Classical cars, including the history of the great classical automobiles
December 7th, 2007

Wiseman Auction Flies Higher With Merlin-Powered Rolls-Royce V-12

Rolls Merlin

Two bests don't always add up to better but in this instance they most certainly did. The car is a Rolls-Royce, a marque known from its earliest years as "the best car in the world." Under the hood is a Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12, the finest piston-powered aircraft engine in WW2. The Spitfire fighter and later versions of the P-51 Mustang were fitted with Merlins, the latter when its original Allison V-12's couldn't meet high-altitude performance standards. While fitting an aero engine to a car is rarely successful due to the engine's size and weight, it appears to have worked in this 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, inasmuch as the car was sold at RM's Wiseman auction in Florida for $412,000. Over 80 desirable cars, 50 vintage motorcycles and scooters, plus a diverse range of memorabilia and collectibles from the Wiseman Collection, earned $6.7 million at that auction.

The Phantom II was quite the car in its day, offering considerable improvements over its predecessor, the New Phantom. These included hydraulic shocks plus underslung springs giving a lower ride height and a sleeker, more modern design. The Phantom II allowed considerable freedom in coachwork, although nothing quite compared with this custom modification which included a Merlin V-12 engine, minus supercharger, for an output of 1,100 hp. (With the blower attached, early Merlins produced over 1400 hp, ultimate versions reached 2270 hp.) Restoration of this car took seven years, during which several modifications were made, including a lengthened frame and the fitting of a new body inspired by the Gurney-Nutting original. The engine is 27-liters in size and is fed by two fuel pumps delivering 100 gallons per hour. While "hot rod" and "Rolls-Royce" are seldom seen in the same sentence, they're perfect teammates in this instance.


by Philip Powell | Posted in Auctions, Aviation, Oddball Autos | 1 Comment » |

1 Comment »

Comment by carfan
  • The Phantom II was quite the car in its day, offering considerable improvements over its predecessor, the New Phantom.

    October 18, 2010 @ 1:27 am
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