1923 Rolls Royce 20hp Doctor's Coupe  Chassis no. 86 K2 Engine no. E52689
Lot 559
1923 Rolls Royce 20hp Doctor's Coupe Chassis no. 86 K2 Engine no. E52689
Sold for £57,500 (US$ 96,547) inc. premium
Lot Details
1923 Rolls Royce 20hp Doctor's Coupe
Coachwork by Mitchell

Registration no. NN 6154
Chassis no. 86 K2
Engine no. E52689


  • '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 well 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.
    Chassis number '86K2' carries well proportioned coupé-with-dickey-seat coachwork by the little known Nottingham-based firm of F Mitchell Ltd, at whose Derby Road premises it was finally tested in December 1923. Accompanying copy chassis cards record the first private owner as J E Cahn of Papplewick Grange, Nottingham, this being Sir Julien Cahn whose biography – 'The Eccentric Entrepreneur' – describes his as 'businessman, philanthropist, magician and cricket-lover.' Two further owners are recorded on the cards: H Knight and A Craven-Smith-Milnes, both in Nottinghamshire, the latter acquiring the car in November 1945.
    By the mid/late 1970s the Twenty had passed into the ownership of Mr Terry Talbot, a dealer in luxury cars based at St Annes, Lancashire, who drove it to Windsor in 1977 to participate in the parade of Rolls-Royce cars forming part of HM The Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations (see press cutting and event programme on file). The current vendor acquired the car for museum display in 2009, the immediately preceding owner being recorded as Mrs Jane Lever of Bramhall, Lancashire.
    Restored at date unknown, '86K2' appears in generally good condition, runs very well and is extremely quiet. The car is finished in green with matching wheel discs and black wings and top, while other noteworthy features include four trays of tools housed within the running boards. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned copy chassis cards and build sheets, a quantity of expired MoT certificates, Swansea V5C document and MoT to 30th March 2013.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the mascot is not present with the car.
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