Rolls-Royce Phantom II - Star of India

"Star of India" Thrupp and Marbely all weather cabriolet 1934

  • This unique automobile was coach-built by Thrupp & Maberly especially for the Maharaja of Rajkot.
  • Sold as a chassis without coach-work, the Phantom II provided an excellent canvass for the creativity of the most famous coach-builders of the time.
  • In spite of its prestigious clients, the career of the Phantom II would suffer as a result of the stock market crash of 1929, which plunged the whole world into the Great Depression.

The Rolls-Royce philosophy, infused with the very best of British tradition, was all about making perfection last; this was the ethos behind the creation of the car that the Derby-based constructor would market as "the best automobile in the world". After the Silver Ghost, the Phantom, with its even more refined chassis and engine, would be launched in the midst of the 1929 financial crisis. With the unprecedented luxury of its coach work, the Maharaja of Rajkot's model would become the "Star of India".

After an eighteen year reign as the most aristocratic of automobiles, the legendary Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost - the only model to come out of the Derby factory between 1907 and 1922 - would be followed-UP by the Phantom. The new sovereign would be a transitional model rather than a truly new one. Nonetheless, this would not prevent it from eclipsing its glorious elder sibling, the Silver Ghost, as well as the "small" 20 HP of 1922.

The Phantom was technically very close to the Silver Ghost, with a similar chassis and using as it did the same brakes and suspension, albeit with a progression towards the adoption hydraulic suspension in evidence. In the engine department ther was still a 6 cylinder laid out in two blocks, derived from that of the 20 HP, but with an increased engine capacity of 7668 cc. Its distribution came from push rod overhead valves driven by a lateral cam-shaft, and the Silver Ghost's double ignition system was still in use.

To be continued...