1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III
Introducing the first entry of Blackhawk Collection’s exclusive line of original NFTs: the rare and extravagant 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III “Copper Kettle”! The first 3D render of a pre-WWII car to be minted on blockchain. The history and craftsmanship of this one-of-a-kind vintage car captured in digital form, are equalled by the pure artistry. Professionally 3D-scanned 360-degrees, the video gives you a high-resolution fly-around view of the car in full detail.
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Landscape (4K: 4096 PIXELS X 2160 PIXELS)
A Legacy of Engineering Excellence
1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III The “Copper Kettle”
Model Information
Chassis #:
V-12, Overhead Valve
7,338cc (447.6 cubic inches)
Rolls-Royce (London, England)
Freestone & Webb (Derby, England)
*2008 Pebble Beach First in Class Winner
*2008 Lucius Beebe Trophy Award Winner
Strong, silent, and sleek, the Phantom series has been among the most exclusive of motorcars offered by Rolls-Royce for nearly 100 years. The Phantom III was the last pre-WWII car developed by Rolls-Royce, and the last model that Sir Fredrick Henry Royce personally worked on, passing away at age 70, just a year into its development. Phantom has always represented the best available from Rolls-Royce after replacing the famed Silver Ghost which had solidified the image of Rolls-Royce in the world's imagination as synonymous with enduring quality and the absolute highest in engineering excellence.

The Phantom V-12, introduced in 1936, was the pinnacle of art deco opulence. The example offered here, the Phantom III chassis #3CP38, is one of just 727 completed by Rolls-Royce at the Derby factory. The 7338cc (447.6 cubic inch) V-12 was the absolute zenith of engine technology at the time. The all aluminum cam-driven overhead valve engine was built undersquare to ensure silent and strong performance. The braking, a state-of-the-art 4-wheel servo-assisted system built under license from Hispano-Suiza. Far ahead of its time, the Phantom III chassis featured on-board jacking and a one-shot chassis lubrication system actuated by a lever on the interior front fascia. The suspension also included a modern coil-sprung independent front end. By the car's initial build commission, Rolls-Royce was well established as one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers. The Phantom series, debuting in 1925, lives on to this day in the Phantom IX.

Modest Beginnings in Birmingham

In stark contrast to its appearance now, this Phantom had a rather conservative look in its young years. Chassis #3CP38 was ordered from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars on March 19th, 1937 by George Heath Ltd., and shipped from the factory in Derby to Birmingham coachbuilder W.C. Atcherley on May 27th of the same year. The chassis cost £1533, or roughly £100,000 in today’s currency.

William Clive Atcherley built coaches for a wide range of prestigious chassis including Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Bentley, Invicta, Minerva, Alfa Romeo and Daimler. The company originally began as W.C. & R.C. Atcherley, founded together with his brother Robert Clifford Atcherley in 1920. However, the brothers parted ways in 1930, and W.C. took full charge of the company. In total, Atcherley bodied ten pre-war Rolls-Royce, the second-to-last being their only Phantom III. No pictures exist of the original build, but it is known that it was a 6-7 passenger limousine with occasional seats.

During the war, like most other luxury cars in the UK, the car was stored away, but in 1945, the car was dusted off and given a second life. Records show that the car was owned in 1945 by wealthy real estate developer and Rolls-Royce collector, Alfred John Gaul.

The Copper Kettle

Real estate mogul turned fugitive tycoon in his later years, John Gaul was a colorful and eccentric character of dubious repute. Gaul had a penchant for spectacular cars, several of which were bodied by Saoutchik in Paris. In 1946, he commissioned coachbuilders Freestone & Webb to build him a new body for this Phantom III that would win at Concours d’Elegance, the motor car exhibitions at ritzy French resorts where the best coachbuilders would exhibit their most daring designs.

Freestone & Webb was founded in 1923 by V.E. Freestone and A.J. Webb for the sole purpose of car body building. Located in Willesden, London, they concentrated on building bodies on Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis, producing some fifteen Rolls-Royce cars per year, and helped popularize the 'razor edge' style. For nine consecutive years they took the Gold Medal in the Private Coachbuilders competition at the London Motor Show.

Their first post-war Rolls-Royce commission, the car was delivered to Gaul in August of 1946. The result, this extraordinarily striking Sedanca de Ville. A particular favorite of Gaul and his wife, the car was lovingly nicknamed "Gaul's Copper Kettle," as most of the brightwork was in copper rather than chrome. It was used extensively for Concours d'Elegance in Deauville, Monte Carlo and Cannes.

Autocar Magazine review from September 27, 1946

"This has very striking lines which fall gradually from the scuttle towards the rear giving a very low-built appearance. The paneling displays sharp edges which are reproduced also in the long sweeping wings which, with the running boards, are in burnished solid copper with a satin finish. In combination with the deep chianti red paintwork the copper makes a striking finish, for the radiator, mouldings, lamps, bumpers and other metal work are also copper plated.

Every comfort is given in the interior by the two deep armchair seats upholstered in fine-surfaced cloth of deep wine colour relieved by a lighter coloured piping. In front of the occupants, in the back of the division, are folding tables, a wireless set and heater, in light burr walnut cabinet work which is exquisitely finished. The division glass, the rear blind and the off-side front door window are electrically operated either from the instrument board or from switches on top of the rear cabinet. All operational switches are labeled with Old English lettering.”

A True Showstopper

In 1954, Gaul sold the car to a Mr. L. Zimbler in the UK, and Rolls-Royce records later show the car transferred ownership in 1957 in South Africa and then in the Netherlands. In 1964, the car went up for sale with London dealers Frank Dale and Stepsons, described in Motorsport in November of that year as: “documented history, 56,000 miles recorded, potential concours entry, fully restored and ready December.” Its price was an astounding £3,250 – roughly £70,000 in today’s currency. By 1966, the car made its way to the USA where it eventually made its way into the Blackhawk Collection.

In 2008, this Rolls-Royce PIII took First in Class honors in the Rolls-Royce Pre-War Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and was also awarded the Lucius Beebe Trophy, an award given to the Rolls-Royce considered most in the tradition of Lucius Beebe, a journalist, author and all around bon vivant who served among the Concours early judges in the 1950s. Luxurious, flashy, and as powerful in appearance as it is under the hood, the Copper Kettle is a magnificent blend of craftsmanship and style – a true showstopper.