Fortuitously the new model was launched
in time to stabilise the falling sales figures. Rolls-Royce
advertising at this time made the point that more orders existed than could be fulfilled and therefore
a waiting list was unavoidable. In the face of almost 300 unsold Silver Ghosts the better
part of one year's production - such an observation was less than the whole truth.
Scrapping was thus inevitable although
Rolls-Royce used the term "reduced to produce"
to disguise an embarrassing situation. To take such a radical measure could have been avoided.
The new Phantom was offered in addition to the Silver Ghost and it was particularly emphasised
that the latter still remained obtainable. This offer was taken up however in only one or two cars.
The new Phantom sold very well and
in specific reference to the new model the statement about demand
exceeding supply was true.
The success was remarkable because the competition in the luxury class had become more fierce.
The new Phantom had not been launched
long when speed tests at Brooklands provided an unwelcome surprise. Timekeepers
certified that the new model when carrying an average open tourer coachwork
was capable of a
top speed lower than that reached in 1911 by the Silver Ghost London-Edinburgh version.
C G Johnson insisted on an immediate
remedy. His idea
was to offer a mildly tuned alternative in addition
to the standard type.
It was argued that instead of achieving a higher top speed by finding increased power from changes to
the engine it also might be gained by reducing the weight of the coachwork.
Johnson capitulated and to his order
a New Phantom was fitted by Barker with a light tourer body - but
again it failed to satisfy his requirements during a speed test at Brooklands. Barker then created a tourer
following strictly a design by H I F Evernden which did not compromise on lightweight construction.
The Lightweight achieved more than 89 mph (143 km/h). Following the same design, further new
Phantoms for trials were fitted with lightweight bodies by Hooper and Jarvis.
Changes to the characteristic shape
of the radiator which had been suggested by Royce as a means of reducing
drag was opposed by Johnson. Without any question
the radiator caused a noticeable absence of streamlining
but it was worth its weight in gold as a trade mark. In the Rolls-Royce development department
the lightweight tourer built at C G Johnson's was called the Claude Johnson Special but sadly he was to
have no further influence in development - in April 1926 he died after a short illness.
By this time the New Phantom was already known as the Phantom I. The model had become rechristened to distinguish it from its successor, the Phantom II.