- Well known with detailed provenance from new
- Marvelous example for classic car tours and Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club events
- 1 of just 727 Phantom IIIs produced
- A fascinating example retaining its original 7.3-litre twelve-cylinder engine
Selling on Saturday Evening
1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sedanca de Ville
Blessed with exceptionally well-detailed provenance from new, this 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III is 1 of just 727 chassis produced and marks a genuinely thrilling find for marque collectors and enthusiasts alike. Bearing Chassis Number 3BT149, it retains its original V-12 engine, E58X. It also has its original and decidedly sporting two-door, “four-light” Sedanca de Ville body by Barker, bearing number 7296. Recorded “off-test” on April 27, 1937, 3BT149 was completed and delivered new on September 8, 1937, to Thomas John Hughes, a Solicitor resident in Grosvenor Square, London, and registered ‘EGX1’ under him. Given its production timeframe, the body for 3BT149 was consequently one of the last created by an independent Barker prior to its takeover in 1938 by rival firm Hooper.
Mr. Hughes faithfully retained 3BT149 until May 1959, when he sold it via Rolls-Royce dealer Paddon Bros. to the colorful American bank president and prolific classic car collector Mills B. Lane of Atlanta, Georgia. Registered ‘WYF III,’ the Phantom III was humorously dubbed “The Third Wife” by Mr. Lane, who kept the Phantom III in England, where Paddon Brothers cosmetically restored it. Among the items addressed, BT149 was retrofitted with a spare wheel/tire and spare-tire carrier to the passenger side, fitted with new tires, equipped with new carpeting, and the interior was comprehensively detailed. A new Everflex removable front roof cover was also assembled and installed, and the body was stripped, prepared, and refinished in Rover Donkey Brown to the body, and the wheel discs and spare wheel covers were painted Austin Farina Grey.
Interestingly, the new exterior color combination was suggested by none other than award-winning designer Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, who had relocated to Georgia and forged a friendship with Mr. Lane during the early 1960s. During this period, shortly before the Count’s eventual passing, he created a series of beautiful watercolors depicting the beautiful motorcars, including 3BT149, that formed the Lane Collection. Featuring de Sakhnoffsky’s colors, 3BT149 was exhibited by Mr. Lane at a Rolls-Royce rally held at Blenheim Palace, where its next owner first encountered the unforgettable P III.
The P III was exported to the United States in 1961, and the Mills Lane Collection was offered at auction in 1965. However, 3BT149 passed unsold and was eventually in the hands of a dealer in Nebraska, through whom it was purchased in 1967 by its next owner, a confirmed Rolls-Royce collector, enthusiast, and expert, who would retain and cherish 3BT149 for the next 55 years. During that time, the Phantom III participated in CCCA CARavan tours and was exhibited in numerous Concours and Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club events. The Phantom III was also a virtual fixture in print publications, including Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club magazine, The Flying Lady, and The Classic Car, published by the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA).
A fabulous and fascinating example of the flagship, 7.3-litre twelve-cylinder Phantom III, 3BT149 remains simply captivating with its older yet well-preserved restoration. Cherished by just three long-term private owners, meticulously restored, and lovingly maintained through the years, 3BT149 is ideal for enjoyable classic tours or casual shows. Importantly, the V-12 runs exceptionally well, with the power and refinement expected of a dialed-in Phantom III. Service records as recent as mid-2022 show the critical cooling system is in good health. A show car that stands tall as a fine classic touring car, this marvelous Phantom III is accompanied by most of its factory tool kit still in place, plus an owner’s handbook and a wealth of documentation confirming its outstanding provenance. A truly rare and distinctive Phantom III, 3BT149 remains a beautiful example of Barker’s renowned coachbuilding prowess and the engineering excellence of Rolls-Royce.