1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville by Hooper


A new arrival to Oldtimer Australia is this fabulous 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville by Hooper.

The original summary build sheet on file confirms a date of sale of the 9th July 1931 to Jack Barclay Ltd in London, UK for G Ferguson Esq from Patcham on the south coast of England. The car was off test on the 5th September 1931 and sold to Ferguson on the 15th September 1931. The build sheets note the original coach builder as Hooper and that the long wheelbase chassis was fitted with a Sedanca body to design 4658.

There is conflicting information on file regarding the car’s very early history and its first owner is documented elsewhere as being actor Tom Walls.

The car was purchased in the UK by WJ Bernard-Smith (otherwise known as ‘knockout’ Smith) from Sydney and exported to Australia in either 1932 or 1933. Smith, who was a senior executive at Australian Glass Manufacturers Co Ltd and later Australian Consolidated Industries Ltd, was a long term owner of the car and later gifted it to his son KR (Ken) Bernard-Smith.

The Smith family parted with the car in late 1976 or early 1977. They sold it to Michael Robinson, who found little use for the car and he sold it shortly thereafter. The car was sold by Robinson in July 1977 to Derek Freeman, at which time the odometer read 49,230 miles. Freeman, who was a Sydney dentist and MP used the car and later had it on display in Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. He penned an excellent write up on the car for Volume 23 Number 6, being the June 1979 issue of the Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club of Australia’s NSW Branch newsletter.

The current owner acquired this fabulous, incredibly original and beautifully preserved car from Freeman on the 9th September 1998. The odometer read circa 56,000 miles.

Since acquiring the car the current owner has completed a rolling restoration and continued to improve its presentation and drivability.

Major work carried out to the car by the current owner includes:

  • Recent engine (including the cylinder head), front axle, radiator and steering rebuild.
  • Recent brake overhaul and rewiring.
  • Interior retrim in 2005.
  • Full repaint in the current colour scheme.

The car is a multi concours winner, having won the Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club of Australia’s Federal Rally concours in 2010 and again 2022. It has also won a raft of other trophies at various Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club of Australia Federal Rallys and state events. It also won Best in Class (Pre War Classic UK & Euro) at Motorclassica 2016.

The car is also documented in the book Rolls-Royce and Bentley in the Sunburnt Country by Tom Clarke & David Neely.

A photo of this car is also included in the book The Rolls-Royce Phantom II & Phantom III by Nick Whitaker & Steve Stuckey.

Today this ‘grand old lady’ presents resplendently in its maroon and black colour scheme. The Sedanca De Ville coachwork has the open front section for the driver, which gives this car an incredible presence. The front section can of course be closed by sliding out the roof which is a job undoubtedly left for the chauffer.

The paint was refreshed about five years ago and it remains in excellent condition with a strong depth of colour and a deep gloss finish. The car has a vinyl roof, which is also in excellent condition.

The paint is complimented by the chrome, which is presented with a mirror like finish. The grill, which is adorned by a magnificent spirit of ecstasy radiator cap, the headlights and hub caps are a real feature on all prewar Rolls-Royce motor cars and on this car they are exceptional.

This car has just been fitted with six new Michelin 6.50-20 tyres.

The interior of this car is also beautifully presented. All the upholstery was renewed back in 2005 and it still presents exceptionally well. The leather is soft and supple and just typically ‘Rolls-Royce’. As you may notice in the photos the upright bolster on either side of the front seat has aged differently to the rest of the leather and today it presents in a slightly different colour. This is something a good leather doctor could easily rectify to keep the car as a serious concours contender! The burgundy carpet is in excellent condition as it has always protected by over mats.

The timber work is beautifully presented and another feature of this car. The carpets, head lining and interior accessories are all similarly presented. The devil is in the detail of these Rolls-Royce Phantoms and things like the interior lights, door pulls, grab handles and the rear blind (which is operated by the driver and in working order) are each a work of art in their own right.

All the instruments and controls are in very good condition and look to be in working order.

Under the bonnet the massive 7,668 cc straight six engine presents essentially like new. The current owner proudly boasts that the engine bay is the most important part of the car for him to present at concours and the like. It is fair to say that the underside of this car is similarly well presented. Incredible!

In addition to being regularly shown, this car does get regularly driven. It has been religiously maintained by vintage Rolls-Royce specialists Derby Works and is always ‘on the button’, ready to use and enjoy.

