From RROCA-info

Jump to: navigation, search

1930 Phantom II 260AJS

by Max Houston, 1997

260AJS is a 1930 model 7.5 litre lefthand drive Brewster-bodied Phantom II, chassis number 260AJS. One hundred of these LHD chassis were built in England and shipped to America for body-building and were sold by the Springfield Company, which, by 1930 had become a marketing organisation.

This car was acquired for its Japanese owner some few years ago, being shipped home to Japan and then more recently, shipped from Japan to us for restoration.

The first car we worked on from Japan was a James Young Phantom V, which many Club members saw some time ago at one of our Open Days at VGM. As the cars are used in the owner's business of wedding functions, we were asked if this PII would be air-conditioned too and the division window (original sliding) could be made to operate electrically and open fully. After some consideration my reply was in the affirmative, but that I believed it should be done in such a way that it did not interfere with the integrity of the original design. Having obtained the owner's agreement with this principle we put in train the design, building and manufacture of the additions so that they would be part of the assembly of the restored car.

The car now has a fully integrated dual air-conditioning and heating system with special high output electric alternator system to power it. The electrically-operated division window now opens full width and disappears into the roof when open. It is operated by two electric window motors operating rack and pinion drives, sliding in steel casings which are. a continuation of the window channel. Even though the motors are new units, they had a 30% speed variation. This required a cross-shaft to couple the motors to avoid the window jamming. In order to do this a gear train was developed, lifting, the cross-shaft above the level of the roof frame to retain the original head room for the rear passengers. This shaft is connected with self-aligning spherical couplings. To access the mechanism for service, the hood lining is on detachable panels. The window can be controlled by the driver or the rear passengers.

The spare wheel was re-located further back behind the new trunk which is fabric-covered in period fashion to match the fabric of the roof. The trunk now contains the air-conditioning evaporator and heating coils and the threespeed fans. The new rear bumper has been changed to suit the new rear arrangements. It has new period-type overriders with an "R-R" emblem cast in bronze and then chrome plated.

The fuel tank was badly rusted, so we made a new one and the A/C condenser has been recessed into the back of it and is obscured by the spare wheel.

In keeping with the intention to carry out these modifications as inconspicuously as possible, the ducting for the A/C is hidden in the roof fining with a separate outlet for each occupant of the car, as well as a separate air delivery duct in the rear floor. The front compartment under-dash unit is mounted high and mostly hidden by the new dash which has been shaped to obscure the unit. The vacuum tank had to be shortened some 25% as it protruded into the car.

Because of the high amperage demanded by these modifications, it was proposed to build an alternator to look like the original generator which drives the magneto at crankshaft speed. Further research indicated that alternators must spin at high speed, but this 7.5 litre engine runs quite slowly, of course and in traffic at night with lights and airconditioning on, there would undoubtedly be battery trouble. We have therefore retained the original generator and magneto drive. The governor housing was removed from the timing case and we made a special oil-sealed extension housing and shaft to fit a special Multi-Vee pulley and belt drive counter-shaft beneath the radiator, mounting the alternator in front. A new radiator apron was made to conceal this from above and front, similar to the later PII (my own for example; 1934 PII Chassis Number 173RY, which many of you have seen, has this style of front apron). It is now functional and unobtrusive. This alternator charges its own battery which operates the A/C, heating systems and division window; the original battery and generator with magneto system remains for driving the car.

The under-bonnet view is only changed by the compressor drive which is concealed beneath the right-hand front engine mount and the toothed belt drive from the new pulley on the generator shaft. At first; and second glances, there are no visible modifications. The blinker switch, fitted to the car in Japan, was mounted on a piece of steel tubing clamped to the steering column with an exhaust pipe clamp and projecting up to the area of the steering wheel. It was extremely crude. The steering shaft on a PII is exposed above the dash and turns with the wheel. A false steering column was made and attached to the top thrust bearing housing of the steering box at dash level. The switch is mounted properly on it in a manner that I believe Rolls-Royce would have if blinker switches had been part of life in 1930. It is nickel-plated and the wiring concealed.

The cocktail cabinet we made for the rear compartment is of mahogany with American carpathean elm veneer with brass inlays, in the same style as the original wood trims of the car. It contains decanters and glasses of Edinburgh crystal carried in felt-fined sockets. In the centre is the radio/cassette and CD player, operated by remote control concealed behind a small hinged panel.

The rear upholstery is French Burgundy Regency-stripe with floral motif bonded to a 2mm foam and nylon backing. The front compartment has been upholstered in a deep red leather to tone with the burgundy in the rear.

All these additions and modifications were very time-consuming. They had to be invented, designed, developed, manufactured and fitted; proved, dismantled, finalised, painted or plated and reassembled to the car, using whatever components we could buy as stock lines and adapting them to our purpose and fabricating and machining everything else to make the assembly.

The appearance and workmanship is to Rolls-Royce standard and as much as possible has not interfered with the integrity of the original design. (Concours judges please note).

In addition to all these modifications and additions, the car has been totally dismantled and every component reconditioned. The engine has been fully reconditioned including a new hardened steel camshaft and followers, always the "Achilles Heel" of a Phantom II. These are now pressure-lubricated for long life and silence. When the engine was stripped down, brown mud was caked on the inside of the crankcase with a rusty tide-mark at oil slinger level. The back main bearing shells were spinning with the shaft. The origins of the camshaft design common to all PIIs, just not the US version, are inexplicable.

The body was dismantled, all the rotted and worm-eaten wooden frame sections renewed and the aluminium panels repaired and refitted. There is new safety glass throughout and the new division window is heat-treated toughened glass for extra safety.

All external bright work was re-chromed on the Art-Deco-style body and all internal fittings nickled or silver-plated to give the softer shine to suit the Regency stripes and the polished wood work. A new aluminium panel was shaped and fitted to the top of the body for additional strength and safety before the new fabric top was fitted. New roof gutters have been fitted and the detachable cant rail covers repaired with matching gutters attached to them. All this has been painted to match the fabric of the roof.

The biggest job in twenty-five years!

Max Houston.

(Weeks later I had a 'phone call from Japan with a Japanese voice in not terribly good English, shouting "It's Gorgeous! - It's Gorgeous! " This confused me no end for a minute until I realised the car had been received by its Japanese owner; "So many things! So many switches! It's gorgeous!")

Personal tools