Saturday, June 13, 2015

Turn in the wheel of fortune of the Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp GBK 42

An interesting story began to unfold when in November 1935 Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla ordered a Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp chassis no. GBK 42, bearing engine no. J 28 R, from the Rolls-Royce works. It was sent to Windovers to be fitted with sedanca de ville coachwork to design no. 6341 by Vanden Plas. The Windovers order noted the bodywork to have seating for 6/7 persons, facilitated by sideway type occasional seats, a one-piece opening windscreen, and the luggage accommodation merged into the coachwork. The interiors were asked to be trimmed with rope pulls, Pullman arm-rests to front and rear compartments, pockets to the front doors, and front sun visor. Fittings were to be untarnishable, the glass being Triplex all over. It was also requested that private locks be fitted to the nearside door handles, and traffic indicators be set into the centre pillars.

This Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp 1936 was completed to its ordered specifications, but when the finished car was delivered to the Windovers showroom at Conduit Street, London in mid-May, the order was cancelled and the car reverted to stock. If I understand my grandfather’s mind well, this is what apparently happened. Maharaja Vijaysinhji had already ordered from Windovers on 18th October 1935 the fabulous V-12 Phantom III, just after Rolls-Royce had been announced its launch. My grandfather already had a 1934 20/25 hp tourer in India, hence decided not to take delivery of the GBK 42, and instead looked forward to the Phantom III.

The 20/25 hp, bearing registration no. CFX 325, was then bought by R.J Mackenzie of Elgin, Scotland, eleven days later. It was further restored by the Holton family in Northamptonshire. The car's history is charted through the Rolls-Royce records, becoming the property of Robert McGlone of Hendon in 1945, on to Herbert Baber of Bringsty, Worcestershire in 1958, changing hands just twice more before acquisition by a collector in 1980.

A ground-up restoration was undertaken and the car was repainted in cream and brown livery which complements its coach-lines wonderfully, and re-upholstered by Chisholm (Trimming) Limited, giving it a black leather and fawn cloth interior. In addition to the original detailed specifications, the well-appointed rear compartment then featured smokers'-companions, and sliding mirror panels in the quarter lights. The car by auctioned at Christie’s in the year 2000.

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