One-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce with palatial interior could fetch £700k

A vintage Rolls-Royce with a one-of-a-kind interior is expected to fetch up to £700,000 when it goes under the hammer in December.

The Phantom I was commissioned in 1926 by Woolworths' financial director Clarence Gasque as a present for his wife.
He bought the chassis and drivetrain from Rolls-Royce for £1,600 and immediately handed it to Wolverhampton-based coachbuilder Charles Clark, demanding that the car's design must be French.

The company's head designer at the time was a Mr Bennett. He commissioned craftsmen from France to spend nine months creating a tapestry for the rear seats. It cost £500, approximately the same price as a house at the time.

While sat on the tapestry, passengers could also see naked cherubs, which were painted on the ceiling.

One-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce with palatial interior could go for £700,000 at auction
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One-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce with palatial interior could go for £700,000 at auction

The rear compartment also features a bow-fronted drinks cabinet, satinwood veneer panelling on the doors, a French ormolu clock with porcelain vases each side and a fitted make-up cabinet.

The car cost a total of £6,500 and took about 10 months to complete, before being delivered to the couple in April 1927. They enjoyed it for 18 months until Mr Gasque passed away at the age of 54 – his wife continued to use it for 10 years after his death.

It was then locked away until 1952 when it was sold to a Rolls-Royce collector, who then sold it on to a Japanese collector in the '80s. From here its history is unclear, as rumours suggest another Japanese collector bought it before running in to financial difficulties.

It then resurfaced in America in 2002 and was returned to England where it has been stored ever since.

It will go up for auction at Bonhams' Bond Street sale on December 4 with an estimate of £500,000 to £700,000.
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