<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 48
1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster

Sold for US$ 368,000 inc. premium
1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster
Chassis no. 342LF
Engine no. 21423
Body No. M1046

7,431cc L-Head Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Single Rolls-Royce Carburetor
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Leaf Spring Suspension
Rear-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes

*Previously owned by Alphonzo E. Bell
*Styled in period by Hollywood-based coachbuilders Reindl and Willingham
*Expertly restored to Concours condition
*Offered with RROC records


THE 40/50HP SILVER GHOST

Soon after it started Rolls-Royce adopted a single model policy, concentrating all its efforts, engineering and development on the 40/50hp six-cylinder series known by the name of its earliest successful example, the Silver Ghost. But while Rolls-Royce stayed with a single model designation the Silver Ghost was anything but static in engineering, design or features.

The Silver Ghost was rugged, powerful, strong and quiet. It would cruise all day, swallowing up long distances in comfort and silence. At the same time its quiet and relaxed low speed operation was ideally suited to restrained and elegant duty under limousine and town car coachwork. The Silver Ghost proved to be so suitable that, in addition to the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby, Rolls-Royce set up production facilities in the United States in 1920, choosing Springfield, Massachusetts for its access to suppliers and for the ample supply of skilled craftsmen trained in the armories and machine tool factories of the Connecticut River valley and New England.

Updated features and mechanical refinements were first applied to Derby-built Rolls-Royces, then added to the Springfield-built cars so the American product was late to get such improvements as four-wheel brakes. On the other hand, many of the American components were better than those available in the U.K. and the Springfield-built Rolls-Royces soon featured American-made Bosch magnetos and coil ignition, Bijur generators and starters and American-made wire wheels.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The Rolls-Royce offered here has a spectacularly interesting history, as well as sporting, one-off Roadster styling. 342LF was delivered new to Alphonzo E. Bell, an oil magnate, significant real estate developer, champion tennis player and philanthropist. The son and nephew of two brothers-in-law who were responsible for the development of 10,000 acres in what is now East Los Angeles, Bell found oil on his Sante Fe Springs ranch and orange grove in 1917, an oil field that would become one of the largest in the United States, eventually producing one sixth of the country's oil.

He used his oil earnings to acquire a sprawling 1,700+ acre estate in the West Los Angeles foothills, subsequently developing the property into hundreds of estate sites and christening the project Bel-Air, which remains one of the wealthiest and most exclusive communities in Southern California today. Bell had enough wealth, income and assets to ride out the Depression in comfort, and by 1930 he was seeking the more modern styling of the day. His stable of cars needed to be replaced, so the Piccadilly briefly became the property of a Mr. John C. Feys of Beverly Hills and was then later acquired by a Mr. J. Cooper of Hollywood. While it can't be verified, it's likely that this was the same J. Cooper that co-owned the Rolls-Royce dealership in Hollywood.

By 1931 the car was in the possession of Joseph Reindl, the leading West Coast authority on Mercedes-Benz, but also well versed on the more ubiquitous of the European marques, including Rolls-Royce. Operating out of Hollywood Spring and Axle at 6009 W. Sunset Blvd., Reindl was part of the Hollywood scene from the 1920s to the 1950s, making his name by modifying and improving the European cars of Los Angeles' rich and famous as the desire for more athletic vehicles was beginning to come into its first heyday. Like the coachbuilders of the day, there was a group of these hotrodders in Los Angeles at the onset of the 1930s and Reindl was a notable figure in their ranks, although not nearly as significant as Eddie Miller, a former Duesenberg factory mechanic and stock car racer who would go on to set more than 40 international speed records throughout the decade. Aside from being well acquainted, Riendl and Miller became inexorably linked by history as competing drivers in Hollywood's most storied race, the famous Phil Berg Duesenberg / Zeppo and Chico Marx Mercedes race at Muroc Dry Lake, some 100 miles northeast of Hollywood. The race was precipitated during a bridge game at Al Jolson's Sunset Blvd. home when Chico and Zeppo Marx began ribbing Hollywood super-manager Phil Berg that their Mercedes-Benz SSK Roadster could beat his Duesenberg Model J handily. Berg was up to the challenge and soon a $10,000 winner-take-all bet was on the table, a staggering sum in Depression-era America, yet by the time the race date had been set for the Muroc Dry Lakebed, the stakes had swelled to an astonishing $25,000 - nearly $450k in today's money.

