1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV: A royal automobile 

1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV: A royal automobile 

Engine Inline 8 Horsepower 166 PS (164 bhp) (122 kW)Engine location FrontDrive Type RWDTransmission 3-speed automatic

The Phantom IV was genuinely exclusive. From 1950 to 1956, a total of 18 vehicles were produced, and they were assembled for the British royal family, presidents, and religious executives. Today, there are only 16 automobiles in private collections.

Source: Go Motors

Only two models in the history of the automotive industry were exclusively assembled for royals and other heads of state. The first one – Bugatti Royale, designed by Ettore Bugatti, was a total failure. However, the second one – Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, found its clientele! The production started with the particular order of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, becoming the British brand’s most exclusive and expensive vehicle. Only 18 chassis of this model, the rarest in the company’s history, were produced from 1950 to 1955. So far, the Phantom IV remains the only Rolls-Royce with an inline 8-cylinder engine. 

The origins

Source: Motor1

Implementing an inline 8-cylinder at Rolls-Royce violated the company’s traditions. In the 1920s and 1930s, Henry Royce and his team ignored the inline “eight,” which already was widely used in Europe and USA. In their opinion, such engines wouldn’t give the necessary rigidity to a crankshaft and block that were too long, and this could lead to an unacceptable increase in noise and vibration. And the noiselessness and smoothness of the engine had always been the company’s reputation benchmarks. On the other hand, the achievements of competitors were disturbing. Therefore, having released the Phantom III model in 1935, the company moved directly from the usual inline “six” to the V12. However, this engine was complicated and needed more reliability. Experiments with engines continued during the war and post-war periods. And after Bentley’s story with an “eight” under the hood, the company decided to try out the eight-cylinder engine on its exclusive model. 

The 1950 model year

Source: Drom

Using all its engineering expertise, the RR team lengthened the Silver Wraith’s chassis to 3683 mm and installed a 5675 cm3 inline 8-cylinder power unit. The design of the latter was the same as the Silver Wraith 6-cylinder block: aluminum head, top intake, and side exhaust valves, Stromberg carburetor. At the front, the Phantom IV had independent spring suspension and hydraulic brakes, while at the rear – a live axle with leaf springs and servo-assisted mechanical brakes. British studios traditionally made the bodies. They were characterized by a generally pre-war design: long streamlined fenders, free-standing headlights, sharp edges, a partially integrated trunk, and a massive grille with a “Spirit of Ecstasy” statuette placed on its knees. The automobiles were assembled in an experimental foundry in Belper.

The price for this royal vehicle was not subject to disclosure, and one of the delivery conditions was a ban on subsequent resale. The owner was obliged to return the car to the factory but not resell it. Interestingly, most  Phantom IVs are still in the hands of original owners or heirs.

Did you know?

Source: Town & Country

The first automobile was built for Princess Elizabeth, the late Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Phantom IV owners include Princess Margaret, Duchess of Kent, and Duke of Gloucester. Three automobiles were assembled for General Franco (now used in the procession of the Spanish king Juan Carlos). Half of the vehicles replenished the wealthiest collections of eastern rulers: two from the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, one each from the Prince of Saudi Arabia Talal, King Faisal II of Iraq, and Crown Prince of Iraq Abdullah. Another one belonged to the spiritual leader of the Shiite Muslims, Aga Khan III. Three copies were created by order of the Emir of Kuwait Abdullah III.

For more remarkable stories, read our Car Library section regularly!

1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV: A royal automobile 

Engine Inline 8 Horsepower 166 PS (164 bhp) (122 kW)Engine location FrontDrive Type RWDTransmission 3-speed automatic

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