Rolls-Royce Phantom IV
The Phantom IV was the most exclusive Rolls-Royce model ever built. Only 18 were made between 1950 and 1956, exclusively for royalty and heads of state. Of these, 16 have survived.
By creating the Phantom IV the manufacturer broke with their earlier decision to cease production of the series of "big" Rolls-Royce Phantoms after the end of the Second World War. The chassis was developed from that of the Silver Wraith, strengthened and lengthened considerably to a wheelbase of 145 inches and an overall length of 229 inches.
It is the only Rolls-Royce motorcar to be fitted with a straight-8 engine, which was powerful but could also run long distances at a very low speed, an important feature for ceremonial cars.
All examples of this unique model were bodied by independent coachbuilders and their bonnets surmounted by the kneeling version of the Spirit of Ecstasy.
In 1949, Rolls-Royce received an order from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh for a Rolls-Royce limousine. His Royal Highness took this decision when he was lent an experimental Bentley with an eight-cylinder engine; the young Duke was so impressed he asked Rolls-Royce to build such a chassis to his order.
The commission was accepted and Rolls-Royce, aware that Daimler had held the Royal warrant to provide motor cars since 1900, intended to ensure that they made the best car they could. The directors had earlier considered making a replacement for the pre-war Phantom III, but were wary that such a large and expensive motor car might not have a market in the weak post-war economy. Production of the new model was not at Crewe but at the experimental Clan Foundry at Belper which had been the home of the motor car branch during the Second World War.
Under the code name "Nabha", the royal Rolls-Royce was hand-built on a stretched Silver Wraith chassis. When completed in July 1950 its delivery was accompanied by a public announcement stating the Phantom IV had been "designed to the special order of Their Royal Highnesses, the Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh". As the car was privately owned when delivered to the couple, and was not an official state car, it was painted Valentine green (deep green with a slight blue secondary hue) with red beltline striping. The limousine became an official state car upon Princess Elizabeth's accession to the British throne in 1952; as such, it was repainted in claret and black. It remains in the Royal Mews and is occasionally used to transport Royal aides and friends to Royal Ascot. The car was used at the Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton to carry Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall from Clarence House to Westminster Abbey.
This first Phantom IV was the first of two that Princess Elizabeth ordered; in 1954 a similar model with a landaulet body entered the royal fleet. The landaulet has since been retired.
Rolls-Royces remained preferred by the British Royal Family until the delivery of two customised Bentleys donated by that firm in 2002. However, the Phantom IV is sometimes used for special occasions of the royal family, such as by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.
Other owners included the Queen's sister, HRH The Princess Margaret, The Countess of Snowdon and the Spanish Head of State, General Francisco Franco, whose three customised Phantom IVs (two limousines and a cabriolet) are still in ceremonial service with HM King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
Rolls-Royce-Phantom-IV 4AF8 rear view