1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Saloon

Rolls-Royce's 'small' car, known as the 20hp, was introduced in 1922 with a 3,127cc six-cylinder engine, as the post-World Way I recession intersected increasing labor and materials costs to price the venerable Silver Ghost out of the market. It foreshadowed many of the developments that would appear a few years later in the New Phantom, notably pushrod operated overhead valves, a one-piece cylinder block and open driveshaft. In 1929 a larger bore increased the engine size to 3,675cc in the 20/25. Major changes in crankshaft and flywheel design and increases in compression ratio made the 20/25 faster, capable of sustained continuous speeds of over 60mph, and smoother. Four-wheel brakes with Rolls-Royce's famed gearbox-driven servo were more than up to the engine's increased performance. Now with a taller radiator and vertical shutters, appearance was closer to the Phantom, making the 20/25 a pleasing alternative to the much larger and more expensive Phantom. Lighter weight and compact (by R-R standards) commended the 20/25 to owner-drivers who wanted more sporting driving but were unwilling to compromise Rolls-Royce luxury.

That is where this lovely 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Sports Saloon with coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly ticks all the boxes. Righthand drive, its Thrupp & Maberly coachwork tucks sleekly behind the 20/25's tall Rolls-Royce radiator and hood. The effect of the sweeping front fenders and attractively proportioned body are enhanced by the slightly raked stance and visually stretched by the bustle trunk and rear-mounted spare wheel and tire. Lucas King of the Road headlights flank the radiator and are supplemented by a single driving light. A large sliding panel sunroof and opening windshield enhance the sporting character of the driver's experience.

The body is painted a deep, rich green with black fenders and matching black wire wheels and blackwall tires. The interior is beautifully upholstered in deep green leather complemented by meticulously finished piano-black lacquered interior trim. The effect on the beautifully instrumented dashboard is dramatic. Although the driving position is on the right the gear change and hand brake are on the driver's right, making operation familiar to drivers accustomed to sitting on the left. Its restoration has been effected to high standards without detracting from this gorgeous 20/25's inherent practicality as a luxurious driver's car; this is a good, solid automobile that has been given exactly what it needs without going overboard, essentially replicating the way it would have been delivered to a discerning driver in 1934.

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