The Phantom I, initially known as “The New Phantom,” emerged from Rolls-Royce after a four-year development period, making its debut in 1925 as the successor to the widely praised “Silver Ghost.” The latter had already earned Rolls-Royce the prestigious title of “The Best Car in the World,” prompting hesitation from Henry Royce to make drastic changes to a model that had already proven exceptionally successful. The chassis details of the “New Phantom” closely mirrored those of the “Silver Ghost,” maintaining a successful formula. Despite a growing trend toward unit construction of engines and gearboxes, Royce opted to retain separate units for the new model.
While the engine of the “New Phantom” retained some similarities with the “Silver Ghost,” it underwent significant enhancements, featuring a one-piece, detachable, cast-iron cylinder head. Emulating the popular 20hp model, the “New Phantom” introduced pushrod-operated overhead valves. The engine boasted a capacity of 7,668cc, and like its predecessor, three of the four gears were mostly redundant, except for starting from rest or tackling steep gradients.
Barker & Co. Coachbuilders maintained a close association with Rolls-Royce, seamlessly transitioning from carriage building to automotive “coach” building. Based in London, Barker & Co. was well-positioned to collaborate with Charles Rolls as he catered to the upper echelons of society. As Rolls-Royce evolved from two-cylinder cars to various power unit configurations, including a V8, before settling on the renowned single-model six-cylinder Silver Ghost, Barker followed suit. Notably, The Silver Ghost, christened as such, adorned Barker’s bodywork, as did many subsequent cars in the series.
Barker’s coachwork consistently resonated with Rolls-Royce clientele, maintaining a comparable level of quality. Similarly, with the introduction of the New Phantom, or the inaugural Phantom model, Barker’s coachwork exhibited the same high-class design. The bodywork, often equipped with patented accessories manufactured by Barker, continued the tradition of excellence established by the renowned coachbuilder.