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Clarke: The Rolls-Royce 20/25 H.P.

Rolls-Royce and Bentley


Car of the Month - April  2003
Rolls-Royce 20/25 H.P, #GAE66, 1934,
H.J. Mulliner Saloon

Rolls-Royce 25/25 H.P., H.J. Mulliner Saloon

The Rolls-Royce 20/25 H.P. was the best-selling model of the company during inter-War years. In Tom Clarke’s standard reference book “The Rolls-Royce 20/25 H.P.” the number produced is given as 3,824. This total though doesn’t include experimental cars which might be an explanation why other sources state 3,827 had been built. Because of the dominance of the chauffeur-driven owner during that time the vast majority of 20/25 H.P. were bodied with formal coachwork; among Rolls-Royce customers owner-drivers were yet a minority.

This H.J. Mulliner saloon of rather conservative outward appearance is a perfectly well executed owner-driver motor car. Perhaps some features adding to the 4-door 4-light saloon body’s restrained elegance are not immediately obvious. The nicely proportioned saloon is rather short without an integral trunk. The design wasn’t marred by exposed hinges. The hidden type was used, and the rear doors being hinged on the B-post. Obviously a fine Rolls-Royce motor car with no manifestation of extravaganza - not even the nearside-mounted searchlight appears as such.

 Rolls-Royce 20/25 H.J.Mulliner Saloon

Rolls-Royce 20/25 H.J.Mulliner SaloonThe interior is in line with the general design, no features would have qualified for being decorative alone. The owner-driver benefited from an opening windscreen – still often preferred to fitting a sunroof. The body afforded plenty of legroom and had, at the front, two separate and easily adjustable seats of a particularly comfortable type. Invariably details were a question of individual choice – note the ashtray and the press-down cigar lighter in the capping rail (visible via an inset glass was the announcement that the right temperature had been reached). Note, too, that there are three different types of handles to operate side windows: a “quick release” on the driver’s side plus a knurling knob for the small window, whereas standard winding mechanisms were fitted to the passenger’s and rear-door windows.

Rolls-Royce supplied a chassis that provided effortless, smooth and reliable performance. H.J. Mulliner combined excellence of material and workmanship – and complemented the whole into a creation of restrained elegance.

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Rolls-Royce 25/25 H.P., H.J. Mulliner Saloon

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