The Yellow Peril: The Story of a Yellow Rolls Royce

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The Yellow Peril

In July 2018, one Edward Summers from Germany told me that he had spent five years trying to find me because he owned a Rolls Royce which was once owned by my grandfather.

In 2017 I managed to win second prize in a Men’s Bake competition at Metlifecare Greenwood Park and featured in their publication “There is More to Come”. Probably by using Mr Google, Ed found out that I lived in a Metlifecare Village somewhere in
New Zealand.

An email from him eventually found me and attached was a lovely photograph of the same Rolls Royce that I had ridden in over 80 years ago. Ed contacted me hoping that I would be able to fill a gap in the history of the owners.

The Yellow Peril

My grandfather purchased a yellow Rolls Royce Phantom 1, built in 1927, in 1931 for £600 and called it “The Yellow Peril”. A few years later we moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands and the vehicle came with us.

Soon after war broke out in 1939 the family moved back to England while I remained a border at Victoria College in Jersey. After France fell to the Germans my father telephoned the Principal asking him to put me on the next plane for London so I managed to leave the island before it became occupied.

During the occupation, our house was occupied by German officers and the Rolls Royce remained in the garage.

They took good care of the house and nothing of note was missing when we returned after the war. The Rolls Royce was in good condition apart from some deterioration on the aluminium bonnet and was soon on the road again.

If “The Yellow Peril” had been shipped back to England it could have been dismantled and used for the war effort in the form of materials and the chassis for an ambulance. So it’s ironic to think that Germany looked after the car for us during WW II.

In 1947 my grandfather passed away and my mother inherited the car and shipped it to England and it was sold for £300. That was quite a good price as luxury vehicles could be purchased for less than £20 at that time because they were expensive to run and petrol was rationed.

Filling in the History

Ed’s amazing research skills then started to fill in the history of the vehicle up to the date he purchased it.

In 1953 it is believed that the company which purchased the car from my mother sold it to an American for £130, according to a copy of an invoice which Ed had obtained and which showed it was shipped to Texas.

In 1990 it was found on the back of a lorry in a barn, in America, by a collector of vintage Rolls Royce cars and after purchasing it some restoration took place. The owner decided to downsize his collection in 2004 and contacted a dealer in the U.K. who had purchased cars from him previously, and that is how it ended up in England once more.

After failing to sell at a number of auctions it was eventually purchased by a gentleman who decided to drive it home. Unfortunately, he only travelled a few miles before it seized up. It was towed by the AA to a specialised vintage car restorer of Rolls Royce and Bentley cars.

This is where Ed first saw the vehicle being restored and was tempted. The restoration, paid by the seller, cost £30,000 so Ed felt it was worth buying at £159,000 and he would try it for a year. Well, of course, he and his wife, Sabine, fell in love with it and decided to keep it and named it “Miss Daisy”.

The car travels to a number of classic shows some of which are organised by Prince Michael of Kent at a venue sanctioned by the Queen e.g. Hampton Court, Windsor Castle.

What a long and auspicious life this car has had!

-By John Rowlandson