The Rolls-Royce Twenty served as the smaller companion to the flagship Silver Ghost and Phantom models. Just under 3,000 units were built between 1922 and 1929, each sold as rolling chassis and delivered to independent coachbuilders. With the 20 HP being smaller and lighter than its flagship siblings, many buyers selected sporting coachwork suited to the owner-driver. The overwhelming majority of production went to traditional British coachbuilders like Hooper, Park Ward, Barker, and the like. But a tiny handful of chassis did go outside of England for their coachwork, including our featured example, which received its unique and attractive body from Seegers et Sohn in Leipzig, Germany.
Rolls-Royce factory records show that chassis GAJ37 was sold new in Germany and finished by Seegers et Sohn of Leipzig with what was described as a “sporting” cabriolet body. While this coachbuilder is not widely known today, they created a small number of exclusive, high-quality bodies on prestigious chassis including Horch and at least one other Rolls-Royce. The body on GAJ37 is beautifully constructed, with well-judged proportions and many intriguing details. The deeply skirted front wings and integrated trunk pair with a low roofline for a distinctly sporting profile. Accompanying documents list the original owner as a Mr. Otto Schindler, also of Leipzig, who took delivery on October 9, 1928. During World War II, GAJ37 remained in Germany, eventually making its way to Hamburg. In the years immediately after the war, it was used by several British military officers before being acquired by a dealer from Wisconsin. Once Stateside, the car was sold to Mr. Frederick Hart, a well-known enthusiast of early Rolls-Royce motorcars based in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
In 1963, GAJ37 passed to another family of passionate Roll-Royce collectors, Mr. Charles Nagler and his son Todd. Photos from around the time they discovered the car show it was a complete and intact original car, needing some restoration work. They began researching this unique Rolls-Royce’s history, which included contacting the library in Leipzig, a former employee of Seegers et Sohn, and past British owners. Armed with as much information as possible, the Naglers set to work restoring the car, sourcing new-old-stock parts wherever possible.
In the years after its high-level restoration, the Naglers continued to improve and maintain the Rolls-Royce 20HP in excellent condition. It was a cherished part of their collection for 57 years and earned numerous accolades, including Senior Awards with both the CCCA and AACA. The Naglers continually strove to keep the car in top condition, fitting a full stainless steel exhaust system in the late 70s, new interior upholstery in 1985, and a new Frank Cooke-built cylinder head in 1986. Charles and Todd thoroughly enjoyed the 20 HP over the years, racking up thousands of miles while attending events and participating in many RROC tours and gatherings, Time and again, GAJ37 proved to be a reliable and entertaining tour car.
This unique Rolls-Royce is now available after nearly six decades in the care of the same family. Its handsome original coachwork remains in excellent condition with a charming, mild patina that belies the restoration’s age. The cabin is similarly well-preserved with oxblood red leather covering the seats and panels, presented in good condition with an honest character that invites enthusiastic use. The woodwork is in fine order, and the dash houses original-type instrumentation and switchgear. Beneath the alloy bonnet, the six-cylinder, overhead-valve engine is in very good order, showing signs of use and regular care. It is quite tidy and clean and runs well thanks to years of attentive, expert maintenance and use.
Sporting stylish one-off coachwork and a marvelous, well-matured restoration, this unique Rolls-Royce will surely delight its next long-term caretaker in a variety of ways - and will undoubtedly be an enjoyable companion on the open road.
Offers welcome and trades considered