1927 Rolls-Royce 20 H.P.
Year of manufacture1927
Number of seats2
1927 Rolls-Royce 20hp Six-Light Saloon
Coachwork by H J Mulliner (see text)
Registration no. YF 5161
Chassis no. GHJ68
"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 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 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.
Sold new to The Car Mart Ltd, this standard-wheelbase example of Rolls-Royce's successful smaller companion to the Silver Ghost has the four-wheel, servo-assisted brakes and right-hand change, four-speed gearbox introduced on the 20hp model in 1925.
Chassis number 'GHJ68' wears six-light saloon coachwork - believed by the H J Mulliner - and was sold to its first private owner, one J F Davis of Sutton Coldfield, with guarantee effective from 6th May 1927. Accompanying copy chassis cards record subsequent owners in the Midlands during the 1930s, while the final one listed therein is C L Bowley Esq of Redhill, Surrey, who owned the car in 1946.
'GHJ68' is known to have spent some time in Canada before being purchased by the immediately preceding owner from Chequers Garage (David Baldock) in Goudhurst, Kent in May 1989. Commencing in 1989, the bodywork and interior were restored by Joseph Cowlin while the engine was overhauled, including a re-bore and new pistons, by Hofmann's of Henley, the total cost of these works amounting to approximately £33,000 (see file). Following completion in 1995 the car was kept garaged, and in June 2007 was offered for sale at Bonhams' auction at the R-REC's annual rally at Rockingham Castle (Lot 303).
We are advised by the vendor that the car is in generally good condition, benefiting from rewired electrics, and that the engine runs smoothly with good oil pressure. The engine will be freshly detailed immediately prior to sale. The car is offered with an old-style logbook, sundry restoration invoices, and a comprehensive set of (copy) chassis cards and build sheets, and comes complete with luggage trunk, 'Spirit of Ecstasy', and 'town' radiator cap.