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Meet the man who owned a Rolls Royce for 77 years, 2.75 lakh km without a single breakdown

Rolls Royce is a name that doesn’t need any introduction. It resonates with everyone who dreams of owning a luxury vehicle but unfortunately, only a select few can actually own it. Even though there are many luxury car manufacturers, Rolls Royce is class apart due to the quality of products used to make the car. A 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom I is a testament to this fact. It has covered over 2.75 lakh kilometres. The Phantom was proudly owned by M. Allen Swift of West Hartford, Connecticut.

Mr Swift has also entered history books for being the longest owner of a Rolls Royce in the world. He’s owned it for about 77 years. Rolls Royce even presented Allen with a crystal Spirit of Ecstasy as a recognition.
Mr Swift was lucky to be born in an era where the automobile industry was at its peak and rapidly growing. Primarily due to this reason, his fascination with automobiles was triggered and eventually grew. He bought his first car at the age of 24 which was a 1917 Franklin.

He then went on to buy a Marmon as his second car. At the age of 26, he received the Rolls Royce as a birthday present from his father for staying and supporting in the family business. This sacrifice by Allen also helped his younger siblings to continue college educations. Allen was given the liberty to choose any car as his birthday present. He did his due diligence and was extremely impressed with the testing in the Springfield plant of Rolls Royce. During a 2003 interview at the Springfield Museums, he revealed that the rigorous testing of the cars was a deciding factor for him.

“Someone had advised me to go to the Springfield plant, I went all through it and watched them making the parts. It reinforced my idea that it was well made. I saw all the ways they tested the cars. Every engine was tested. Then when they got the engine finished, they set it up on a concrete block and ran it a specified number of times and a specified number of hours.”

“Someone would come around periodically with a stethoscope and listen to it and so forth. Then it was completely dismantled and checked and reassembled and put back into the chassis. Then a bench was mounted on the chassis, and a test driver drove it 200 miles before it was released.”

World’s oldest Phantom

Coming to this oldest Rolls Royce Phantom, Allen chose Piccadilly body finish in dual-tone green, because of the uniqueness it offered. The chassis of Allen’s Phantom I was manufactured by the Brewster & Co. Coachworks, NY which was a well-known chassis maker during those days.

Even though the 1928 Phantom was in pristine condition, it had a full body restoration and engine rebuild in 1988. Maintaining the Rolls Royce has been a cakewalk with only regular oil changes and service maintenance. Most of the maintenance was done by Allen himself, from the comfort of his home.

Two months before Allen passed away, he decided to donate his beloved Phantom to the Springfield Museum. Along with the car, he also donated $1,000,000 for the museum to be able to take care of his car and can be used to further expand their land and collection of iconic automobiles for their museum.

Phantom is still a prominent product of the Rolls Royce portfolio. Rolls Royce claims that the Phantom has the quietest cabin in the world amongst all luxury cars. They use double-laminated windows and 130 kgs of sound insulation to cut out any noise from the outside. It comes with a twin-turbo 6.75 litresV12 petrol engine that produces 571 PS of maximum power and a massive 900 Nm of peak torque. The car weighs 2.6-tonnes but even with that weight, it can do a 0-100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds. In India, Rolls Royce Phantom is priced at Rs. 9 crores ex-showroom and the extended wheelbase variant is priced at about Rs. 11 crores ex-showroom.