Originally sold new to Henry 'Chips' Channon
1936 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Brougham de Ville
Coachwork by Barker & Co. No. 6968
Chassis no. GBK 36
Engine no. L 29 P
This highly stylized 20/25hp dates from late in the series production and shows just how diverse a product Barker could offer if their clients so wished. The client in question was Henry 'Chips' Channon a Unionist M.P. and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1938 and 1941. Channon was a writer who would marry one of the Guinness Brewing firm heiresses and later become a director of that company.
In stark comparison to many Broughams built by Barker, which tended to be more upright and stately, this statesman opted for a severely raked windshield line continued diagonally across the scuttle and then matched by the front of the Brougham. Instead of continuing this line a third time the back of the car bows forward resembling some of the designs that Labourdette and others achieved in this period. The highly detailed design doesn't end there, each fender is scalloped along its outer wall, fully flowing from front to back of the car and there are numerous other detail features in the interior of the car from square styled art deco door and window handles to vanity mirrors. Although, seemingly so compact that there is no luggage space, the back panel of the car folds down to create a large luggage mounting area.
The British Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club retains the original orders for these cars, and while these confirm Channon to have been the original owner, they also note the car to have left the U.K. in June 1939 to become the property of Alan Corey of Wall Street, New York and Glen Head, Long Island. The notes list the car being shipped through American Express on the S.S. Bremen to New York that summer. In both Belgrave Square, London and on Wall Street, the car must have been quite a statement! How long Corey owned the car or indeed successive owners are not known and since the late 1980s the car has been in Canada and unlisted with the U.S. Rolls-Royce Owner's Club.
Originally entirely black, the car has been repainted at some point it is believed in the 1950s to the present two tone scheme, while this serves to display the details of the bodywork, it would most probably benefit from a single color. The repaint may well be sum total of work carried out on the car, for in almost every other respect the car seems exceptionally original. Beneath the front seats are tool trays with a virtually complete set of tools. The body number is stamped into a number of places on the car, including the panels beneath the front seats and also along the seam of the wood panel at the front of the front seats - perhaps to ensure that it wasn't ever lost if removed.
A Brougham design was one of the more mysterious of coachwork styles, its owner choosing to distinguish the exterior of their car markedly from other cars, while they themselves were discreetly hidden behind the quarter panels, no doubt as Channon was whisked around London, or Corey up and down Wall Street, the car would have raised a few eyebrows! Deserving of a sympathetic restoration, this charismatic design would no doubt provide its future owner a striking concours car with excellent potential.