The Glorious Inside of a 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom
The car was commissioned by business baron Clarence Gasque for his wife Maude, a devotee of 18th-century French design, and it remains one of the most inspired examples of bespoke coachbuilding to this day.
Referred to as the “Phantom of Love,” the car was customized by Charles Clark and Sons. The firm was under instructions by Gasque (the finance director for Woolworth’s in the United Kingdom) that the refined four-door should be more impressive than the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost created for one of his peers, Surefire Snow, regardless of cost.
With that in mind, a sedan chair owned by Marie Antoinette was replicated as the centerpiece for the cabin—one themed to present a mobile version of Versailles.
The additions included an Aubusson tapestry (which took nine months to make), a ceiling mural presenting playful cherubs, a bowed drinks cabinet (fronting additional fold-down seating), side cupboards, an ormolu clock, two porcelain vases (with flowers fabricated from gilded metal and enamel), and in the corners, cherubic lighting sconces.
Once completed, the as-delivered cost was said to be £6,500 (roughly the equivalent of £400,000 or $513,000 today), with £4,500 (roughly $277,000 or $355,000 today) spent on the interior alone. It is most probable that this body was the most costly ever built on a Rolls-Royce chassis. and therefore that the complete car was the most expensive Rolls-Royce ever built.
The Gasques were to enjoy their splendid carriage for only 18 months as Mr Gasque died in October 1928. The car was put into storage where it remained until the death of Mrs Gasque in 1952