1936 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sports Coupe by Coachcraft
£110,000 | Location: United Kingdom
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, updated 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 and most of the great British coachbuilding firms offered designs, many of them unique, on the 20/25hp chassis. The example presented here wears two-door, coupé coachwork by Coachcraft Ltd.
Chassis GBK 8 was completed on test by Rolls-Royce on 29/11/35, the Chassis was sold to Barker LTD with the Coachwork designated to Coachcraft. This unique coachwork work was the only Coachcraft body fitted directly to a new Rolls-Royce chassis, the styling has to been as some of Coachcraft's finest work, the proportions are exceptional and the body lines simply flow.
The Sports Coupé is stylish and elegant from every angle and certainly is hard to fault. The first owner was Captain R O’Neil-Butler of London, he owned GBK 8 for 11 years before selling to non other than Wing Commander Woolf Barnato who was the custodian for just over 2 years.
A full nut and bolt restoration was undertaken by the world renowned Jack Barclay Limited in 1997, the outcome was incredible and this 20/25 is still offered in concours condition some 22 years after the restoration. The original colour was a plain and somewhat dull black all over, during the restoration it was decided to truly highlight the magnificence of the coachwork with a 2-tone combination.
Primrose and Black were chosen and the change has certainly been effective. We photographed DMP 372 in the first light; the golden sun really shows of the quality of restoration, with the doors open you can really see the true “mirror finish” of the paintwork, this 20/25 truly has been restored to the highest of standards. Straight out of restoration GBK 8 was awarded an elegance prize in the 1997 RREC annual rally.
The car is equally as magnificent on the road, she benefits from all the necessary upgrades such as an aluminium head and a Tim Payne overdrive. The engine is strong and smooth, there has been an excellent standard of maintenance.
A visually remarkable car, and just as satisfying to drive. Suitable for continental touring.