1931 ROLLS-ROYCE 20/25hp SALOON
COACHWORK BY MAYTHORN
Registration No. VN 2713
Chassis No. GOS 24
Engine No. B 8 G
Blue over black, with brown leather and fawn cord upholstery - for restoration
Engine: six cylinder in line, overhead valve, 3,699cc 25.3hp; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf spring, front and rear; Brakes: four wheel drum, servo-assisted. Right hand drive
In 1929, Rolls-Royce decided to update its successful small horsepower model, the Twenty, with a modest increase in engine swept volume to become the 20/25. In this guise it lost none of its now-legendary mechanical refinement and poise, while offering enhanced top-gear performance and all-round liveliness. It served the company admirably in the difficult depression years, continuing to appeal to the well-off private owner-driver and to those who still preferred the services of a professional driver, for the chassis provided an excellent basis for elegant formal coachwork.
Later updates would see the radiator height increased, and a progressive increase in the size of the car, to many therefore the early examples which are closer in size to the 20hp, are often considered to be better proportioned and allowed for more elegant coachwork.
This example was ordered new by Sam Musgrave of Scarborough at whose request it as bodied by Maythorn with the Six Light saloon coachwork it still wears today. It would have been one of the last cars that they bodied, as despite origins in the mid-1800s, the Biggleswade in Bedfordshire concern ceased trading in 1931. The original owner took delivery in May that year, but later history until the War is not known.
A copy of the buff log book for the car confirms it to have been on the road from just after the War up until 1965, and notes two owners during this time, in Whitby and Barnsley. Therefore, it would seem that it had remained in the same area for much of its active life. Subsequently being sold to the present ownership, it seems unlikely that it was used much after this time.
Today the Rolls-Royce is extremely tired, and its interior although complete is much distressed. At some stage during its life the steering wheel has been exchanged for a three spoke unit, but with this exception it does appear substantially complete and correct, even retaining undertrays, wheel discs and all bar one of its instruments. The bodywork and mechanical aspect are in similarly poor order and so the car must be considered in need of total refurbishment. When removed from its long term storage, its tyres did hold pressure and the car rolled freely.
As an attractive owner/driver saloon and rare example of Maythorn coachwork it is deserving of restoration, owing to its completeness this should ensure that the process is relatively straightforward.