $157,000 a 1929 version of the Phantom II Sedanca De Ville pulled at auction in 2012. The best part is that the vehicle is still usable: The owner intends to drive it to the auction.
Executives at H&H Classics, which is hosting the auction, said the top-selling Rolls they have sold is a $190,000 Phantom II Continental that went in 2013. Rolls-Royces always do well on the auction block, says Damian Jones, sales director at H&H.
"Phantom IIs were fabulously expensive cars when new and were owned by the great, the good, and the seriously wealthy," Jones says. "Some bidders in June 20 will be drawn to the car's history, while others will appreciate its form: That "Tiger Shooting" back window is very unusual, and winning the Cannes Concours d'Elegance when new is a boost to its provenance."
Value also derives from this car's celebrity-riddled origin: An Indian prince named Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, who was also a major cricket star in England, commissioned the car in 1932. The Phantom II was the third and last of Rolls' 40- and 50-horsepower models; it was the last of the Rolls-Royce cars to have its design overseen from beginning to end by Henry Royce himself. It has a pushrod straight 6-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission. It comes with distinctive round twin headlamps and a circular fog lamp in front of the aforementioned wraparound rear window. Fewer than 1,300 were built, all from the factory in Derby, U.K.
Unfortunately, Ranjitsinhji died before he ever drove the thing. After his death, Rolls sold the car to Amy Davies, heiress to the Tate & Lyle sugar fortune.
Davies then gave it to her daughter, arts patron and Noël Coward confidante Elsie Partington, reportedly to lift her spirits after a recent divorce. (When Elsie died in 1976, the Phantom was acquired by her goddaughter and has since been owned by a "private enthusiast" whom Jones declined to name.)
Now that's one way to get past a breakup.