1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25 H.P.

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1931
  • Chassis number 
    GNS45
  • Lot number 
    209
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Shooting Brake
Coachwork by Barker & Co/James Young
Registration no. UR 8991
Chassis no. GNS45

This unique Rolls-Royce started life as a Barker-bodied landaulet commissioned by the American banker, J Pierpoint Morgan II, who at the time of its delivery was serving as the United States' Ambassador to the Court of St James's. Like Morgan's Phantom tourer, also bodied by Barker, 'GNS45' featured the side-mounted spare wheels and scuttle-top sidelights typical of contemporary US-bodied Rolls-Royces. Registered in Hertfordshire, where Morgan owned Wall Hall, Aldenham, the 20/25 remained with its American owner up to 1942 when it was offered for sale by Rolls-Royce specialists Alpe & Saunders.

Its second owner was another member of the merchant banking establishment: Herman Andreac, a partner in Kleinwort, Sons & Company, and it was he that commissioned the shooting brake conversion from coachbuilders James Young of Bromley. Barker's bonnet, front wings, scuttle panel and patented headlamp dipping mechanism were retained together with the walnut dashboard and original controls, while James Young's van-like timber-framed rear body was nothing if not supremely practical, being equipped with multiple hooks for hanging dead game.

Herman Andreae owned Moundsmere Manor near Basingstoke, Hampshire where his newly converted Rolls-Royce was used as an estate hack for shooting parties, towing the horsebox, and general domestic duties, though always chauffeur driven. Classed as a dual-purpose vehicle, the shooting brake qualified for an extra fuel allowance, and important consideration in wartime. Andreae kept the Rolls-Royce until 1952 when it was sold through the Autowork dealership in Winchester. Many years later, in 1997, the Andreae family spotted 'GNS45' for sale at an auction; although unable to purchase the car at the sale, Herman's grandson Mark was able to buy it from the vendor, a collector of fairground memorabilia.

Thus the Rolls-Royce returned to Moundsmere Manor where is remained for many years. Re-commissioned some time ago, it has seen little use over the course of the last 20 or so years, venturing out for the occasional family wedding and attending the Thorneycroft Classic Car Show in 2008. In 2015, 'GNS45' was checked over prior to featuring in an article written by Douglas Blain for The Automobile magazine (August 2015 edition, copy available). Clearly enjoying the experience, he wrote: 'As it happens, with a low-mileage car like this in unspoilt original condition, one's satisfaction comes from driving it unobtrusively, just as a chauffeur was trained by the works to do.'

The Rolls-Royce was last used in 2016 and upon our recent inspection when, assisted by a battery booster and treated to fresh fuel, the engine burst into life on the first throw of the starter. In recent months new leather seat cushions to the front compartment of the car have been fitted. Nevertheless, a thorough check over is advised before returning this grand old lady to active use.