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Lot 432: Rover "Twenty"

Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams (16 August 2012)

* 2,512cc inline six-cylinder * 4-speed manual transmission * Concours quality restoration * Rare open Tickford coachwork * Unique in the US

On September 1, 1939, Hitler's blitzkrieg rolled into Poland and World War II began. Less than six weeks later, on October 11, the very 1940 Rover Twenty offered here became the last of its series produced, as the British manufacturer turned fully to military production. This car is also the final of three Tickford Drophead Coup�s produced on the Twenty chassis during the short 1940 model run. Rover built aero engines and supported early development of the pioneering jet engine designed by Sir Frank Whittle during the war. The Twenty chassis would not be reintroduced when Rover passenger car production resumed after peace was declared in 1945.

From new, this most remarkable and historic Rover has been held by only its first ownerrecorded as "Stenning"  and members of the two families who have subsequently provided stewardship for the automobile. The vendor's late father purchased the Rover from the car's second owners, the Kent family.

While their styling was generally carried over from 1939, the very limited run of 1940 Rover Twenty models were distinguished by standard steel disc wheels and the addition of vent windows to the Tickford DHC doors. Concealed beneath a streamlined metal cover, the spare tire on this Rover is mounted near the left-hand front fender (standard placement was at the rear).

Incorporating full-width rear seating, the four-passenger Tickford Drophead Coup� with coachwork by Salmon & Sons is fitted with gorgeous woodwork inside. The fully folding convertible top can be rolled back and furled mid-way, for an open "Coupe de Ville" appearance.

The Rover Twenty was also known as the "20" or "20-hp." All three appellations derive from the 19.8 taxable horsepower rating of the model's 2,512-cc six-cylinder engine. This nominal rating, based on cylinder count and bore, was used to determine license fees. Spanning a 115-inch wheelbase, the Twenty was the most powerful and expensive Rover series of its period.

A four-year comprehensive rebuild of this rare Tickford DHC was conducted by Tim Walker Restorations, Ltd. during 2002-2004, with Alpine Eagle of Clanfield, Oxfordshire completing the car during 2005-2006. Kept since in California, the Rover has never been shown in a Concours setting.

The Rover is accompanied by the original factory owner's literature and toolkit, in addition to full restoration records, including photos and invoices, and is offered with a California title.

Lot Details
Auction Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams, Carmel, California, USA
TypeCar
Lot Number432
Estimate$70000-$100000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1940
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number054-0003
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2