On our recent test drive the car performed faultlessly. There is certainly a knack to driving these Phantoms and once you ‘get it’ the experience is most rewarding. Today the odometer reads 62,642 miles.

The car is fitted with a Tim Payne overdrive to make long distance cruising and rallies more comfortable.

Another feature of this car is its tools, which are stored in three compartments, being one under each running board and the third under the front seat. And yes, we understand that the tool ‘kit’ is 100% complete.

Accompanying this car are two spare wheels, the tools, copies of various manuals and an excellent history file.

The thick history file contains the original summary build sheet, York Motors service records from 1967 to 1977, subsequent maintenance records and a huge file of receipts since the current owner acquired the car in 1998.


  • Documented history from new.
  • Matching numbers example (chassis, engine and body).
  • Multiple concours winner, including twice overall winner at the RROCA Federal Rally concours and Best In Class (Pre War Classic UK & Euro) at Mortorclassica 2016.
  • Older cosmetic restoration, that still presents fabulously today.
  • Recent major mechanical work.
  • Just a STUNNING car inside and out.
  • Ready to show, use and enjoy.



The legend that was to become Rolls-Royce was founded in May 1904 when a deal was struck between Frederick Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls. Shortly after the first Rolls-Royce motor car, the Rolls-Royce 10hp, was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in December 1904. It was agreed that Rolls Royce would initially manufacture four different models being a two cylinder 10hp model, a three cylinder 15hp model, a four cylinder 20hp model and a six cylinder 20hp model. It was immediately apparent that to manufacture their cars Rolls Royce would require a larger factory and the decision was made to establish their headquarters and manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Derby in the east midlands of England.

On the 15th March 1906 the company Rolls-Royce Limited was formed and during this year Royce had been developing an improved six-cylinder model with more power than the 30hp. Initially designated the 40/50hp, this was the company’s first all-new model that was also to become known as the Silver Ghost.

Introduced in 1907, the 40/50hp or Silver Ghost remained in production until 1926. Originally powered by a 7,036cc six-cylinder engine, this was increased to 7,428cc in 1909 and following rave reviews was designated by the English car magazine Autocar as ‘the best car in the world’.

Like all car manufacturers Rolls-Royce was impacted by the First World War, however, post war the company made a strategic decision to manufacture a cheaper smaller car, enter the Rolls-Royce 20hp. This model was a success and produced alongside the Silver Ghost and its successor the Phantom ensuring the Rolls-Royce motor car company would survive and prosper.

In 1931 Rolls-Royce acquired the Bentley motor car company.

The Silver Ghost was an outstanding success and unbelievably a total of 7,874 cars were produced from 1907 to 1926 and it is understood that some 200 cars were sold new in Australia. A hard act to follow indeed, enter in 1925 the Rolls-Royce ‘New Phantom’ known later as the Phantom 1. Although using the same chassis as the Silver Ghost the Phantom featured a new 7,668cc six cylinder engine.

Like its predecessor, the Phantom was bodied by a number of different coach builders including Barker, Park Ward, Thrupp & Maberly, Mulliner, Hooper and others in the UK. In addition to building the Phantom at their plant in Derby, England, Rolls-Royce set up a manufacturing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the United States of America to capitalise on the booming American market. The American built cars were mostly bodied by Brewster & Co and Fleetwood.

In total 3,509 Rolls-Royce Phantoms were built from 1925 to 1929, comprising 2,269 chassis’ built in the UK and 1,240 chassis’ built in the USA.

In 1929 Rolls-Royce introduced the Phantom II, which was powered by a refined version of the engine used in its predecessor, built on an entirely new chassis. Gearbox improvements, including synchromesh, were added as the Phantom II evolved.  In total 1,681 chassis’ were built through the six years of Phantom II production from 1929 through until 1935.

The Phantom III was introduced in 1936 and was the last of the ‘big engined’ prewar Rolls-Royces.  This model introduced the 7,338cc V12 engine and a number of other technological advancements at that time. These were very complicated motor cars. Only 727 Phantom III chassis’ were built from 1936 through to 1939.


  • -
  • Rolls-Royce Phantom II
  • 1931
  • Sedanca de Ville
  • Manual
  • 62,642 miles
  • 7,668 cc


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