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Advertising the Phantom III

Making a Marque


Car of the Month - March 2021
Rolls-Royce Phantom III, 1939, #3DL132
Saloon Coupé by James Young


Rolly-Royce Phantom III

A star on James Young's stand at 1938 Earls Court Motor has been a Rolls-Royce Phantom III bodied in the form of Saloon Coupé that featured parallel opening doors. Coachwork had been built to Design-Number 4531R and was put onto chassis #3DL86. That car after the show was used as a demonstrator by London dealer Jack Barclay who actually did own coachbuilders James Young. Almost immediately after Earls Court Motor Show did James Young's craftsmen start to create an identical body on a second Phantom III chassis, #3DL132, with that particular design. That car was delivered to a client from the USA nc.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

A multitude of interesting features included e.g. two cocktail cabinets and an electrically powered sliding sunroof with a second panel made of Perspex to avoid draft (that could be opened, too, albeit manually). The main attraction though were parallel opening doors. These had been the brainchild of G.H. Wenham who held the position as "first works director" at James Young. Reportedly an initial sketch of what he called "sliding doors" had date from 1935. James Young’s chief-designer A.F. McNeil who had come from Gurney Nutting die achieve to implement parallel opening doors into a coachwork of impressively elegant lines.

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Rolls-Royce Phantom III

The Phantom III Saloon Coupé by James Young was shown in adverts of Jack Barclay in "The Motor", issue from 4th October 1938, and "The Tatler", issue from 19th October 1938. Even the manufacturer's Advertising Committee did select a fine photo of this particular design for a whole-page advertisement Rolls-Royce booked in the 10th March 1939 issue of "The Autocar". Though from today’s point of view it seems strange no details as regards the 'parallel opening doors' innovation were heralded in such public relations statements.

What could be described as cantilever doors was available, too, for coachwork James Young built on chassis Bentley 4Ľ Litre and Rolls-Royce Wraith, too. Indeed Wraith #WMB38 and #WEC2 have been fitted with bodies whose lines were developed from those of the Phantom III and at Roßfeldt’s Archives a series of photos is filed of  Bentley 4Ľ Litre, #B14KT, that features parallel opening doors. Reportedly the patent at some stage has been bought by Volkswagen. However it is not known the Germany carmaker ever made use of that patent on any model from his range.

Rolls-Royce Phantom III

(Fotos: Zbigniew Krystowczyk, Poland and Roßfeldt-Archives, Germany)