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BCCC webpage of Lowell Wakker
My 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V
Here is the saga of the restoration of the '61 RR Phantom V. It starts about 20 years ago with a leisurely morning walk in Sarasota, FL. I saw a gray slab sided car through a tiny hole in some bushes as I walked. I ultimately spent time chatting with Leo Parcells, the 70 year old former RR mechanic who simply couldn't handle the size of the restoration. The car was sitting in an open car port for a year. I took a thorough tour of the hulk and left my name and number. A few days later, while I was still in FL, I was called to let me know the owner suffered some health issues and did he know of anyone who might be interested in buying the car. He said, "I think I've got just the guy."
With Leo's help, we negotiated the purchase price and I had it shipped to Vermont and pushed it into my open car port. I couldn't drive it. All the restoration work took place in VT in an open car port. Working conditions could have been a little better. After three years of evenings and weekends, the car was drivable and presentable. Since that time I have repaired and upgraded the brakes (all new parts throughout), the A/C, installed seat belts, stainless steel exhaust and myriad other things to make the car look and drive correctly.
The pictures show the condition of the car when first retrieved from dead storage, the delivery, gradual change in appearance and final results. The interesting aside to all this mechanical stuff is shown by the build sheets and bill of sale. The "Customer" was listed as, "Foreign Office for HM Ambassador in Rome." Turns out the car had spent about 3 decades in Rome, Italy, being used by Queen Elizabeth II Ambassadors, along with other dignitaries. If only those walls could talk.
Because the car was specifically made for Italian roads, it is left hand drive. It took RR 11 years to build just 519 P-V's, and they were sold almost exclusively to Royalty and heads of state. Their sale price was roughly 9 times the cost of a new Silver Cloud in that year. All the body panels are hand hammered aluminum and with so few cars built, just about everything except the drive train was custom made for this car. The V-8, 6.23 liter (380 cu. in.) engine and GM Turbo-hydramatic transmission are the same as all Silver Clouds. Weighing in at 6,000 pounds and almost 20 feet long, it's a joy to drive and a chore to park.
Each of my cars shown in this gallery was sold and parlayed into the next purchase. There were times when I had four British cars in the driveway at one time. See, I told you it was a sickness.