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Rolls-Royce and Bentley


Car of the Month - March  2004
Rolls-Royce 20/25 H.P., #GSY32, 1933,
Binder (Paris) Fixed Head Coupé

The name “Goshawk” was applied to experimental models (and in-house even to production models) of the Rolls-Royce 20 H.P. when the new model was subject of extensive testing during the early 20ies. To choose names of birds of prey was a practice that could be traced to aero-engine production during the period of the Great War. There was no consequent line though – from the time of four-wheel brakes having been introduced the cars were code named “India”. But the previously used designation did survive on cars that were delivered to France, did survive indeed unchanged when the successor was launched: The Rolls-Royce 20/25 exported to France showed a plate riveted to the firewall that read: Automobile Rolls-Royce Type – “Goshawk”.

Hence #GSY32 is no exception with its plate under the bonnet (one that was extended 4in = 10cm) because the car was supplied to France where the coachbuilder Binder of Paris erected the body. Comte di Vizella, Porto, Portugal was a nobleman with a residence in Paris and he ordere the one-off coachwork. Binder did create an impressively elegant body of well proportioned dimensions. Under the bonnet the reason can be found why an extended bonnet had been ordered: a specially made panel between radiator and fan channels the air to increase cooling efficiency.

The original works documents („Chassis Cards“ in Rolls-Royce parlance) still exist and prove that the car was delivered in 1933 with two rear-mounted spare wheels. There is a note from 1934, too, that the owner sent the car to the factory for side-mounts to be fitted instead. At some time during the past that alteration has been changed again and nowadays the car does carry – in a container – one rear-mounted spare wheel.

The Comte di Vizella decided to enhance the design of his car by several at that time highly fashionable elements. One result were chrome applications, another was to exile the “Spirit of Ecstasy” to the glove compartment and fit a Lalique mascot on top of the radiator. This didn’t detract from Binder’s clearly flamboyant design with its extravagant lines and jacaranda wood for the interior.

It is particularly pleasing that the first owner and those who had this car in their custody during later years never neglected to keep all technical components in perfect condition as well as preserve the car so that its outward appearance remained as it had been when originally delivered. Hence the car does drive impressively well, e.g. to climb steep gradient Alpine passes in summertime doesn’t cause the coolant’s temperature to raise to an unhealthy level. The present owner is offering this car for sale. If you are interested in further details you should contact
Just in case the car will find a new home in France again it is a fair guess that the car’s documents then once more will give the type as “Goshawk”....

Photos: (c) Matti Schumacher

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