Rolls-Royce Phantom launch celebrations to include "Spartan General" Phantom III
Rolls-Royce will be launching the eighth generation Phantom this year, and plans to celebrate in a big way. The storied marque will be rolling out past Phantoms from famous owners in Mayfair, London to celebrate 92 years of hand-built luxury for the rich and famous. Having announced the collection will include a touch of Hollywood glamour, Rolls-Royce has revealed a Phantom owned by WWII Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery will also be on show.
Bernard Law Montgomery was known as the Spartan General because of his pared back lifestyle. He commanded 200,000 Australian, New Zealand and South African troops at the battle of El Alamein in 1942, which ended in a decisive Allied victory and is hailed as one of the turning points in the Second World War.
He might have been known as the Spartan General, but "Monty" had expensive tastes in cars. He used a 1936 Phantom III coachbuilt by Freestone & Webb as his personal car leading up to D-Day, and also made use of the Silver Wraith. But the Freestone & Webb car isn't the one Rolls-Royce will be wheeling out ahead of the Phantom VIII launch. Visitors to the exhibition in Mayfair will instead be treated to a look at the Butler Phantom III, widely regarded as Field Marshal Montgomery's favourite car.
It was initially commissioned by Alan Samuel Butler, Chairman of De Havilland Aircraft, with bodywork developed by HJ Mulliner of Chiswick. The forward-sloping windscreen was fitted to improve aerodynamic efficiency, while an enclosed spare tire and swept tail were also chosen for their inherent slipperiness. The car has recently been refurbished by Rolls-Royce specialists in Essex, England, and is set for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance this August.
The black exterior was offset by dark tan leather on the inside, with two-inch (5-cm) thick tan carpet and walnut trim on the dashboard. That dashboard was actually damaged by a burn from Winston Churchill's cigar during its war service, though we'd wager that the recent restoration has probably dealt with the marks.
The Phantom III was Montgomery's main transport during the war, and did regular runs to the likes of 10 Downing Street and NATO Supreme Headquarters in France. Having bought the car from the British Ministry of Defence, he held onto the car until 1962. If Rolls-Royce is to believed, fastidious maintenance meant it was still running smoothly after 340,000 mi (547,177 km) on the road.
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery's Phantom III will be on show at "The Great Eight Phantoms" exhibition, starting on July 27 this year. The exhibition will be held in Mayfair, London.
Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars