In 2005, one Allen Swift passed away at the impressive age of 102. But the centenarian left behind something that will keep his memory alive for generations, particularly in his hometown Springfield, Mass. And we here are E3 Spark Plugs are grateful.
Not long before his death, Swift was officially recognized as the oldest living person to have owned a car from new. That car was a 1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly P1 Roadster given to him by his father to celebrate his graduation. The green-over-green soft-top convertible was young Swift’s pride and joy, and remained so throughout his lifetime. But it didn’t stay locked away in a garage like many classic cars.
Instead, Swift drove his head-turning roadster regularly, all the while maintaining it meticulously. His fastidious efforts included a complete body-off restoration and engine rebuild in 1988. By 2005, the car’s analog odometer had logged more than 170,000 miles and Swift was honored with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ coveted Spirit of Ecstasy award for his length of ownership.
The late Swift continues to care for his beloved ride even posthumously. Before his death, he donated the car to the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History – a proper place considering the town and Rolls-Royce have a shared history. Between 1920 and 1931, the British automaker built nearly 3,000 vehicles in Springfield in an effort to establish a U.S. plant. Swift also left the museum a $1 million gift to create a new exhibition to care for his roadster and tell the story of Springfield’s Rolls-Royce manufacturing stint. Today, you cans see Swift’s prized ride on permanent display as part of the museum’s Transportation Collection.