Berg enlisted Eddie Miller to prepare and drive the Duesie, and the Marx brothers called on Joe Reindl. There was no publicity for the race – this was a friendly gentleman's duel after all – and while only two hundred or so invited guests had arrived on chartered buses and private planes, news had traveled fast and some two thousand public spectators showed up at Muroc on the day of the race. When the race began, the much lighter, supercharged Mercedes initially left the Duesenberg far behind, but by the end of the first lap it was starting to have engine trouble, and the two were neck in neck. By the end of the second lap, Miller had opened up an impressive lead and Riendl, having never gotten the Mercedes back to fully operational, couldn't catch him, sealing the fate of the "Madness at Muroc".

Reindl had acquired 342LF just prior to receiving the Marx brothers' call, and it's possible that the car was in his shop at the same time as the Marx brothers Mercedes, but Reindl had also commissioned Judson Willingham to design modifications to the Piccadilly coachwork that would allow the car to take on a more sporting, more modern and much more aggressive look. Working out of a small private shop behind the parking lot of the famous Trocadero supper club at 8610 Sunset Blvd., Willingham was known for his custom coachwork on standard Murphy and Coachcraft bodies, as well as for his implementation of the "V" windscreen adaptation found on many quality examples of the 1930s, likely inspired by the same application made famous by the Constance Bennett Phantom II that was delivered the year prior.

Reindl had Los Angeles builder Howard Moore execute Willingham's designs on 342LF, including the "V" windscreen, a custom Phantom inspired front valence, custom front fenders, and a number of other subtle changes such as more modern headlamps and bumpers. When coupled with Reindl's adroit modifications to the chassis, springs and other components, the end result of their labors was what must have been the most attractive and unique Piccadilly special roadster in existence.

Following the completion of Reindl, Willingham and Moore's work in 1932, little is known about 342LF or its whereabouts. The car appeared in Paramount's 1939 film Arrest Bulldog Drummond, starring John Howard and Heather Angel, but is not believed to have had a life as a picture car. After five decades without any further record of its existence, many assumed 342LF had disappeared forever, however Rolls-Royce Owner's Club records show that by 1989, marque collector and club member Dr. Marvin Piper of Altadena, CA had acquired the car. It was traded again in 1999, and by 2006, Mr. Justin Ding, another noted marque collector from nearby Arcadia, CA is recorded as the owner.

In 2012, 342LF was discovered in a Los Angeles barn, dilapidated by what appeared to be six plus decades of relative neglect and an abandoned earlier attempt at restoration, but the car was reasonably complete and entirely solid, the benefit of having spent its entire life in the arid Los Angeles climate. The car was acquired and held briefly by the current owner before a comprehensive, multi-year restoration was performed to return the car to its post-modification grandeur, circa 1932. 2,300 hours was invested in the restoration, and the result is nothing less than breathtaking. The history file offered with the car contains RROC records, as well as an abundance of research and archival images of 342LF and the exiting history surrounding it. Offered here is a very special piece of Hollywood and Southern California automobile history.
Contacts
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
<b>1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster</b><br />Chassis no. 342LF<br />Engine no. 21423<br />Body No. M1046
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

Like the vast majority of auctioneers Bonhams charge what is known as a Buyer's Premium. Buyer's Premium on all Automobilia lots will adhere to Bonhams group policy:

25% up to £50,000 of hammer price,
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 of hammer price,
and 12% on the balance thereafter. This applies to each lot purchased and is subject to VAT.

For Motor Cars and Motorcycles a 15% Buyer's Premium is payable on the first £50,000 of the final Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on any amount by which the Hammer Price exceeds £50,000. VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Some lots may be subject to VAT on the Hammer Price. These lots will be clearly marked with the relevant symbol printed beside the lot number in the catalog.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Special Car Dealer Notices

For all registerable Vehicles, Bonhams is acting as an Arizona dealer, number L00012102