Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

RM Auction, Part 2

Next up on the auction block is this 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Seven-Passenger Tourer — 40/50 hp, 468 cu. in. OHV inline six-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with cantilever leaf spring platform suspension, and four-wheel servo-assisted brakes. Wheelbase: 146.5 in.

Replacing its elegant but aging Silver Ghost chassis was no easy task for Rolls-Royce, but the New Phantom, which debuted in 1925, was a more than worthy successor. Taking Rolls-Royce into the modern “Roaring 20s” era of motoring, the Phantom rode on an improved version of the Silver Ghost's basic chassis and reflected the marque’s characteristic design philosophy of careful evolution rather than revolution.

Production commenced at Derby, England in 1925 and at Rolls-Royce’s Springfield, Massachusetts production facility in 1926, where the Phantom I was built with left-hand drive for the North American market. Two wheelbase lengths, 143.5 and 146.5 inches, were offered for the Springfield cars, providing the ability to accommodate a multitude of custom-built bodies from the American coach-building industry. Prior to the October 1929 stock-market crash, Springfield production was as high as 12 Phantom I chassis per week. Phantom I construction continued through 1932 at Springfield, while the model had already been supplanted by the Phantom II at Derby in 1929. In all, about 1,240 Phantom Is were built at Springfield.

It was estimated to sell for $300K - $400K but only commanded $286K.

Here we present a 1955 Cadillac Series 75 Presidential Parade Limousine — 285 bhp, 365 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 149.75 in.

The histories of American presidential limousines are quite well known, and it is widely recognized that there’s always a fleet of similar cars in use by the Secret Service. But presidents and their families often have their own preferences and needs for transportation, both official and informal. So it was for Mamie Doud Eisenhower, First Lady of the 34th President of the United States. The Eisenhowers desired a car that could be used by Mrs. Eisenhower and also serve as a formal and parade vehicle when needed.


In March 1955, an order was placed with Cadillac for an eight-passenger Imperial sedan, body style 7533X. It came off the Fleetwood assembly line in basic black, with dark grey, plain broadcloth upholstery, power brakes, E-Z Eye tinted glass, a rear compartment radio, a heater, and air conditioning. From the factory, it was sent to Hess & Eisenhardt, professional car conversion specialists in Rossmoyne, Ohio. They took the basic sedan and replaced the rearmost part of the roof with a section and rear window from a Series 62 Coupe de Ville. The result was a pillar-less “hardtop” limousine, allowing an excellent viewpoint for press photographers. A sliding sunroof was added, along with a grab rail for balance while standing in the moving car. The driver’s compartment was upholstered in blue leather with a black padded dashboard, while the rear compartment was finished in buttoned grey broadcloth. The firewall data plate shows the special order conversion was complete on May 27, 1955.

Asking price: $120K - $150K. Selling price: $105K.

Folks my age remember the now retired nameplate of Imperial by Chrysler emblematic of sheer luxury and big fins. This one is a 1960 Imperial Crown Convertible — Series P1Y-M. 350 bhp, 413 cu. in. V-8 engine, Torqueflite three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with torsion bars and semi-floating rear axle with tapered semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-operated hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 129 in.

As before, the 1960 Imperial earned many positive reviews, including that of Motor Life, which stated, “It handled and rode better than anything else of its size on the road. For all its mass, it feels like a light car, with the Torqueflite transmission, power steering, and power brakes doing everything they can to eliminate labor from driving. Compared to last year's Imperial, the 1960 is quieter, more comfortable, and even easier on the eye.” In particular, the Imperial Crown Convertible epitomized the glamour and progressive spirit of the era. Weighing nearly 5,000 pounds and priced from $5,774, just 618 of these majestic cars were originally built, with each survivor being highly coveted today.

Expected selling price: $135K - $165K. Actual selling price: $154K.

Wow, one of my favorites — a 1947 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon — 144 hp, 320.2 cu. in. “Fireball” valve-in-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 129 in.


Buick introduced its Estate Wagon model mid-year as part of the Super Series in 1940, reportedly at the urging of a wealthy lady who informed Buick management that the only reason she did not own one was that she required a station wagon — which they did not build. While it would remain available in lower lines for the next seven years, a “woodie” wagon was not offered in the most prestigious Roadmaster series until 1947, when such a car became available. Designated the Model 79, and at $3,249, the Hercules-bodied Roadmaster Estate Wagon was Buick’s most expensive car of the year, an ideal vehicle for summer homes or drives in the country. Accordingly, just 300 of these prestigious wagons were produced, and the example offered here is, according to the owner, one of only four restored examples known to exist today.

The lady obviously had good taste.

I confess to loving all the "woodie" designs but this one has a closer connection because my family owned a 1946 Buick sedan — straight 8 — although ours was a dark blue-green.

This one sold for $82.5K.

Last for this week is a 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V Convertible — 315 bhp, 430 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, Twin-Range Turbo-Drive automatic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 131 in.

The 1958 through 1960 Lincolns and Lincoln Continentals were the most massive American passenger cars produced since World War II, built on a 131-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 227.2 inches for the 1960 models. The Mark V convertible tips the scales at an impressive 5,176 pounds. Only 2,044 were produced.

This Continental has been honored repeatedly, with a Best Senior 1949–1960 and the Lincoln Trophy at the 2005 Lincoln and Continental Owners Club Eastern Meet. It received its second Best Senior 1949–1960 Award and the William Coughlin Trophy during the 2006 LCOC Eastern Meet at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. In addition to winning show trophies, this Mark V is reported to be exceptionally powerful, smooth, roomy, and luxuriously comfortable.

Asking price: $90K - $110K. Selling price: $93.5K.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com