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Car of the Month
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Rossfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley / From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the new Millennium

 

 

Car of the Month - August  2019
Rolls-Royce 20 H.P., 1929, #GEN33
Saloon by Park Ward


 

Rolls-Royce 20 H.P.

With 2-door coachwork by Barker in the form of a Fixed Head Coupé this Rolls-Royce 20 H.P. had been delivered in 1929 to its first owner. #GEN33 is from the second to last chassis-series of that model (before the successor with a more powerful engine was launched, i.e. the Rolls-Royce 20/25). The essential up-dates and modifications which were phased-in during the production of the 20 H.P. are to be found on this one. Thus it offered sufficient substance to be used well into the period after the end of World War II. It was even considered worth the investment in a coachwork-swop with a 4-door Saloon by Park Ward at some stage in the 1950ies having been transferred onto this chassis substituting the original body. Over the years that followed the car must have suffered from ever-increasing neglection before in desolate condition at last it was locked way over decades. 

In 2016 offered for sale this Rolls-Royce 20 H.P. was but a sad wreck. Full of optimism the new owner started on an ambitioned restoration to return the car into a driveable and optically acceptable vehicle. His initial step however of making a list of all missing parts and those that were obviously broken should have been a dire warning. A considerable number of pages was filled with tableaus of defects, non-functioning units etc. and that was merely reflecting obvious problems. It is common knowledge that any "To-Do-List" rapidly increases during restoration because inevitably hidden faults will be detected. 

Rolls-Royce 20 H.P.

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It has been exactly like that in this case, too. In addition to what was a substantial purchase price (no comment here on 14,000 GBP for a wreck) in quick succession further 10.000-GBP-amounts had to be paid. At present the additional amount is in excess of 50,000 GBP. The task is not yet finished though and the calculation doesn't count thousands of hours of labour the owner did spend on this project. No cynical sobriquet but simply the truth: "The most expensive car is a cheap Rolls-Royce."  An obviously positive aspect is #GEN33 didn’t end existence scrapped or cannibalized for spare parts but will remain listed as a survivor. 

Rolls-Royce 20 H.P.

On the story of this car and the efforts to achieve for her a second lease of life a book has been compiled by the owner. "The Other Yellow Rolls-Royce" by Neil Fraser is available directly from the author at 15 GBP plus postage; contact  bfraser@eircom.net More than just an illustrated report about purchase, dismantling and gradual rebuild the book informs about details on the myriad of tasks that had to be dealt with and provides contacts of companies specialised in certain work (such addresses might be of interest mainly for readers from Ireland or the United Kingdom). Fair Warning: To comply with limited funds has been imperative during this project and thus cost-cutting solutions were considered tolerable. Several of these were not congruent with the manufacturer's basic philosophy to accept nothing but the very best regardless of expenses.

Rolls-Royce 20 H.P.