1924 Rolls Royce 20hp Two-Seater Coupé with Dickey Coachwork by Park Ward Registration no. XW 298 Chassis no. GRK77 Engine no. G1084
'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 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 universally 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. Boasting two-seat, coupé-plus-dickey coachwork by Park Ward, chassis number 'GRK77' was first owned by Lord Daresbury of the famous Greenall Whitley brewing family. This extremely rare and attractively proportioned 20hp Rolls-Royce has not seen the light of day since the mid-1950s and remains in 'barn find' condition but nevertheless does run sweetly. The car is accompanied by a fascinating file of history, including bills dating up to the 1950s when it was laid up and a copy of The Vintage & Thoroughbred Car (May 1954, price 1s 3d) in which it is advertised for sale by Perkins & Smith Ltd of Braunston, near Rugby, asking price £215. A restorer's dream, 'GRK77' is offered with old-style logbook and Swansea V5.