1930 Rolls Royce Phantom visits Jay Leno’s Garage

The modern Rolls-Royce Phantom is the automaker’s flagship luxury car, in part because of the pedigree built up by predecessors like the 1930 model featured on this episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

It’s one of many impressive classic cars from California’s Nethercutt Collection, and it’s also one one of 25 examples with bodies from New York coachbuilder Brewster. This one features the so-called town car configuration, where an open cockpit sits at the front and a closed passenger compartment at the back.

Also setting this car apart is the wicker-like detailing on the rear doors. It took a father-and-son team a month to reproduce this during the car’s restoration, Nethercutt Collection Vice President Cameron Richards says in the video. Rolls-Royce is still incorporating intricate details like this into modern bespoke builds like the Phantom Syntopia, which sports a complex iridescent paint job.

Riding on a 150-inch wheelbase, the Phantom weighs about 7,000 pounds, according to Richards. Moving all of that weight is an overhead-valve inline-6 producing approximately 120 hp, connected to a 4-speed manual transmission. That’s not great for the era, but not bad either, according to Richards, who adds that a healthy amount of torque makes the car fairly drivable.

Like the Nethercutt Collection’s 1923 McFarlan Model 154, which was owned by comedian “Fatty” Arbuckle, this Phantom has some Hollywood history. Actress Constance Bennett purchased it from its original owner in 1936, and kept it until her husband lost it in a poker game in 1948.

It was also rented out as a movie prop at a rate of $250 a day at one point, which was more than most actors made at the time, Richards says.

Leno and Richards judge the Phantom to be a comfortable cruiser, but not as fast the Duesenbergs this car would have been compared to in its day. That’s appropriate given Rolls-Royce’s traditional emphasis on comfort over speed, and the relatively primitive brakes are not up to the task of quick stops, anyway.