If there’s one car brand with a great history, it’s the British luxury brand Rolls-Royce. Whether you like cars or not, everyone heard from it. With spooky names like Phantom, Ghost and Wraith, it’s not hard to create an image of the outspoken models. By applying these historical names to the modern Rolls-Royce line-up, the link with the past is easily made. In addition, the famous car brand revives the characteristic classics of yesterday. Classics like this extraordinary beautiful 1939 Wraith Limousine including a Park Ward coachwork, plus a (Dutch) history that is at least as special as the car itself!
Code WHC16 on the chassis tells us that the RR Wraith was originally intended for another legend: the Dutchman called Sir Henri Deterding, nicknamed “the Napoleon of oil”. Mr. Oil is worldwide known as the man who turned Royal Dutch Shell into a serious multinational. Deterding was a business man with lots of flair and self-confidence. His biographer even called him "the most powerful man in the world" back in 1938. The Dutchman's great achievements were followed with great interest by the United States, and evoked a mixed feeling of admiration and fear in the Americans. Fear for consequences of their own power.
Sir Henri Deterding's love for Rolls-Royce turned out to be no coincidence: the man was seen as a tycoon of mythical proportions. A magnificent car like the Wraith with its immense size - certainly for that time, seemed to fit perfectly. Deterding died on February 2, 1939 at the age of 72 after heart failure in his chalet in Switzerland. He never made it to the delivery of “his” Rolls-Royce.
Nevertheless, the Wraith was dignified for years thanks to owners who appreciated the limousine's unrivaled class, resulting in a sublime condition. The exceptionally beautiful appearance owes the car to a major restoration process a few years ago. In addition, the technique recently got major maintenance including a complete engine overhaul. So it won’t be a surprise that the striking Royce rolls the way it looks: absolutely perfect.
The gorgeous red/black paintwork fully matches the elegant, classy exterior of the pre-war gentleman. The sides of the tires are white, which is a smashing contrast to the black spoke rims and ditto wheel arches with their graceful curves. Taking place in the first generation of the Rolls-Royce Wraith feels like being thrown back in time almost literally. The wood finish and chrome details for example, are typical Rolls-Royce characteristics. In this distinguished Englishman you will relive the 1930s all over again; only the environment tells you that we’re more than three quarters of a century ahead.
The Wraith succeeded the Rolls-Royce 25/30 in 1938, whose type designation is a direct reference to the power of the 6-cylinder in-line engine. The engine capacity of 4.3 liters remained the same, but other (technical) parts clearly outdrove the 25/30. For example, the hydraulic dampers at the front are controlled by the regulator, adapting to the speed of the car automatically. As a result, the handling is superior compared to its predecessor. Only 491 roll ready Wraiths were built between 1938-1939. Rolls-Royce took care for the chassis and mechanics. For the coachwork, purchasers could shop at H.J. Mulliner, Hooper and Park Ward. This actually makes every RR Wraith even rarer. And in our business, rarity means uniqueness.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith has stolen the show many times in well-known books and on the white screen. Today it mainly shines at classic events all over the globe. This makes the thoroughbred limo just as worldly-minded as the man that should have been its first owner back in 1939. Anyone who’s convinced that there awaits an important role for this celebrity in his or her life, should feel more than welcome in our showroom…