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WWII-era Rolls to feature in Phantom exhibit

Marshal law: The Rolls-Royce Phantom III owned by field marshal Bernard Montgomery will be on display at ‘The Great Eight Phantoms” exhibit next month.

Phantom III used by Allied field marshal to help promote Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII


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16 Jun 2017

A 1930s Rolls-Royce Phantom III owned by British field marshal Bernard Montgomery has been chosen by the British luxury manufacturer as one of ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – an exhibition put on to commemorate the launch of the new Phantom VIII next month.

Known as the ‘Butler’ Phantom III, it was one of three Phantoms owned by Montgomery, and was originally commissioned for chairman of the De Havilland Aircraft Company Alan Bulter, with bodywork done by HJ Mulliner.

The ‘Butler’ Phantom featured an unusual front-sloping windshield, which is claimed to increase aerodynamic efficiency by 15 per cent over the stock windshield.

It also featured a sloped tail and enclosed spare tyre to aid its sleek profile.

It was used by Mr Montgomery after the Second World War until 1962, and chauffeured such eminent guests as the prime ministers of Australia, New Zealand and Canada during Montgomery’s tenure as the chief of the general staff of the British Army and deputy supreme commander of NATO in Europe.

Born in England, Mr Montgomery spent the years from his early childhood to the age of 14 in Hobart, as his father was made bishop of Tasmania.

During the Second World War, Mr Montgomery led 200,000 Allied troops including ANZACs in Northern Africa, and oversaw the victory in the second battle of El Alamein, which ended up becoming a major turning point in the war.

Mr Montgomery also owned two other Phantom IIIs – a 1936 model requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport Section that was used as a personal transportation in the lead up to D-Day, and ferried around Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower and King George VI.

The second was a 1937 Phantom Coupe used by the King of Belgium before the Second World War, and by Mr Montgomery in Brussels following the liberation of Belgium in 1944.

It was the first Rolls to be built without a B-pillar, and is the only known Phantom III with a factory-built tachometer fitted.

The Phantom III was the first Rolls-Royce to be powered by a 7.3-litre V12 with overhead-camshaft design, hydraulic tappets and twin-ignition system.

It was also the last car Henry Rolls personally worked on before his death, aged 70, a year into the Phantom III’s development.

A teaser video for the Great Eight Phantoms exhibit shows a cropped front-facing shot of the Phantom VIII, revealing the Spirit of Ecstasy badge and Rolls’ signature Pantheon grille.

The VIII will be built on an all-aluminium architecture to be shared with the Cullinan SUV, and will be powered by a new turbocharged V12 engine.

Mayfair, London will host the Great Eight Phantoms exhibition, which will take place at the end of July.

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