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The bond between driver and car often falls into the “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand” category — however, it’s a very rare driver and vehicle that make it 82 years together without interruption. That’s just what Allen Swift did.

In 1928, Allen Swift, Springfield, Massachusetts, received a new 1928 Rolls-Royce Picadilly P1 Roadster from his father as a graduation gift. Over the years, he put 170,000 miles on it, and drove it until October, 2005, when he died at the age of 102.

Ok, so the old man gave him a Rolls for graduating? I think the traditional gift upon graduating is a nice pen or perhaps nowadays a laptop, but damn, a Rolls? Must be nice. Then Allen did just what we always say we’d do but never actually make happen: He drove it forever and never traded it away.

Just one thing jumps out at us, though: 82 years and it’s got less than 200,000 miles on it? Guess he just drove it to the club and right back.

Rolls-Royce Picadilly P1 Roadster Still a Classic [Yahoo Associated Content]


9 Responses to It’s Just Cool: A Man and His Rolls

  1. Ben says:

    ya my moms car is almost 10 years old and has over 308 thousand, yes 308,000.

  2. Just because it annoyed me: The name “Picadilly P1 Roadster” is garbled, even if you ignore that there are meant to be two Cs in “Piccadilly”.

    The “P1” should be “Phantom I“, the top-of-the-line Rolls-Royce chassis in 1928. The car’s body was made by some other company, as was normal for old Rolls-Royces and various other early luxury cars. Perhaps the coachbuilder called this body a “Piccadilly Roadster”; who knows. It’s not really a model of car in the way we know them today.

    And it is a shame that this Phantom has seen so little driving, but it’s hardly surprising. The Phantom I is something of a maintenance adventure, requiring surprisingly frequent and annoying lubrication servicing, just for a start. (See also, the experience of every schmuck who’s ever bought a cheap old Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche, Ferrari, anything with a sleeve-valve engine, etc. A new hub-cap for a 1965 Rolls can cost more than a reliable used Toyota.)

  3. Gary says:

    Yeah, but just look at it. That thing is beautiful. I’d have kept it too. Good for you, Allen.

  4. shotdog says:

    C’mon, Danny. Can’t you simply enjoy the thing for what it is? It’s history. it’s unique. It’s beautiful. Lighten up. sd

  5. ChrisW says:

    Danny’s right. That old stuff has got to go. Who wants to buy a Leonardo Da Vinci painting when you can see graffiti for free.

    Among my friends and co-workers, most of us had a car which we sold or junked years ago which we now wish we had kept.

  6. Will says:

    ChrisW, I don’t think Danny is saying these cars should be junked because they’re costly to maintain, I think he’s saying that potential buyers should research the cost of ownership before thinking they’ve gotten a great deal.

  7. chuck says:

    No one else mentioned that Rolls-Royce had a factory in Springfield from 1921 to 1931.

  8. Who’s this “Danny” guy you’re all talking about :-)?

    I agree that this car’s a wonderful piece of historical engineering. I was just pointing out that it’s unfair to call the owner a piker because he’s driven it so little. If you were to treat this car with the sort of cavalier inattention that’d keep a mere FIFTY-year-old English car running reliably, the engine would probably seize after a thousand miles.

    Some ancient Rollers are actually relatively easy to keep running. The Phantom I is not one of them.

  9. area_educator says:

    I think less than 200k miles makes perfect sense.

    People didn’t drive as far, in general, in the 1930s as we do today. And, it’s a little crazy to imagine this car remained his day-to-day sole source of transportation for the entire 82 years. I’d imagine that by 1935ish or earlier he had another car that got used for most day-to-day use.

    Still, it makes it clear that it didn’t just sit in a garage, looking pretty.

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