1929 Rolls-Royce 20/25 HP Transformable Coachwork by Hibbard & DarrinSOLD
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Estimate: £65000 - £75000

Sold: £57,200

Registration Number: EU taxes paid Chassis Number: GGP73

The 20HP Rolls-Royce had proved its worth by 1929, showing that a substantial market existed for a car with Rolls quality but more suitable for occasional use by an owner-driver. It had however achieved also an undeserved reputation for somewhat leisurely performance, mainly because owners insisted on over-bodying the chassis with heavy formal coachwork. The CompanyÕs response was to bring in a new model with an engine capacity increased by 20% to 3.7 litres and with refinements to brakes and suspension, and the new model, the 20/25 proved itself in the grand Marque tradition of quality, refinement and engineering excellence. GGP73 is from a very early chassis series from late 1929, still retaining the charming short radiator which gives a Vintage touch to the appearance.

The car was ordered in November 1929 through the French agency for delivery to the charmingly named Monsieur Edwin Goat, for delivery to Egypt, and M. Goat must have been a rather remarkable client from his choice of both coachbuilder and coachwork. The firm of Hibbard and Darrin was one of the most avant-garde Parisian Carrossiers of the era, headed by the great American stylist Howard ÔDutchÕ Darrin, and it built some of the most beautiful luxury cars of the era. As well as stylistic flair Darrin introduced huge technical advances in coachbuilding in the form of the SilentLyte patent system; until then the vast majority of European coachwork was built on exactly the same principles as horse-drawn carriages had been for the past three hundred years, with wood frame overlaid with wood or occasionally aluminium panels. Darrin developed a system where each panel was made from an individual aluminium casting, supported on a cast frame of the same material, enormously strong but also light. The cars were even built without wood embellishments to the interior, a distinctly Jazz Age touch. Combined with his stylistic flair and an eye for the perfect line, it should have been an unbeatable combination but, since each body was in effect a one-off, the costs were also astronomical, and it was this, combined with the after-effects of the Wall Street Crash which meant that very few such wonderful bodies were actually completed.

While it lasted, though, some very remarkable cars resulted, and it is one such car we are pleased to offer today. GGP73 is surely one of the last examples ever built of a style of body known to the Edwardians as the Transformable, where the whole of the top of a formal car could be removed to make an open tourer. Such an arrangement was ideal for a car destined for delivery to Alexandria where a hardtop would presumably be needed fairly infrequently. The hard top is removed by the unfastening of four bolts and the landau irons and the beautifully fitted and surprisingly light hardtop is then lifted off. In both formats the proportions are of notable elegance, and one then has time to note the exquisite detailing, with Marchal headlights, luggage rack, and sprung bumpers of impressive Gallic complexity.

GGP 73 found its way to the United States in the 1950s, where it passed through the hands of two long-term collectors before returning the United Kingdom a few years ago. The coachbuilding technique has more than stood the test of time and the body is thus one of the soundest Vintage Rolls-Royces we have ever seen. The car has been repainted in a black livery to a very fine standard, and since the interior had gone beyond practical use she has been retrimmed in Grey cord to the rear (preserving the Greek key pattern of the original) with grey leather to the front compartment and charming nickel detailing throughout. The chassis and drivetrain were found to be in remarkable condition, so the engine has had a thorough service and considerable attention has been paid to the wiring, a wise precaution after eight decades! The car has just passed an MOT test with flying colours, is duty paid within the EU, and it is intended to be UK registered by the date of the sale. Overall a very charming specimen of a very rare and uniquely usable body style, from one of the greatest of all Parisian coachbuilders.

Reference Number 34087

as of 11/19/2008

Car 1929 Rolls-Royce 20/25 HP Transformable Coachwork by Hibbard & Darrin
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