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Lot 357: Rolls-Royce 20hp Doctor's Coupé with Dickey

Collectors' Motor Cars, Bonhams (30 April 2012)

This model was introduced to meet requests for a smaller, less expensive car in keeping with the trend after the First World War towards smaller cars for a wider market. Construction was simplified - but standards of workmanship were not compromised.' - Edward Eves, Rolls-Royce, 75 Years of Motoring Excellence. Changing times after WWI eventually forced the abandonment of Rolls-Royce's 'one model' policy, an all-new 20hp car joining the existing 40/50hp Silver Ghost in 1922. The 'Twenty' reflected Henry Royce's interest in contemporary trends within the American automobile industry, incorporating unit construction of engine and gearbox, the latter featuring the modern innovation of a central ball change, and 'Hotchkiss drive' rear axle. The engine, Rolls-Royce's first with overhead valves, was a six-cylinder unit displacing 3,127cc. Favourably received as the Twenty was, its three-speed transmission's central gearchange was not well liked and when four-wheel, servo-assisted brakes were introduced in 1925, a four-speed gearbox with right-hand, gated change replaced the original three-speeder. The Twenty's introduction of 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 car proved eminently suited to town use yet could cope admirably with Continental touring when called upon. Originally built 'for stock', chassis number 'GOK51' was sold new to Paddon Brothers Ltd of Albemarle Street, London W1. The accompanying copy order form notes that the purchaser was 'providing own coachwork' and that the chassis was completed with 'springs for a closed body', although no mention is made of the latter's final style. The order form also records that seating for six would be required (usually four) and that the car was intended for use in England and France. In June 1926 the Rolls-Royce was sold to its first owner, Maurice Malloy of Ipsden, Oxfordshire. Subsequent owners listed on the accompanying copy chassis cards are the Clavering family (1931) and A H Young Esq (1938). In April 1955 the car was purchased by Lord Lisle and converted to pickup configuration for use on his farm. By November 1973, when it was sold to the vendor's late father, the Rolls-Royce was in poor cosmetic order, a letter on file stating that the 'bodywork' consisted of only the bonnet, scuttle and cab. Subsequently a complete restoration, including a full engine rebuild, was carried out over the period 1976-1990. The project included manufacturing a new body (using Abbott drawings), painting same and re-trimming the interior in Connolly hide with Wilton carpeting. Forming part of a large private collection, the Twenty was maintained and used until laid up in 2006. The car still presents in excellent cosmetic order but would benefit from re-commissioning prior to returning to the road. A wonderful Twenty with interesting history, it comes with sundry invoices, old-style logbook and Swansea V5.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars
Bonhams, The Royal Airforce Museum, London, UK
TypeCar
Lot Number357
Estimate£20000-£30000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£29000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£33350
Year1926
Condition rating1
Registration numberBW 9931
Mileage-
Chassis numberGOK51
Engine numberG1644
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2