1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Three-Position Owen Sedanca Coupé  Chassis no. GBA27 Engine no. R4X

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Lot 668
1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Three-Position Owen Sedanca Coupé
Registration no. AXA 550 Chassis no. GBA27 Engine no. R4X

Sold for £ 73,000 (US$ 90,491) inc. premium
1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Three-Position Owen Sedanca Coupé
Coachwork by J Gurney Nutting & Co. Ltd

Registration no. AXA 550
Chassis no. GBA27
Engine no. R4X
No less than 3,827 examples of the 20/25hp Rolls-Royce chassis left the Derby production lines, all destined for bespoke coachbuilders who vied eagerly for custom among the nobility and ‘old money’. Ownership of a Rolls-Royce had long been a social statement since the marque was dubbed as ‘The Best Car in the World’. The smaller and less expensive 20/25hp model brought Rolls-Royce products to a wider market, although there was no compromise in quality for the smaller car. The 20/25hp was powered by a smooth, six-cylinder engine of 3.7 litres with pushrod-operated overhead valves. Engineering quality reflected Rolls-Royce’s reputation for building ‘The Best Car in the World’ and a comprehensive dealer network serviced the marque, working closely with the factory in providing only the most meticulous service for their demanding clients. Direct contact between owner and manufacturer was actively encouraged and Rolls-Royce ran its own chauffeur training school, its aim being to ensure that their products received the best of care at all times.
Rolls-Royce agents, Messrs H R Owen Ltd of 17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London, were responsible for surely the most elegant multi-purpose coachwork ever fitted to the 20/25hp chassis. They commissioned J Gurney Nutting & Co. Ltd. of Chelsea to build the exclusive three-position drophead coupé – marketed as the Owen Sedanca Coupé to Reg’d Design No.778898. This design enabled the car to be used in fully closed configuration, with the hood furled above the driver’s compartment or indeed fully folded down as a four-seater open tourer. The car featured a separate metal luggage trunk to the rear with a vertical, rear-mounted, encased spare wheel. The louvred bonnet and scuttle reflected something of the Phantom II Continental.
Copy Factory Order Sheets with this car, GBA27, confirm that the chassis was sold in July 1933 to H R Owen and was delivered on 29th September that year to J Gurney Nutting & Co. Ltd. H R Owen’s valued customer was R G Chittenden Esq of Larkfield, near Maidstone, and the guarantee date of 23rd December 1933 suggests that every effort was made to deliver the car in time for Christmas – a very special Christmas gift indeed.
The next recorded owner was a Mrs Whitworth of Pinkneys Green in Berkshire, the Sedanca Coupé having a particular appeal to the lady driver. With an obvious affection for the car, Mrs Whitworth commissioned Rolls-Royce Ltd at Crewe to undertake a major mechanical rebuild in 1947. The order was dated August 1947 and this comprehensive rebuild was completed on 26th November at the massive cost then of £354.
In around 1960 GBA27 was sold to the U.S.A. by Rolls-Royce agents, Hoffmans of Halifax, and was subsequently acquired by well-known Rolls-Royce historian, author and airline pilot, Raymond Gentile of Kansas. Gentile owned Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental, chassis no.201RYwith Owen Sedanca Coupé coachwork, and in 1979 was to sell GBA27 to the present owner in whose hands it has now remained for 25 years. During that time it has shared the most distinguished stable in a collection of superb veteran, Edwardian and vintage motor cars. It has been used regularly, but sparingly, covering only 2,500 miles or so during this time. The current indicated mileage of 39,000 or so miles is believed, but not confirmed, to be the mileage since the Rolls-Royce rebuild in 1947.
The car is superbly presented in black livery with red pinstriping, complementing the red leather upholstery. A beige hood is fitted and of particular note are the magnificently sculptured interior hood irons, themselves a geometric masterpiece. GBA27 is equipped with Lucas lighting with a centre spotlight, matching rear-view mirrors and wheel discs and of course proudly wears the Spirit of Ecstasy radiator mascot. The car is presented to original specification in all major respects.
Throughout its current period of ownership the car has been a consistent winner of many Concours d’ Élégance awards and in 1985 and again in 1996 won the prestigious overall award for the best car at the R-R.E.C. North of England Rally at Harewood House (in 1996 against some 600 other competitors). In 1999 it achieved yet another class win at the Harewood Rally.
This car comes with a Swansea V5 registration document, current licence and new MoT certificate, copy of Rolls-Royce Order Records, the invoice for the Rolls-Royce Ltd overhaul in 1947, original large tools and R-R.O.C. of America handbook reprint which illustrates this very car on page 19 of Part II. Owen Sedanca Coupés rarely come to the open market and are truly the ‘jewel in the crown’ for the serious Rolls-Royce collector.
1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Three-Position Owen Sedanca Coupé  Chassis no. GBA27 Engine no. R4X
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