1931 Rolls-Royce PII Continental drophead coupe

1931 Rolls-Royce (20MS) when in the Briggs Cunningham collection (from the collection of the author)

This 1931 Rolls-Royce (20MS) PII Continental drophead coupe with body by James Young Ltd. (Young of Bromley) was said to have been built for Marion Barbara "Joe" Carstairs. Sorry about the quality of the image, it's a scan of a postcard of the car when in the Briggs Cunningham collection. The short chassis (144 inches) Continental is the most desirable of the Phantom II's. Very few drophead coupes were built on the Phantom II Continental chassis - I found the four seen here. 

Marion "Joe" Carstairs was a controversial figure who inherited a piece of the Standard Oil fortune through her mother (Frances Evelyn Bostwick). She started the X Garage, a car-hire service that featured women-only drivers and mechanics. In 1925, X-Garage closed and Marion purchased her first motor boat. Between 1925 and 1930, Carstairs became a successful powerboat racer, winning the Duke of York's trophy and establish herself as the fastest woman on water. During this time, she was close to several male racing drivers and land speed record competitors, using her considerable wealth to assist them. She helped fund the building of one of Sir Malcolm Campbell's land speed record cars and provided John Cobb a pair of engines from her powerboat Estelle V for his Railton Special.

Could Briggs, who was a champion yachtsman, have known Carstairs and purchased this car from her? I'm not sure why this car didn't follow the majority of the Briggs Cunningham collection into the hands of the Colliers? Regardless, it's certainly something special. The other PII Continental drophead coupes that I've found are as follows:

1934 Rolls-Royce (2SK) PII Continental drophead coupe by Thrupp & Maberly (photo credit: Worldwide Auctioneers) sold for $660,000 in Houston in 2010. Once owned by Tyrone Power, the car was said to have been in the Fred Buess collection for close to 50 years.

1932 Rolls-Royce (41GX) PII Continental drophead coupe by Binder.

1932 Rolls-Royce (47RY) PII Continental drophead coupe by Freestone & Webb. Seen at RM Auctions 2011 Salon Prive sale in London. 

Marion Carstairs in her powerboat (photo credit: The Mariners' Museum)

1934 Rolls-Royce (2SK) by Thrupp & Maberly (photo credit: sportscardigest.com)

1932 Rolls-Royce (41GX) by Binder (photo credit: traumautoarchiv.de)

1932 Rolls-Royce (47RY) by Freestone & Webb (photo credit: sportscardigest.com)


  1. The Briggs Cunningham car, 20MS, was sold shortly after the collection went to the Colliers and is in New Hampshire.

    41 GX was rebodied by Binder for the '36 Paris Salon, When first shown it had a controversial radiator/hood treatment similar in style to a Cord. The car was withdrawn after two days. While the car was in the US for many, many years, it is currently in Europe and has been advertised for sale in the recent past.

    47RY was also in the US for many years but returned to England several years ago and is currently advertised for sale.

  2. Al - thanks for your insight and for following the blog. Interesting that the Colliers would sell the car? I know a few cars in New Hampshire, but didn't know this car was there.