Lot 646: 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Drophead Coupé
Coachwork by James Young
The introduction of a smaller Rolls-Royce - the 20hp - in 1922 enabled the company to cater for the increasingly important owner-driver market that appreciated the quality of Rolls-Royce engineering but did not need a car as large as a 40/50hp Ghost or Phantom. The ‘Twenty’ proved eminently suited to town use, yet could cope admirably with Continental touring when called upon. Its successor, the 20/25hp, introduced in 1929, up-dated the concept with significant improvements, featuring an enlarged (from 3,127 to 3,669cc) and more-powerful cross-flow version of the Twenty’s six-cylinder, overhead-valve engine. The latter’s increased power allowed the bespoke coachbuilders greater freedom in their efforts to satisfy a discerning clientele that demanded ever larger and more opulent designs. Produced concurrently with the Phantom II, the 20/25 benefited from many of the larger model’s improvements, such as synchromesh gears and centralised chassis lubrication, becoming the best-selling Rolls-Royce of the inter-war period.
The Rolls-Royce 20/25hp was, of course, an exclusively coachbuilt automobile. Most of the great British coachbuilding firms offered designs, many of them unique, on the 20/25hp chassis, the 3-position drophead coupé body on ‘GHA28’ being the work of James Young. One of the handful of British coachbuilding firms active after WW2, the Bromley-based carriage-maker had bodied its first automobile in 1908, affiliating itself with a succession of quality marques throughout the 1920s and 1930s before being acquired by Jack Barclay in 1937. The accompanying copy order form records that chassis number ‘GHA28’ was sold new via Messrs Pass & Joyce, of London NW1 to one William John Herbert De Wette Mullens, who appears to have kept the car well into the 1950s and is the only owner listed in the accompanying old-style logbook. The only other notified owner (in 1995) is one John Stokvis, of Sands Point, New York, USA. We are advised by the current vendor that the car benefits from recent restoration, undertaken during 2006/2007, and is in excellent condition throughout. Handsomely finished in black/cream with black leather interior also retaining its factory supplied black Lucus lighting, it is offered with the aforementioned documentation and copy chassis cards.
Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles|
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
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