‘The Eight Great Phantoms’ to Descend on London to Welcome Next Generation

Fred Astaire’s personal 1927 Rolls-Royce takes point

Rolls-Royce will give the next generation of Phantom a suitably classy welcome party in London, England this summer. ‘The Eight Great Phantoms” exhibition opens in late July 2017. These are the most famous Phantoms of the model’s 92-year history and all seven generations will be represented at the showcase.

First debuted in 1925, Rolls-Royce’s flagship model has long been the vehicle of choice for both celebrity and royalty. Fred Astaire’s 1927 Phantom I, on loan from the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California will be the crown jewel of the exhibition.

Astaire purchased his right-hand drive Phantom I following his success in the Broadway musical “Funny Face.” Astaire then toured the U.K. when not performing in subsequent years. His car still has a Louis Vuitton motoring trunk affixed to the rear — with his top hat, shoes, and cane inside.

There were moments in history where it looked like the Phantom’s time was up. After the Second World War, a successor to the Phantom III seemed dubious, but the fourth iteration was completed in 1950 for Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth before she became the Queen of England.

After the successful fifth and sixth generations of Phantom, built from 1959 to 1990, the moniker again took a hiatus.

The seventh generation Phantom entered production in 2003. Phantom VIIs featured unique touches like door-mounted umbrellas, suicide doors, and self-righting wheel-centers.

Rolls-Royce built the last example of the Phantom VII in late 2016. The eighth generation Phantom will be unveiled July 27 at the exhibition in the affluent Mayfair district of London’s West End.

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