Consistent with its longstanding policy for careful evolution over revolution, Rolls-Royce introduced the 25/30 in 1936. Derived from the 20/25, the improved new 25/30 chassis and enlarged 4.25-litre engine fulfilled the needs of Rolls-Royce clients demanding heavier and more luxurious coachwork. As a somewhat smaller companion model to the large, V-12 Phantom III, the 25/30 featured a generous 132-inch wheelbase chassis, ideal for the elite carriage trade. According to Rolls-Royce experts, just 1,201 examples of the 25/30 chassis were produced from 1936 to 1938, when the larger Wraith arrived as its replacement.
While a variety of British custom coachbuilders designed and built bespoke bodies for the 25/30, including Hooper, Arthur Mulliner, Park Ward, and Thrupp & Maberly, quite likely the most successful of all was the dashing Razor Edge Saloon body style by H.J. Mulliner. Exuding a decided Grand Touring character with its long hood, close-coupled passenger compartment, blind rear quarters, and integral luggage trunk, this sporting body design was clearly tailored to the wealthy owner/driver of the immediate prewar era. Usability was excellent, with its maker’s signature thin windscreen pillars yielding excellent visibility.
Bearing Chassis Number GWN70, this extensively restored and beautifully presented 1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30 is simply a wonderful example throughout, featuring handsome and sporting Razor Edge Saloon coachwork by the masters at H.J. Mulliner. Citing extensive records and conversations with the prior long-term owner, a noted Rolls-Royce expert, collector, and specialty book publisher advised that GWN70 was directly sold by Rolls-Royce to its first owner, Victor Jobson, Esq., of Derby, England. A successful business executive, Mr. Jobson served during the 1930s as chairman and managing director of Qualcast, Ltd. Of Derby, a long-running maker of grass mowers, and he was also chairman of Aga Heat, Ltd., makers of the enameled kitchen stoves beloved by many British cooks. Clearly a valued Rolls-Royce client, he was provided the use of a car from Rolls-Royce while H.J. Mulliner body number 4315 was switched from Jobson’s existing 25/30, chassis GUL17, to GWN70, the example offered here.
According to documented history, Mr. Jobson traded GWN70 for a new Phantom III in 1937 and the 25/30 would pass through several more owners until 1969, when it was purchased in April 1969 by a passionate American collector and enthusiast through an agent from London Rolls-Royce dealer Adams & Oliver. Shipment to Chicago was arranged, but delays associated with a dockworkers’ strike prompted re-routing to Detroit, where the new owner flew to receive the 32-year-old car. While dirty from the long voyage, it was found to have been undamaged and fully intact, down to its Rolls-Royce chassis plate, factory tags, and coachbuilder’s nameplate. Since the car had been driven to the London docks for shipment on July 3, 1969, the new owner elected to drive it back home to Chicago, with the venerable 25/30 completing the considerable journey without issue.
A long-term restoration commenced soon after the car was received, with cost virtually no object and exhaustively documented by a wealth of invoices, receipts, and correspondence. Beginning with the restoration of the body framing using White Ash, the vehicle’s sheet metal was fastidiously straightened and refinished with a welcome color change from the somber original black to the present and complementary bright silver. Mechanical systems were restored, including the matching-numbers 4.25-litre engine, gearbox, running gear, and brakes. The luxurious interior was completely restored – of course using new top-quality leather upholstery, carpets, and a new fabric headliner – all to the original shade of red. Interior woodwork was refinished, a new dashboard was installed, and additional restoration highlights included fitment of all new windows using laminated safety glass, re-chromed brightwork, full restoration of the boot compartment, and installation of new tires. In 2012, when the restoration work was complete, invoices confirmed a total investment in excess of $300,000.
Accompanying this fully restored and crisply presented 1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30 H.J. Mulliner Saloon are boxes of documents, including correspondence, invoices, and historical/ownership paperwork including build sheets. Clearly the product of a passionate, knowledgeable enthusiast, this lovely 1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30 is noted to run and drive as it should with a sweet-sounding engine and excellent presentation throughout. While certainly worthy of the show field, it truly begs to be toured on the open road as originally intended. Representing a labor of love under the prior owner from 1969 to 2021, GWN70 is a CCCA Full Classic® automobile that will surely provide a most welcome entry into a multitude of classic car events, from CCCA and RROC shows to many enjoyable touring events as desired.
Offers welcome and trades considered