1928 Rolls-Royce 20hp Saloon Coachwork by Glassbrook Registration no. not UK registered Chassis no. GTM6
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. Favourably 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 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 car 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. This increased power allowed the bespoke coachbuilders greater freedom in their efforts to satisfy a discerning clientele that demanded ever larger and more opulent designs. Apart from the revised engine, early 20/25hp chassis were identical to those of the last 20s, both models being produced during 1929.
Chassis number 'GTM6' was originally ordered by a German customer, Seigfried Fleischer, and despatched to Germany for bodying by the firm of Ludwig Kathe & Sohn, Halle. Copies of factory documents on file reveal that the car was returned some five years later and resold by Rolls-Royce in chassis form, the Kathe body, presumably, having been removed in Germany. The saloon body currently fitted is by Glassbrook of West London, a company specialising in the servicing of Rolls-Royces and which also bodied some of them. Three further owners are listed on the chassis cards, the last of whom, H Willis Esq of Hendon, London NW4 acquired the car in September 1936.
Since 2006, the Rolls-Royce has been registered in the Republic of Ireland. The Irish registration document is on file and the car also comes with a Society of Automotive Historians dating letter.