1939/47 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Vutotal Cabriolet coming to Fairfield Concours d’Elegance

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

At the upcoming Fairfield Concours d'Elegance, watch out for the star car  the 1939/47 Rolls-Royce Phantom III "Vutotal" Cabriolet by Labourdette. It will bear the Spirit of Ecstasy on her hood and will have a design throughout its body. This vehicle is now in the John Rich Museum collection but it actually began as a standard Phantom III designed by Henry Royce.

Coachbuilder Hooper and Co. re-envisioned it in 1938 with a Sedanca de Ville body style. It was displayed in Europe before receiving modifications to fit in the US market.

In the 1940s, this show car found its way to the Parisian studio of Henri Labourdette who later gave the car an overhaul and had scrapped everything but the running gear.

He rebodied the car in gold-plated-and-brass-adorned aerodynamic bodywork that swooped back into a boattail. He also removed features that made it recognizable as a Rolls, except for its mascot and a pair of interior trim pieces. Labourdette also fitted the car with the Vutotal windscreen, a thick slice of glass that seems to support itself.

The cost to convert this car totaled $44,000 an incredibly high figure. Now remember that this was when the average price of a home was about $4,000.

Featured judging classes on the Concours docket include Porsche, Bugatti, Period Hot Rods and Custom Cars from 1948 to 1964. Other highly anticipated events include regional vintage club gatherings and an auction conducted by Bonhams.

The featured artist is photographer Jesse Alexander. A new category for this year is the Barn Find category. If you own a vehicle that will go well with dusty, rusted hulks, then you´ll be glad to know that they´re still accepting submissions. Included in this category are a 1949 Willys Panel Wagon and 1961 AC Greyhound.

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