Property from the Estate of John J. Welsh
1933 ROLLS-ROYCE 20/25 SEDANCA DE VILLE
COACHWORK BY BARKER & CO.
Former UK registration No. JJ 6141
Chassis No. GHW 66
Engine No. L7Z
Black with black leather driver's compartment and rear beige cloth upholstery
Engine: six cylinder, overhead valve, 3,699cc; Gearbox: four-speed manual with synchromesh between third and fourth; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Right hand drive.
The recession that followed the First World War influenced Rolls-Royce, who subsequently introduced a smaller model car (to complement the 40/50 Ghost) which was better suited to the prevailing economic climate. In 1922 the 20 HP model was launched. It maintained the standard of engineering that had made Rolls-Royce world famous but, because of its size, was cheaper and very much an owner-driven motor car. It was a commercial success, and the six cylinder, monobloc, overhead valve design with detachable cylinder head in unit with the clutch and gearbox, was to become the basis of all future six cylinder cars until the late 1940s. The 20 HP evolved into the 20/25 in 1929, with an increased engine capacity of 3.6 litres resulting in brisker performance and greater flexibility in top gear.
According to the build sheet this long wheelbase Rolls-Royce chassis with low raked type springs was delivered to the renowned English coachbuilders Barker & Co. of 66 South Audley Street, London W1 in 1932. They then built and fitted this distinctively handsome Sedanca de Ville coachwork with blue paintwork and sold the car new to Capt. Alistair Mackintosh of Sunninghill Park, Ascot in January 1933. It appears he kept the car for just a short while before it passed to Benjamin Guinness Esq. who resided at the prestigious address of 11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1. About three or four years later it moved to the north midlands of England and was in the ownership of the brewery firm Messrs. B. Cunningham Ltd. from Warrington. By 1957 the car, presumably staying in the same family, had passed to Miss M.M. Cunningham of Mollington Banastre Hotel in Chester. By October 1962 it was owned by a Reverend Cook from Devon in the south west of England. By 1965 the 20/25 was in the ownership of a Mr. Fuller from Chelmsford, Essex and while the car was undergoing a major mechanical rebuild that year it was sold to a Mr. A. Burge from the same town. Mr. Burge then returned the car to Devon when he became a resident in Crediton. In 1969 the car was sold via the English dealer Leonard Potter to John J. Welsh of Philadelphia, PA where it has remained ever since.
There is a huge wealth of correspondence between Mr. Potter and Mr. Welsh when the transaction occurred along with a large quantity of restoration bills for work that was carried out on the car in 1965 and '66. Following the mechanical rebuild Mr. Burge commissioned the firm of A.G. Dowell & Sons Coach Builders from Exeter to restore the entire roof area, especially the folding portion, and replace the interior headlining. We believe that around this time the car was painted black. Mr. Potter also supplied the very desirable and period Brooks trunk with three fitted suitcases.
John Welsh clearly cherished this vehicle along with two other classics he owned. It was used infrequently with occasional use for weddings and car shows. In the early 1980s the well respected Rolls-Royce specialists Dennison Motors removed the engine, replaced the clutch linings, overhauled the Bijur system and brakes, changed the exhaust, rebuilt the carburetor and tested the engine. At this stage the mileage was 77,837 since which time the car has covered under 3,000 miles. More recently in 1996, Fawley & Co. again removed and serviced the clutch and gearbox. The car comes with a large number of tools, flashlight, a Smith's heater and an owner's handbook (with handwritten starting instructions). Leather gaitors are still fitted to the springs and the engine belly pans are present. The rear compartment appears to have its original upholstery, which not surprisingly is showing some age. There is a winding division, vanity mirrors with lights and ash trays. The older paintwork is now cracking in several places. Overall this vehicle appears extremely sound and original, which is confirmed by its comprehensive history file. GHW 66 is a delightful example of a bespoke 20/25 Rolls-Royce whose lines are very "Continental" in appearance with its fully louvered hood and bulkhead.