Roller with a touch of notoriety

AutoTrader NZ
Published 9 March 2020

February 17, 2007. Punters will get a chance to buy a car with a roundabout link to the history of Nazi Germany at the Melbourne motor show auction next month.

Among items listed for the Shannons auction is a 1927 Rolls-Royce nicknamed The Princess after her owner who found infamy as a spy for Adolf Hitler.

The Phantom I Saloon was originally delivered with Cabriolet de Ville coachwork by Barker to a London woman in 1927, but in 1929 passed into the hands of Austrian Princess Stephanie Hohenlohe de Waldenbern, a royal by marriage.

Although Jewish, she was said to be a close friend of many high-ranking Nazis of the time, including Joachim von Ribbentrop and Hermann Goering. Nazi dictator Hitler called her his “dear princess.”

British intelligence files alleged she later became a spy for Germany, and the US Government described her as “more dangerous than 10,000 men.”

By then the Rolls-Royce with its 7.6-litre inline six-cylinder engine and three-speed manual gearbox had been sold to an Australian, and had been rebodied as a saloon by Martin & King.

It had several other owners before settling in Queensland for some years.

The Phantom today retains its period black and maroon Martin & King coachwork with burgundy leather and beige cloth interior.

Other touches include the period flower vase and the metal trunk on sliding rails, plus a set of tools.

The car is fitted with 20-inch Rudge-Whitworth wheels and comes with both the Flying Lady mascot and town cap.

Shannons expects it to sell in the $Au75,000-$90,000 range at the March 12 auction.