Skip to main content
Original Issue


'This is my life work'

The man shown above behind the wheel of the Rolls-Royce is the owner-engineer of one of the world's handsomest and most durable cars, as impervious to passing style fads as it is to corrosion or mechanical failure. The plot of how Rogers met No. 54 UK, lost No. 54 UK and finally won No. 54 UK is one of single-minded devotion spanning two decades.

In 1935 Rogers, then working for the Boston Rolls-Royce dealer, was asked to check out a just-arrived Phantom II town car, serial number 54 UK. With such pioneering refinements as power brakes, automatic ride control and synchromesh transmission, 54 UK was the most impressive piece of automotive machinery ever to be seen in the U.S. up to that time. Rogers never forgot her. Thirteen years later Rogers, now a Boston metallurgical engineer, saw the same car offered for sale in his Sunday newspaper. Like a father about to be reunited with a long-lost child, he hurried to inspect the car, found her in mint condition. From Hooper of London he commissioned a special body. Using heat-resistant alloys he fashioned a unique exhaust system. All nuts, bolts, cotter pins and control rods he replaced with hand-fashioned stainless-steel duplicates. Now, after 10 years of sometimes despairing work, Rogers has completed his supercar but found an unforeseen problem: "I'm afraid to drive it," he confesses. "Suppose some road jockey plows into me: that's the end of my life work."