The Phantom’s six cylinder inline engine had a split block with 7668cc capacity. This latest evolution of the engine, with its two valves per cylinder operated by a crank mounted camshaft, proved more efficient than its predecessors. Complete with its Edwardian suspension, the Phantom transmitted power to its rigid axle via a dry-clutched four-speed gearbox.
Rolls-Royce also introduced a four-wheel brake assist system on the Phantom, that major innovation being first used on Hispano-Suiza cars. Using a small motor coupled to the gearbox, the new system used the kinetic energy produced by the engine to assist in braking performance. The system, both refined and very practical, remained in production for an entire generation of Rolls-Royce’s and was only replaced by the invention of the modern vacuum-driven system.
There were several subtle refinements too on the Phantom II which made it stand out from the competition. A gearbox timing tweak, a quieter final ratio and a lubrication system that ran through the central tunnel were all new additions.
The history of the “second ghost” in the Museu do Caramulo is intrinsically linked to the first importers of the English brand into Portugal—Harry Charles Rugeroni and his father José Rugeroni. The Rugeroni’s became the Portuguese specialists for Henry Royce and Charles Rolls’ creations.
Born in 1911, Harry Charles Rugeroni was from a very young age, instructed by his father in the art of caring for Rolls-Royce’s. It was a schooling that would have its high point in 1929 when the young Rugeroni was accepted into the Rolls-Royce Derby factory to complete his professional training.
Entry into the Rolls-Royce factory allowed the young Rugeroni to closely monitor the manufacture of a Phantom II ordered by his father, in 1930. Sporting an all-aluminum body designed by José Rugeroni himself and built by Weymann, the Phantom II stood out because of its very recognizable Sports Coupé body and its innovative door-opening mechanism. Designated the “double-centre”, the mechanism allowed the doors to open in both directions, making access to the rear seats a more elegant affair.
On April 18, 1932, the Phantom II Sports Coupé was registered in Portugal for the first time under the name of Carlos Machado Ribeiro Ferreira, an engineer. The car, however, would have been dispatched to Portugal before, 12 November 1930. Unfortunately, at that time, the Phantom II had to lose its double door opening system, which was considered to be too dangerous.
The Phantom II, designed by Rugeroni, would be awarded the 1st Prize for Elegance and Comfort, at Campo Grande, in Lisbon.
With 78,860 km on the clock, the Rugeroni-designed Phantom II was saved from the scrap heap by João de Lacerda on March 31, 1956. It was later recovered by Harry Rugeroni who, after 19 long years, was reunited with his father’s creation.
Built in England and also in the city of Springfield, USA, the New Phantom used its newly created engine and unmatched build quality to accumulate sales. Around 2250 units of the Phantom were sold, being replaced by the Phantom II model, which sold 1767 units and which, in turn, was replaced by the Phantom III in 1935.