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Drunk in the Afternoon: Ernest Hemingway’s Phantom

Posted in Classic, Luxury Cars, Rolls Royce by Vito Rispo | August 2nd, 2008 | 2 Responses |

In the 1930s, after A Farewell to Arms made him financially independent, Ernest Hemingway toured the United States in his green 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom II Short Coupled Saloon. His Phantom II was specially equipped with a mini bar and compartments for golf and hunting equipment.

Obviously, Hemingway was a fine human being who understood the importance of constant running access to guns and alcohol and golf clubs.


Under the hood, the Phantom II had a large 7.7 liter six-cylinder engine, made with a one-piece cylinder head that offered overhead valve operation. It also had dual ignition system and an aluminum crankcase. Hemingway’s 1929 version was also the first year to have updated versions of the original Rolls Royce Phantom transmission and suspension, allowing for much better handling.

Hemingway kept his car in fantastic shape. Even today, the vehicle is in near mint condition, having been kept in dry storage for the past 20 years.

Good thing it was, because just last year, in the summer of 2007, Hemingway’s green 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom II was auctioned off to some unknown buyer for some unknown sum, and the proceeds when to charity. Unknown buyer is a lucky man.

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2 Responses

  1. Ed Waters says:

    I do not believe this was ever owned by Hemingway. It is never mentioned by him, nor his biographers, yet the Buick’s Fords and other cars were. He did mention a Bugatti in Garden of Eden but never a rolls. When he bought Mary a car (after much success) it was a Buick. Hemingway never played golf to my knowledge and likely deplored the snob set. Hemingway did not buy extremely extravagant things and anyone who has ever read how obsessed he was with his financial situation throughout his life realizes wasting his money on a Rolls is something he would have avoided, even at the early part of his life. just because a name is on a chit, doesn’t make this car one of Hemingway’s.
    I wish someone would find definitive evidence (by Hemingway) that this was his car. In 1931, Pauline’s uncle bought the Key West house for them It is unlikely he would have done that had Ernest owned a Rolls.

  2. Larry says:

    Hemingway at the time he lived in Key West owned a Model A Ford, and I think, a Bantam. He did own a 1940 or 1941 Lincoln Continental convertible and after the war was a series of Lancias. In Mary Hemingway’s book, she mentions her Plymouth, and “Ernest’s big Chrysler” but the year of that car was not mentioned. He had a Jeep in Idaho near the end of his life and possibly a recent Lincoln, but a Rolls? Golf? No way.