One of only 3 open Park Ward Dropheads on this chassis
1936 Rolls-Royce 25/20hp Drophead Coupe
Coachwork by Park Ward & Co.
Chassis no. GXM 61
Engine no. B25 C
"This very special bodied car" (The Flying Lady, p4957) was built for Sir Arthur Cory-Wright, a successful coal factor who purchased more than a dozen new Rolls-Royces prior to WW2. By 1936 sporting open bodies on Rolls-Royce chassis were becoming quite rare and this car's is unique; Park Ward built 163 bodies for the 25/30 chassis, almost all of which were closed, and only three drophead coupes, this car included, each of which was different.
A British built right-hand drive chassis, 'GXM61' is finished in Ascot Grey with Oxford Blue fenders and top, while the interior is upholstered in Ascot Grey Connolly hide with matching carpets complemented by light English walnut veneers. The body and engine are original (restored) with matching numbers. The car is pictured in Those Elegant Rolls-Royce by Lawrence Dalton and The Rolls-Royce 25/30hp & Wraith by Bernard King.
In 1989 the car passed to noted Rolls enthusiast Neil Robinson who progressively undertook a rebuild of the car to bring it to both to aesthetic show standards but also to make it as usable as possible. First off, the car received a bare metal repaint by Perfect Reflections of Hayward, CA, this was followed by a full re-trim in Connolly leather and with new carpets courtesy of Arteche of Woodland, CA. A couple of years prior to its purchase the car had received a new cylinder head, and this mechanical attention was continued through the 1990s with an extensive engine overhaul including new pistons, bearings etc. and new correct pattern radiator core with works assisted by specialists Laurence Anderson Co. of Berkeley, CA. The front axle was completely rebuilt, and new brake shoes were fitted, while to make the car more roadable the sensible modern concession of a Payne overdrive system was added.
With the work completed in its entirety, the handsome Drophead began the show circuit. It won the Rolls-Royce of America Trophy at the annual national meet of the RROC in Dana Point, CA in 1999 and in that previous ownership followed this up with a number of other concours awards including 1st in the pre-war Rolls-Royce & Bentley class at Silverado, 1st in class at Hillsborough Concours 2003 and 1st in class at Palo Alto Concours (where Rolls-Royce was the featured marque) in 2004. Culminating Mr. Robinson's ownership was a 3rd in Class at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August 2004. A few days later it was offered for sale by Bonhams at the Rolls-Royce Owner's Club auction in the Peninsula that year.
Then as now, we can note that this is a car that was obviously intended to be driven by the owner, its comfortable bucket seats, light steering and synchromesh gearbox making it easy to drive. It is reported to handle well in modern highway traffic and has good acceleration for its period (contemporary tests record 25/30 acceleration figures comparable with those of a Phantom II Continental and superior to almost all other pre-war Rolls-Royces except the Phantom III). The whole on the road experience is enhanced by the concealed Payne overdrive unit which provides, in effect, a fifth gear for effortless freeway cruising. (This aspect could of course be removed without trace and the original condition easily restored if desired, since it simply clamps to the chassis without any bolt holes and the original prop shaft remains with the car.
Since being acquired by the current owner, a noted collector of the marque, it has continued to both be cherished as well as shown at a host of major events, though its mileage has only risen a couple of hundred in the last 7 years. As with all car collectors space is at a premium and for this reason only this 'special' car returns to the marketplace. Its condition remains extremely tidy and this combined with its usability and rarity as a late open pre-war car, make for a very appealing package.
The car comes with a genuine Rolls-Royce Owner's Manual and extensive toolkit. Also included in the sale is a file of historical documents and a file of service/work records and invoices for the last two periods of ownership.