Lot '30: Rolls-Royce 20/25 Limousine
Launched in 1929, the 20/25 was the successor to the 20hp Rolls-Royce and, although based around the same leaf-sprung, drum braked chassis design, it enjoyed notably sharper acceleration, a higher top speed and better fuel economy thanks to its enlarged 3,669cc straight-six OHV engine.
Produced concurrently with the Phantom II and built to the same exacting standards, the 20/25 benefited from many of the larger model's improvements (such as synchromesh gears, servo-assisted brakes, centralised chassis lubrication and thermostatically controlled radiator shutters), becoming the best-selling Rolls-Royce of the inter-war period. Contemporary road tests commented on the exquisite precision of all the controls, the entire absence of mechanical noise and the uncanny smoothness of the ride one saying that the car behaved so beautifully that it was difficult to drive badly.
Dating from 1936, this particular 20/25 began life with a Windovers Sedanca body but this was replaced with a Rippon Brothers limousine body taken from another 20/25 in the late 1980s. From 1985 until 1994 the car was owned by Anthony Leach of Damson Dene Hotel, Bowness-on-Windermere. He acquired the car in a fairly dilapidated state and immediately embarked on a total nut-and-bolt restoration that was to take almost four years to complete and is fully documented in photographs in the history file.
Every single part of the car was rebuilt or renewed as necessary, including a full engine rebuild with new pistons and the fitment of a new aluminium cylinder head to promote cool engine running. The chassis was also totally rebuilt and the Rippon body fully restored with the interior retrimmed in blue leather to the front seats and pale blue Bedford cord to the rear. Nice features in the interior include a sliding glass division and two fold-away occasional seats which swivel all the way round a Rippon trademark.
Since the restoration was completed the car has covered less than 18,000 miles and is said to drive superbly. It certainly fired up instantly and ran very smoothly and quietly on the occasion of our visit to take these photographs. We were also treated to a fairly lengthy test drive and can report that the car ran beautifully throughout with a good turn of speed, fine ride and handling and reassuring performance from the brakes and steering.
The car comes with a fair amount of history including the aforementioned photo album, many old MOTs back to 1988 at 67,751 miles (now 85,300 miles), various other MOTs from the 1960s, copies of the original factory build sheets and many bills for routine servicing. Taxed until February 2011 and with a long MOT, this car is ready for immediate use and needs nothing except a proud new owner behind the wheel.
Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles|
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||-|
|Registration number||CLR 393|
|Chassis number||GXK 75|
|Engine capacity (cc)||1669|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors|