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Lot 206
The ex-Doris Duke, James Melton, Winthrop Rockefeller 1927 Rolls-Royce 20hp Sedanca De Ville Coachwork by Hooper & Co Chassis no. GUJ57 Engine no. G9U
Sold for US$ 74,750 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Rolls-Royce 20hp right-hand drive chassis number 'GUJ57' was ordered on 13th October 1927 by Juan Pedro Baro, of Cuba at Rolls-Royce's Paris office. The car wears sedanca de ville coachwork by Hooper & Co, carriage makers to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII and arguably the finest of all British coachbuilders. During construction of this unique vehicle many changes were made to the design, including the incorporation of special leather fenders to make it look like the formal horse-drawn carriages of the late 1890s.

When construction was completed in 1928, Juan Pedro Baro did not take delivery and Hooper & Co sold the car to Mrs E Hutton, of New York, to where it was shipped on 13th December 1928 aboard the SS Caronia. Some time in the early 1930s the car was sold to Doris Duke, heiress of the American Tobacco fortune and Duke University fame. The Rolls-Royce saw very little use before becoming part of the private collection of James Melton, famous opera singer of Greenwich Connecticut, in the late 1930s.

Upon James Melton's death, 'GUJ57' was acquired for the Museum of Automobiles Collection of Winthrop Rockefeller, Governor of Arkansas, in 1965. In 1976 it was sold to William F Harrah, becoming part of his collection in Reno. Upon the death of Mr Harrah, his Casino, Hotel and Automobile Collection were sold to the Holiday Inn Corporation. The Rolls-Royce was purchased by the present owner at the second of the three Harrah auctions on September 28th 1985.

Apparently restored at Harrah's shop prior to 1985, this car has amassed an array of Concours d'Elegance awards second to none while in present ownership. Highlights include 'Best of Show' at Desert Spring Classic (1988) and RROC Santa Anita (1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1997 & 1999), '1st in Class' at Santa Fe and Fall Desert Classic (1986), San Diego (1987), Silverado (1988), RROC Santa Anita and Le Circle (1989), RROC Santa Anita and Newport Beach (1990), Le Circle, RROC National and San Diego (1991) and Greater Valley Concours (2000). In addition, the car has a number of Classic Car Club of America concours awards to its credit plus 'Most Elegant' trophies from the Long Beach Grand Prix, Rolls-Royce National, Fall Desert Classic and Greater Valley Concours.