Over the past eight decades the 20/25HP Rolls-Royce has earned an enviable reputation of being among the most dependable, satisfying and highest-quality pre-war models of all. Produced from 1929 to 1935, it represented the Marque’s determined effort to move away from massive formal cars, routinely chauffeur-driven, to the newly-fashionable owner-driver market for the wealthy private owner-driver.
Of course it embodied Crewe’s routine programme of continuous mechanical development and improvement throughout its run, but the fundamentals of its superbly-crafted three and a half litre straight six driving through a four speed gearbox of amazing refinement remained the same.
By the late 1920s the trend for ever-heavier coachwork on the Rolls-Royce 20 HP had inevitably had a detrimental effect on performance. Rolls-Royce’s solution was to increase the comparatively small six cylinder engine’s capacity from just over three litres to 3,699cc which, together with a stronger crankshaft allowing increased rpm, raised its output to 25hp.
As with the 20 HP, the 20/25 was warmly received and proved immensely popular, soon more than doubling sales of the big Phantom II. Various detail improvements were made to the 20/25 during its seven year production life including rises in compression ratio in 1930 and 1932; the latter year also saw the introduction of synchromesh for the third and fourth gear ratios, thermostatically controlled radiator grille shutters, a one-shot centralised lubrication system and an electric fuel gauge.
The lovely 20/25 offered here, finished in two tone Black over Grey, was delivered new in September of 1934 to Hooper of Park Royal in London, where it was fitted with Sports Saloon bodywork and despatched to dealer Hemslow Limited of Leicester. The Hooper spent the first 30 years of its life in the Cambridgeshire area before being purchased by our vendor in 1967.
Now forming part of a small Rolls-Royce collection, the 20/25 has been maintained well over the years, and used for weekend drives and the occasional wedding duty.
In private ownership for over 50 years and offered with an original buff log book, this is a very original example of this delightfully proportioned Sports Saloon.