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1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25 'Dreadnought Special' by Bespoke Bodyworks

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom

6 November 2021


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Chassis No.
Engine No.
GNS39
Y6J
  • One-off, coach-built, Bentley-style “Dreadnought Special” eligible for VSCC events
  • 3.8-litre six-cylinder Rolls-Royce engine with a Godfrey Marshall K300 blower is said to produce 190 bhp and 350 ft.lb of torque
  • Uprated engine features billet camshaft, forged pistons, lightweight flywheel and a polished alloy head
  • Gearbox modified to include an AP Racing clutch and Laycock overdrive
  • Presented with historic registration documents, a copy of the original purchase order from Rolls-Royce, 1970s drawings for a replacement body, and folders of restoration photographs

Rolls-Royce introduced the 20/25 in 1929 and manufactured an estimated 3,827 rolling chassis over an eight-year production run. With buyers free to choose their coachbuilder and body style, the model was bodied by a variety of outlets, including Park Ward, Hooper, Van Den Plas, and H. J. Mulliner. Few have ended up in such a unique configuration as this “Dreadnought Special.”

This car—chassis number GNS 39—is believed to be one of 81 made between 1930 and 1931 with the “GNS” chassis number prefix. In its earliest form, the car was a rare example, having been bodied by H. J. Mulliner as a Two Seater Tourer. First registered for the road on 3 March 1931, the car’s first owner, Vincent Hemery Esq., took delivery two weeks later. In 1966, it was photographed still fitted with its original body.

The car was purchased as a rolling chassis with engine and gearbox on 4 June 2014 by the current owner, with the intention of creating a one-off special. It now features an alloy Brooklands Bentley-style race body, hand-formed over an English ash frame by Bespoke Bodywork of Church Crookham, England. The chassis was shortened to accept the new body and the suspension received stiffer cord-wrapped springs, while the wheels are clad in Blockley road-legal competition tyres. The “Dreadnought Special” is brought to a stop by its Afin brakes with competition linings.

The original engine was bored out to 3.8-litres, fitted with a billet camshaft, forged pistons, alloy cylinder head and lightweight flywheel. Breathing through a Godfrey Marshall K300 blower, the “Dreadnought Special” is claimed to produce 190 bhp and 350 ft.lb of torque. The Rolls-Royce gearbox was stripped down, receiving new SKF bearings, an AP Racing clutch and a Laycock overdrive.

The cabin is upholstered in red leather and features a leather cord-bound steering wheel and twin Brooklands aero screens. The Bentley-style bodywork is finished in a dark green hue, with a single-wrapped exhaust pipe affixed to the left side of the body. “Dreadnought” in white lettering sits boldly on either side of the bonnet, indicating the competitive nature of this VSCC-eligible special.

This one-off Bentley-style special is a hallmark of British craftsmanship and has been modified with no expense spared. The “Dreadnought” is offered with paperwork that includes a copy of the original purchase order from Rolls-Royce, historic registration documents, 1970s drawings for a replacement body, invoices, and folders of restoration photographs.

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