1923 Rolls-Royce 20hp Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. 79A8 Engine no. G460
Lot 334
1923 Rolls-Royce 20hp Coupé with Dickey Chassis no. 79A8 Engine no. G460
Sold for £28,750 (US$ 48,323) inc. premium
Lot Details
1923 Rolls-Royce 20hp Coupé with Dickey
Registration no. SV 4460
Chassis no. 79A8
Engine no. G460


  • '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.
    This example was delivered new to New Zealand with Johnson & Smith tourer coachwork and is recorded in the excellent reference work, 'The Rolls-Royce Twenty' by John Fasal. The car remained in New Zealand in the hands of its second owner until the 1950s when it went to the USA, remaining there in dry storage for nearly 31 years. At some stage this very pretty two-seat coupé-with-dickey coachwork was fitted, and post storage a major restoration was undertaken in America at a cost of approximately $40,000, the car then being owned by the well known enthusiast and collector, G Wales.
    The current livery consists of three shades of green with polished alloy bonnet; an unusual apron enclosing the chassis irons to the front, twin side-mounts, Marchal headlamps and running board-mounted tool box complete the overall effect. The interior is trimmed in button-back tan leather with matching dickey in fabric and dark green carpets, while there are storage compartments neatly fitted behind the seat. Other noteworthy features include an inset fabric panel to the roof, a fire extinguisher fitted inside, an oilcan located beneath the bonnet, various tools and a small metal ornamental bee, which is fitted to the bonnet.
    The 'Twenty' was acquired at auction in the UK by the current vendor in July 1993 and since then has been used sparingly. Copy chassis cards and a photographic record of the restoration come with the car.

Saleroom notices

  • The registration number for this vehicle is SV 4450. We are pleased to advise that this vehicle is offered with a Swansea V5, Sundry Invoices, 1988 Edition of the Instruction book, and various expired MoT's.
  1. Sholto Gilbertson
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7468 5809
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5802