El hombre de 102 años que manejó su Rolls Royce durante 82 años: un Rolls Royce de 1928

El Sr. Allen Swift murió en 2005 a la impresionante edad de 102 años, pero su historia automovilística es aún más notable. No solo se le acredita al caballero la posesión de un automóvil Rolls-Royce por más tiempo que cualquier otra persona en el mundo, sino que también tuvo la previsión y los fondos para asegurar su futura conservación después de su muerte.

En 1928, mientras vivía en Springfield, Massachusetts, el padre de Swift le regaló un Rolls-Royce Piccadilly P1 Roadster de 1928 como regalo de graduación (Springfield y Rolls-Royce tienen una historia: de 1920 a 1931, el fabricante de automóviles británico construyó 2.944 vehículos en la ciudad como parte de su intento de establecer una planta en los Estados Unidos). El joven era un apasionado de su convertible de techo blando verde sobre verde, no solo manejando con regularidad, sino manteniéndolo meticulosamente a lo largo de las décadas (las dos puertas) recibieron una restauración completa y reconstrucción del motor en 1988).

Rolls-Royce reconoció al Sr. Swift en 1994, otorgándole un premio Crystal Spirit of Ecstasy por su antigüedad. En 2005, Swift había registrado más de 170,000 millas en su odómetro analógico y fue reconocido como la persona viva más vieja que ha tenido un automóvil nuevo. Él falleció ese año.

Pero la historia no termina allí. Swift dejó el Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History un regalo de $ 1 millón para crear una nueva exposición para cuidar su roadster y contar la historia de la fabricación de Rolls-Royce en la ciudad de Massachusetts. Hoy, el hermoso Piccadilly P1 Roadster del Sr. Swift se exhibe de forma destacada en la Colección de Transporte del museo.

Mr. Allen Swift died in 2005 at the impressive age of 102, but his automotive story is even more remarkable. Not only is the gentleman credited with owning a Rolls-Royce automobile longer than anyone else in the world, but he had the forethought and funds to ensure its future preservation after his death.

In 1928, while living in Springfield, Massachusetts, Swift's father gave him a 1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly P1 Roadster as a graduation present (Springfield and Rolls-Royce have a history – from 1920 to 1931, the British automaker built 2,944 vehicles in the city as part of its attempt to establish a US plant). The young man was passionate about his green-over-green softtop convertible, not only driving it on a regular basis, but maintaining it meticulously over the decades (the two door-received a complete body-off restoration and engine rebuild in 1988).

Rolls-Royce acknowledged Mr. Swift in 1994, awarding him a crystal Spirit of Ecstasy award for his length of ownership. By 2005, Swift had logged more than 170,000 miles on its analog odometer and he was recognized as the oldest living person to have owned a car from new. He passed away that year.

But the story doesn't end there. Swift left the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History a $1 million gift to create a new exhibition to care for his roadster and tell the story of Rolls-Royce manufacturing in the Massachusetts town. Today, Mr. Swift's beautiful Piccadilly P1 Roadster is prominently displayed in the museum's Transportation Collection.
The M. Allen Swift 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I
After World War I, Rolls-Royce, the British luxury car maker, decided to set up a manufacturing center in the United States. This was in response to the high demand for Rolls-Royce cars in this country. Due to the highly skilled workforce in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Company chose this region as the location for the plant. Over the course of the decade of the 1920s more than 3,000 luxury automobiles were produced in the Springfield factory.
The late M. Allen Swift of West Hartford, Connecticut, was known for his dedication to the family gold leaf business, M. Swift & Sons. Born in 1903 and growing up during the budding automobile era, he had a natural interest in cars. At the age of twenty-four he obtained his first automobile, a 1917 Franklin. His second car was a Marmon. He next acquired the automobile which made him famous among Rolls-Royce collectors, the 1928 Phantom I, S273 FP which he owned for 77 years.
The car was a gift from his father on his 26th birthday in return for his staying with the family business, thereby enabling his two younger brothers to pursue college educations. He was allowed to pick any car he wished and he chose Rolls-Royce. Thinking it the best car made, he confirmed this after a visit to the Springfield factory where the American version of Rolls-Royce was manufactured. Swift commented in a 2003 interview:
“Someone had advised me to go to the Springfield plant and I did. I went all through it and watched them making the parts. It reinforced my idea that it was well made. I saw all the ways they tested the cars. Every engine was tested. Then when they got the engine finished they set it up on a concrete block and ran it a specified number of times and a specified number of hours …. Someone would come around periodically with a stethoscope and listen to it and so forth. Then it was completely dismantled and checked and reassembled and put back in to the chassis. Then a bench was mounted on the chassis and a test driver drove it 200 miles before it was released..”
After he selected the car he chose a Piccadilly body made by Brewster & Co. Coachworks, NY a well-known chassis maker of the day. He chose two-toned green, and he had his initials placed on the doors.
After he purchased the car, Swift visited the Springfield plant several times for service, adding that they were always very helpful. He also did some of his own maintenance, changing the oil, and once taking the engine apart. Reportedly the vehicle never broke down. Mr. Swift used the car for his daily commute until 1958. He also made many long- distance trips. He estimated that by 2003 the car had 172,000 miles on the road.
M. Allen Swift owned his 1928 Rolls-Royce longer than any other Rolls owner. In recognition of this, in 1994 Rolls-Royce Motors presented him with a crystal Spirit of Ecstasy. Just two months before his death in October 2005, he gifted funds to the Springfield Museums toward the purchase of a building to house a new museum of innovation. This museum, now known as the Wood Museum of Springfield History, is a 40,000-square-foot space presenting exhibits that interpret Springfield history. A centerpiece is its gallery on early transportation. It is here where the Springfield Rolls-Royce gifted by M. Allen Swift is proudly displayed.
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