Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The 1st thing I did to confirm another e-mail making the rounds was to check Snopes. A post in the "Fauxtography" category calls into question the authenticity of the accompanying photograph (3rd image), since a blurrier photo (2nd image) is used in the press release, but the story holds up. Here is my version, in timeline form, with some of the details corrected:
1928: Allen Swift of Springfield, Massachusetts, graduated from college and received a brand new pistachio Rolls-Royce Picadilly P1 Roadster (1st image) as a gift from his father. The automobile had been manufactured in their hometown, one of 2,944 luxury vehicles produced at the plant before it closed its doors in 1935.

1988: Swift, by then a retired entrepreneur in his 80s living in West Hartford, Connecticut, commissioned Automotive Restorations, Inc. (Stratford, Conn.), to remove the body from the frame, to send the engine to his long time friend Frank Cooke (1913-2005) at the Vintage Garage (Brookfield, Mass.) for reconditioning, and to restore the frame, body, and interior to its original color - a 2-tone green combination with gold leaf striping and initials. "The Swift Rolls-Royce still runs smoothly and remains in pristine condition after [its] work over....Well cared for all its life, it was a treat to restore. Once done, we called to ask Allen when he would like it delivered. 'Delivered?' he said. 'I’ll pick it up.' And he did."

1994: Swift was presented with a "Spirit of Ecstasy" award by Rolls-Royce at their annual meeting to recognize him for owning his Phantom longer than anyone in the world had ever owned an individual Rolls-Royce.

2002: Swift, then age 99, approached the Springfield Museums to discuss the disposition of his antique car. Convinced that they would care for it, he offered to donate the Rolls-Royce and a building to house it.

2005: In the summer, a building adjacent to the existing museums campus went on the market, so Swift donated $1 million to purchase it and signed over his Rolls, largely underwriting the cost of establishing the Museum of Springfield History, which opened a few years later. Swift died in October at the age of 102, having put 172,000 miles on the car and ensuring his posterity as a legend among Rolls-Royce collectors.

1 comment:

  1. This story is so cool. What a car and what a gentleman, for keeping and caring for it so long, and an American
    Springfield Rolls-Royce Phantom I makes the car even
    more special.


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