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Car of the Month

More Books:

Rossfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley / From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the new Millennium



Car of the Month - October 2020
Rolls-Royce Phantom II, 1931, #237AJS
'Keswick' Town Car by Brewster


Rolly-Royce Phantom II

"You're the top! You're a Ritz hot toddy.
You're the top! You're a Brewster body.

The two phrases are from the song "You’re the Top" composed in 1934 by  American songwriter Cole Porter (born 1891, died 1964). He has been a leading celebrity in US-entertainment during the pre-war period. Cole Porter has been the owner, too, of a Brewster-bodied Rolls-Royce car. The lyrics by Cole Porter are particularly notable because they focus a spotlight on what was impressively fine, incredibly glamorous and tremendously highly-prized in the mid-1930s. In "You’re the Top" Porter’s wit and apparent effortless polish is intended for a sophisticated audience capable of appreciating his topical references among the list of superlatives. So it is no wonder in the version issued for his hit musical "Anything Goes" the songwriter immortalized the coachbuilder from New York City. Brewster by then was a wholly owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce of America, Inc.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Cole Porter himself produced variants of "You're the Top", e.g. skipped several verses to square with the 3:30 minutes run for those 78s standard records of that time (and for later 45s, too) and he developed different phrases and add-ons to the basic lyrics.  Hence the Brewster reference does not appear in all versions. Various versions of this song from "Anything Goes" became very popular. One in an arrangement by bandleader Paul Whiteman was a best-selling Victor single that in the USA made it into the top five. Over the following decades "You’re the Top" matured into an Evergreen.

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Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Ethel Merman and William Glaxton did launch "You're the Top" in the 1934 Broadway production "Anything Goes" and the New York audience understood well "You’re a Brewster body" as a frame for a Rolls-Royce luxury car. Later two movies were produced with the same title, a 1936 version with Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby and a 1956 re-make starring Mitzi Gaynor, Bing Crosby and Jeanmarie and Donald O'Connor. Cole Porter's hit "You’re the Top" also did appear in the 1946 film "Night and Day" in which it has been sung by Ginny Simms and Cary Grant.

It has been heard a Rolls-Royce could be improved by the installation of a music box that immediately when the bonnet is lifted starts to play "Land of Hope and Glory". As regards this Rolls-Royce Phantom II with coachwork by Brewster the song by Cole Porter might be considered an alternative?

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

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