1932 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Drophead Coupe by Graber

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Description

Year :  1932
Make :  Rolls-Royce
Model :  20/25
Coachbuilder :  Graber
Body Type :  Drophead Coupe
Colour :  Midnight Blue
Trim :  Red Leather

History :  Production of the Rolls-Royce 20HP ceased in 1929, making way for the new 20/25 model which was produced until 1936. The new 20/25 retained the 6 cylinder single carburettor, overhead valve engine which had been issued to its predecessor, but it was upgraded to 3699cc producing better acceleration and a higher top speed. The four speed manual gearbox with right hand lever change was also improved with the fitment of synchromesh to third and fourth gear from 1932 onwards. The 20/25 was produced by Rolls-Royce in tandem with production of the Phantom II, giving buyers a multitude of options. This particular car, chassis no GRW59 was despatched in November of 1932 originally with a saloon coachwork by Gangloff of Colmar in France and delivered to its first owner, Mr Jospeh Rubin of Geneva two months later. Mr Rubin, an architect by trade, was a well-known admirer of Rolls-Royce motor cars, owning over half a dozen examples during the 1920’s and 1930’s, many of which we have handled personally. During the final months of Mr Rubin’s life he instructed Herman Graber of Berne in Switzerland to re-body Chassis No GRW59 with unique drophead coupe style coachwork. The change in appearance was completed in August of 1937, just a month before Mr Rubin’s death. It is understood that just one other pre-war Rolls-Royce was bodied by Graber, that being Chassis No GZK58, a Sedanca de Ville that now resides in the Swiss National Museum of Transport in Luzern. The car was acquired from Rubin’s estate by HRH Field Marshall, Sardar Shah Ali Wali Khan Ghazi, Victor of Kabul (1888-1977) brother to King Shah Nader Khan of Afghanistan. In 1929 Shah Wali Khan and his four brothers successfully mounted a coup, placing their fifth brother, Shah Nader Khan on the throne. Shah Wali Khan returned home to Afghanistan in 1945 to become Prime Minister. During his ownership Shah Wali Khan overshot a bend on the shores of Lake Geneva whilst holidaying there and plunged some sixty feet down into the lake in the car, see photo ten. It was later sold following the cessation of hostilities, purchased in Rome in October of 1945 by Reverend George Irving. Reverend Irving was the director of British Troops Welfare in Austria and the Secretary to the Huts and Canteens Committee, Church of Scotland whilst serving in Italy and then Klagenfurt in southern Austria. It is understood that the Reverend and his new wife toured through Italy and Austria in 1946 in the car, on their honeymoon. In April of 1948 Major Jack Comyn was posted to Vienna and required private transportation in the form of a new motor car, so made enquiries about two Rolls-Royces that were in Klagenfurt. To his surprise he discovered that both were owned by the Huts and Canteens Committee of the Church of Scotland. Following negotiations Major Comyn agreed to buy the car for £550 and like Reverend Irving before him, used the car on his honeymoon in 1948, touring Austria. In 1950 Major Comyn was posted back in England and sold Chassis No GRW59 to Major Tom Evill of the Royal Engineers, who kept the car in impeccable fashion until his death in 1960. A former friend of Major Evill, Colonel David Balmain, purchased the car from his widow in 1960 and it two years later in 1962 to a motor dealer when faced with the prospect of having to carry out repairs and general maintenance to the car, which he could little afford. A price of £300 was agreed and the car subsequently found its way to the United States in 1963 where in languished in an unloved state until 1997. Following around ten years of research, the most recent owner finally located the car in 1997, visiting the then owner, Mr Lee Noble of Seattle and purchasing it from him. The car returned to British shores in February of 1998 and was stored until November that year. It was examined and evaluated in great detail prior to the commencement of the instructed restoration works, the brief being to restore the car to top concours condition. The exhaustive and extensive works were carried out to the highest standards on a no expense spared basis, taking ten years to complete. The body off, nut and bolt rebuild by recognised experts has resulted in a car that any restorer in the world would be proud to call their own work and has yielded some impressive results at major concours level. Chassis No GRW59 was given its first public outing following the completion of the works when shown at the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club Annual Rally in June 2010 where it collected the “Best in Class” award. The car then won the “Master Class” award at the same event the following year in 2011. In May of the same year Chassis No GRW59 was invited to be shown at Europe’s most prestigious event, the Concorzo d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. A month later the car was invited to Salon Prive in London where it was awarded the “Spirit of Ecstasy” award, beating over a dozen other concours prepared Rolls-Royce motor cars. In August the car was shipped to America to be shown at the Rolls-Royce Owners Club concours at Squaw Creek in Lake Tahoe. Once again Chassis No GRW59 was awarded “First in Class” honours. A few days later the car was exhibited at the 61st annual concours at Pebble Beach where it won “Second in Class” honours and was awarded the Lucius Bebbe special award for “Elegance and Style” a notable achievement as this was the first time a small engined Rolls-Royce had ever won any award or prize in the long and celebrated history of the world’s greatest concours. We are very reluctant to ever use the word “perfect” when describing any motor car, especially one that is eighty years old, but in our opinion Chassis No GRW59 is as close as one could possibly achieve. It is a car that would inevitably add significant value to any collection in the world, and one that we are delighted to be offering for sale from our London showrooms at this time.

Condition :  Top concours condition.
Technical Data :  Four speed manual gearbox, 6 cylinder in-line engine, 3.5 litres displacement, 3669cc capacity. Servo-assisted brakes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND PHOTOS PLEASE GO TO WWW.FRANKDALE.COM

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Specs

Essentials

  • Doors: 2
  • Body type: Convertible
  • Transmission type: Manual
  • Fuel type: Petrol
  • Colour: Blue

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Frank Dale & Stepsons

West London

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