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. Nevertheless, by the late 1920s the trend towards ever-heavier coachwork was beginning to have a detrimental effect on the Twenty's performance.
Introduced in 1929, the successor 20/25hp model addressed this problem, featuring numerous improvements, the most significant of which was an enlarged (from 3,127 to 3,669cc) 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. Most of the great British coachbuilding firms offered designs, many of them unique, on the 20/25hp chassis. Off test in October 1933, chassis number 'GBA64' boasts exquisitely proportioned Sedanca Coupé coachwork by Freestone & Webb of North London, one of the finest of all British coachbuilders and a firm associated with quality marques from its earliest days, particularly Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Mercedes-Benz. Tom C Clarke's definitive work, The Rolls-Royce 20/25HP, records that 'GBA64' was first owned by businessman Maxwell (later Sir Maxwell) Joseph, founder of the Grand Metropolitan Hotels Group, while documentation contained within the accompanying history file reveals that the car has spent time with owners in both Europe and America.
Finished in black with Burgundy-trimmed interior, 'GBA64' was owned during the 1990s by Hans Peter Lang for whom Ristes and other marque specialists carried out considerable restoration work on the already cosmetically restored car's mechanicals. Details of the work carried out are recorded in the accompanying history file, which also contains copy build sheets, a V5C registration document and assorted correspondence between owners. Noteworthy features of 'GBA64' include a cartridge-type oil filter, flashing indicators and Silver Shadow electric fuel pumps.
The current vendor acquired the Rolls-Royce in 2008 from its purchaser at Bonhams' Olympia Sale in December 2007 (Lot 701). Since then the car has been looked after by marque specialists West Hoathly Garage and has been used sparingly but wanted for nothing over the last seven years, there being related invoices for servicing and other works on file totalling circa £22,000.