3/30/47 - 11/30/16
Our world for getting proper repairs done on the Phantom I has gotten a little smaller. If you never had the chance to have repair work done on your car at The Frawley Company, you missed one of the best. If you never got to meet Dick Frawley, you missed out on knowing a true gentleman. Dick was truly one of the men who never met a stranger. He could make anyone at ease. He could make novices like me feel like an expert. He had a vision for our cars like Henry Royce intended that our cars were reliable and made to be driven.
The Phantom I Society has lost a valued expert. Dick was a long time member of The Rolls-Royce Owners Club. There are very few experts available who truly know the workings of The New Phantom, but Dick was one of them. Dick was from the old school of the members who liked to get their old cars out and drive them. If you asked him if he thought it was okay to take your car for a certain drive or tour, his reaction was “why not, that is what your car is for.” This type of thinking was often seen in his advertisements in The Flying Lady. He was owner of The Frawley Company in Parkesburg, PA. He had a complete shop for the restoration of the Phantom I as well as other Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars. He is survived by his wife Judith Skillings who was very involved in running The Frawley Company.
Dick hosted our Phantom I Tours at his shop when we were in the area. On our very first tour about 9 years ago, we were all excited about getting together with other PI owners and touring. Dick may have been happier than any of us at seeing up to 18 Pre-War cars pull into his lot with everyone driving and having fun. He always had a welcome reception for the group with tables full of refreshments. He was very open and glad to have everyone see his whole shop and the work he was doing while we were there. He and Judith would assemble “goody bags” and present them to the group before we departed. Not only were he and Judith gracious hosts, they would send out a “Thank You” note for us stopping by their shop. He was not shy about explaining his work and the reason behind doing it the correct way, just like Henry Royce envisioned. He could explain to you why you might not want to do a repair by using a short cut. He knew that a lot of the short cuts people might undertake would result in going back to do the repair the proper way. Dick also hosted several of our technical seminars at the RROC National Meets. We have a few of his technical sessions posted on the Members portion of our web site.
Many times he would take on work that had been done improperly by other people, get the car fixed and running the way a Phantom I should run. I remember after Dick had restored my touring car, I had gone to Parkesburg to meet with Dick and do a little test driving. We would start out for a little drive and before long he would say let’s go back to the shop. He had an “ear” for the PI engine. He could hear something he did not like when the average person would not hear a thing. We would go back to the shop, he would make a few adjustments and we would go again. He was very patient and would do this until he felt the car was correct.
Dick was a gracious man and he never refused a phone call. Not only could I call him any time I had a question, for which he always had an answer, he would take calls and talk people through a process for repairing their car when he had never seen the car or met the caller. He would talk you through steps to diagnose the problem, eliminating possible causes one at a time, before arriving at the conclusion of what was actually causing the ailment of your car.
Chairman, Phantom I Society
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