A Passion for Elegance | Lot 108
1929 Rolls-Royce 20 HP 'Prince of Wales' Three-Position Cabriolet by Barker
CHF126,500 | Sold
| Eschen, Liechtenstein
19 June 2021
- Handsome Barker coachwork of the same design supplied to the Prince of Wales
- Well-maintained older restoration in attractive livery
- Interesting known history
- Accompanied by copies of its build documentation
The renowned London firm of Barker & Co. was a longtime holder of Royal Warrants for coachwork, including that to supply bodies to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor. Among the Barker creations owned by the Prince of Wales was a Rolls-Royce 20 HP, the company’s inaugural “small” model, outfitted with distinctive and handsome four-door Cabriolet coachwork. Such was the appeal of this design that examples were also produced on other chassis, including that offered here, number GFN35, ordered by Herbert B. Ewart, Esq., of Eaton Square in London. The guarantee was issued to Mr. Ewart on 4 April 1929.
Rolls-Royce build documents, copies of which are on file, note that the right-hand drive car was supplied with full nickel fittings, a luggage rack, speaking tube, interior electric lights, polished instrument panel, and a division glass. The Lucas headlamps were equipped with Barker’s patented dipping system, allowing them to be lowered so as not to blind oncoming traffic. Full Triplex glass was provided all around, including to the division glass that overlooked a removable occasional seat.
In 1971 the 20 HP was noted by the Rolls-Royce Foundation as being in the ownership of R.J. Brooks of Osborne House in Church Hanborough, Oxfordshire. This was in fact Edmunds John Brooks, who in 1973 towed the Rolls-Royce with his Triumph TR6(!) to Wilkinsons of Derby, who completed a full rebuild over the next two years. Unfortunately, Mr. Brooks passed away in 1974; his widow, the future Elizabeth Scott, inherited the car. Several other owners followed, including G.A. Boella of Southampton, Andrew C. Booth of Salisbury, and, finally, Joe Maxwell, who acquired the car in 1992 and owned it for many years. Subsequent cosmetic improvements included a new hood, including woodwork, by Swiss craftsmen in 2011-2012.
While the original cosmetic restoration and later improvements have largely held up well, with some cracking noted, chassis number GFN35 remains satisfyingly very original in its “bones.” Indeed, both the original body number and the chassis number are stamped into the structural woodwork, and the automobile retains its original engine. Appearing very regal in its Coach Green and Masons Black, it is accompanied by the aforementioned build documentation, correspondence from later owners, former British registration documents, and a FIVA Identity Card. Three pieces of fitted luggage are tucked into the boot.
This is an unusually well-prepared and nicely kept 20 HP, deserving of the keen eye of another devoted Rolls-Royce historian.