Me and my mo­tor

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE.COM.AU - Mark Hinch­liffe

AS a child grow­ing up in Gal­way, Ire­land, Martin Glynn used to slide down the long, flow­ing fend­ers on the district vet’s Rolls-Royce for fun.

‘‘I al­ways thought I’d like one of those cars one fine day,’’ he says.

So when he went into semire­tire­ment about 15 years ago, he sought out an early model Roller like the Gal­way vet’s.

The 1938 Phan­tom III he bought at a de­ceased es­tate auc­tion in Syd­ney orig­i­nally cost less than $5000. Glynn paid $84,000, re­stored it to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion and it’s now worth more than $500,000.

‘‘I don’t think I’ll ever sell it. It’s part of the fam­ily,’’ he says.

Phoebe the Phan­tom, as he calls it, comes with quite a his­tory.

The chas­sis was built in Crewe and the Sedanca de Ville town car coach was built by H. J. Mulliner in London. It was a demo model for seven months be­fore be­ing bought by a French woman and shipped to Que­bec.

She died in 1952 and it was taken to a New York car yard un­til 1967 when it was bought for about $1200 by a London un­der­taker, who re­turned it to Blighty.

The body was mod­i­fied to add an­other row of seats so it could be used as a mourn­ing car.

Just two years later a Syd­ney so­lic­i­tor bought it and drove it around London for a cou­ple of years be­fore ship­ping it out to the colonies.

In 1975, a Syd­ney Volvo dealer swapped a new Volvo for the relic, which was then in need of sub­stan­tial restora­tion. The dealer re­stored the en­gine, but lit­tle else, un­til Glynn came along and bought it.

Glynn smiles as he fires up the Roller’s big black 7340cc twin-spark V12 en­gine and it purrs into life.

‘‘It’s true what they say about it be­ing so quiet in­side the only thing you can hear is the clock,’’ he says. ‘‘Some­times you can hold the starter on for too long, be­cause you can’t hear or feel when the en­gine has started, but it can sit in the garage for three months with­out run­ning and it starts first time.’’ The big 2630kg beast has 160 horse­power that will roll it up to 100km/h in 16.5 sec­onds and out to a top speed of 150km/h while guz­zling fuel at 23.5L/100km.

Only 727 of these were made and they have been owned by lords, ladies, princes, ma­hara­jahs, Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill and Field Mar­shal Bernard Mont­gomery. But as each model is pur­pose-built to owner spec­i­fi­ca­tions, no two are the same.

Glynn’s fea­tures the ex­tra seats, a cock­tail cabi­net, a rear pic­nic ta­ble, pull-out tool­kit, one-way in­ter­com from pas­sen­ger to chauf­feur and as his wife, Ann, points out, an elec­tri­cally con­trolled silk pri­vacy screen. ‘‘There’s plenty of room to do what­ever you like in the back,’’ she says.

Their other pride and joy is a 1960 Bent­ley SII Con­ti­nen­tal Fly­ing Spur with coach­work also by Mulliner.

It was orig­i­nally owned by Ham­mer Films’ man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Lt-Col J. Car­reras. Only 70 were made and Glynn says there are six in Aus­tralia.

He bought it for $60,000 from a Hong Kong doc­tor when the Bri­tish colony was handed back to the Chi­nese in 2000. Glynn be­lieves the V8 Spur is now worth about $200,000.

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