FROM THE ESTATE OF JEROME KELLNER
1925 ROLLS-ROYCE 20 HP SALAMANCA
COACHWORK BY KELLNER OF PARIS
Chassis No. GSK81
Engine No. G1523
Maroon with brown leather interior
Engine: six cylinder in-line, pushrod overhead valve, 3127cc; Gearbox: manual 4-speed with right-hand lever; Suspension: beam axle to front, live axle to rear, half elliptic springs all round; Brakes: servo-assisted, mechanically operated four wheel drum. Right hand drive.
In 1906 Claude Johnson, the commercial genius who did so much to ensure Rolls-Royce's enormous early success, had launched the company on a one-model policy. The model was the fabled six cylinder 40/50hp Silver Ghost, so costly to purchase and time consuming to maintain that only the most wealthy could afford it. By the early 1920s, the times were changing. There was still a place for those extravagances, but a new luxury car-owning class could be discerned. They had the means to indulge themselves but looked for much more modest outgoings and running costs. It was to tap this new market that the Rolls-Royce Twenty was introduced in 1922. Built to just the same demanding standards as its magnificent predecessor, but simpler both to manufacture and to keep up, it was, after initial tremors, highly successful.
Refinement, more than high performance, was always the Derby factory's objective with the six cylinder Twenty. There was a smooth pushrod overhead six cylinder engine in unit with a 3-speed gearbox controlled by a center gear-change, driving through an open propeller shaft to a rear axle suspended by simple half elliptic springs. By 1926 there were four speeds and the gears were controlled by a right-hand lever in a more traditional gate. Brakes on all four wheels came in at about the same time. In common with the steering and clutch, they were light and precise to operate, for the type was intended to appeal to owner-driver clients, as well as to those who could afford to employ a chauffeur.
GSK81 was originally purchased at the Paris Salon by the inventor of Bromo Seltzer, Mr. J. E. Emerson. The highly attractive coachwork is by Kellner of Paris. As a Salamanca, the hood folds and transforms the Rolls-Royce into a car that is completely open for fair weather motoring. It is offered here from the estate of Mr. Jerome Kellner, a member of the Kellner coachbuilding family. During his ownership, the 20hp was shown at the 1996 Louis Vuitton Classic at Rockefeller Center. The rear compartment is beautifully appointed in mahogany and leather. Because it dates from 1925, this delightful little Rolls-Royce is eligible for both the Classic Car Club and the Rolls-Royce Owner's Club events.