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Lot 409: Rolls-Royce 20hp Salamanca

Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams (16 August 2012)

* 3,127cc OHV straight six * 4-speed transmission * Originally delivered to the inventor of the Bromo-Seltzer * Outstanding original French coachwork by Kellner & Cie * Matching numbers and delightful patina '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. Favorably 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 to 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. Established by George Kellner in 1861, Carrosserie Kellner & Cie began building custom bodywork on automobiles as early as 1903 and quickly established a reputation for quality and flair. Well known for their work on many of the great marques such as Hispano-Suiza, Kellner even bodied one of the legendary Bugatti Type 41 'Royales'. A number of Rolls-Royce cars found their way to Kellner's shop including the 1925 20hp offered here, which received a stylish Salamanca design. Chassis 'GSK81' is recorded in Rolls-Royce factory records as having been delivered to a Mr. Emerson of the United States, believed to be Captain Isaac Edward Emerson who lived in Baltimore, Maryland. Captain Emerson made his fortune as the inventor of the Bromo-Seltzer and is said to have purchased the car directly from the stand at the Paris Salon. During his second marriage, the Emersons became well known socialites with estates at "Brooklandwood", Maryland and the villa "Whitehall" at Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island. Emerson died in 1931, aged 71. The Rolls-Royce spent some years in the ownership of Rodney R. Heckman, Jr. of Chase & Heckman, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and more recently belonged to a member of the Kellner family, who showed the car at the 1996 Louis Vuitton Concours d'Elegance at the Rockefeller Center, New York. Chassis 'GSK81' appears in John Fasal's scholarly book on the Rolls-Royce Twenty. The Rolls-Royce subsequently joined the extensive private collection of Sam Garrett in Pebble Beach, California and has been maintained in good running order, while keeping the bodywork and upholstery appropriately original. Equipped with Bausch & Lomb lamps, the Rolls-Royce exhibits a lovely patina and is accompanied by an instruction manual and history file.

Lot Details
Auction Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams, Carmel, California, USA
Lot Number409
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$65000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$74750
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis numberGSK81
Engine numberG1523
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors4