The ex-Rolls-Royce Ltd trials car 1935 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Limousine Coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly Registration no. BLX 19 Chassis no. GSF2 Engine no. U7B
The introduction of a smaller Rolls-Royce - the 20hp - in 1922 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 'Twenty' proved eminently suited to town use, yet could cope admirably with Continental touring when called upon. Its successor, the 20/25hp, introduced in 1929, up-dated 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. The latter's increased power allowed the bespoke coachbuilders greater freedom in their efforts to satisfy a discerning clientele that demanded ever larger and more opulent designs. Produced concurrently with the Phantom II, the 20/25 benefited from many of the larger model's improvements, such as synchromesh gears and centralised chassis lubrication, becoming the best-selling Rolls-Royce of the inter-war period. Off test on 10th December 1934, chassis number 'GSF2' was retained by Rolls-Royce Ltd as a trials car and registered 'BLX 19'. Its first private owner was Sir George Augustus Sutton, Bt. An imposing sight from any angle, 'BLX 19' carries standard limousine coachwork by the respected London-based firm of Thrupp & Maberly, a concern noted for a succession of coachbuilding innovations during the 1920s and 1930s. Thrupp & Maberly could trace its origins back to the 18th Century and was responsible for some of the earliest motor car bodies built in England. It became part of the Rootes Group in 1925 but continued to build bodies for Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Humber chassis. 'BLX 19' has twice featured in 'The Rolls-Royce Bulletin' (September 1935 and June 1936 editions) being pictured at various locations in Kent and Sussex (copies available). In 1979 the car was featured in the R-REC's 'The Bulletin' (November edition) in an article entitled 'Peaked Cap Driving' by Keith Kidger, who had chauffeured 'BLX 19' in the late 1940s when it belonged to a hire-car firm (copy available). The accompanying old-style logbook lists David Scott Moncrieff & Son Ltd as owners from April 1977 to March 1978 when the car was acquired by R-REC member, Richard Hipkiss. Acquired by the current owner two years ago, since when it has formed part of his private collection, 'BLX 19' is offered with the aforementioned documentation, MoT/tax to April 2011 and Swansea V5 registration document. The removal of the internal division, known to have been done in the 1950s, is the only notified deviation from factory specification.