Paris

8 February 2017

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Lot 144

1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Three-Position Drophead Coupé by Barker

  • Chassis no. GTZ 48
  • Engine no. D2L

Sold for €140.000

Documents: UK V5


65 bhp, 3,669 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine with two-jet type carburettor with steering column control and automatic air valve, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel internal expanding servo-assisted brakes with independent handbrake on rear wheels. Wheelbase: 3,350 mm

  • Displayed by Barker at the 1933 Paris Salon de l’Automobile
  • Exceptional original interior
  • Complete with original hand and road tools
  • Maintained and recently serviced by marque experts P&A Wood


The Rolls-Royce 20 HP was produced in tandem with the venerable 40/50 HP Silver Ghost, from 1922 to 1929. As roads improved and motoring speeds increased, the charming “Baby Rolls” literally could not keep up. Rolls-Royce logically responded by re-working the fine little 20 horsepower engine, and in 1929, the 20/25 was launched. The result was such a success that it was also used in the newly acquired Bentley marque, in its 3½-Litre model, introduced in 1933. Every pre-war Rolls-Royce car was produced as a rolling chassis only, which was then sent to one of the many fine coachbuilders for a bespoke body.

One of the most popular bodies produced was the Three-Position Drophead Coupé, an extremely versatile and elegant design which offered its owner three delightful options: with roll-up windows and a closed top, it provides comfortable all-weather motoring as a true Coupé; in fair weather, the drivers’ compartment can be opened to the sky; and for a true open sporting experience, the entire hood will fold down to allow all four or five passengers fresh air and an unobstructed view. One of the great innovations of Barker’s design, as demonstrated by the example presented, was a subtle groove in the rear of the body, which allowed the hood to sit perfectly flush when completely dropped, unlike earlier Drophead Coupé designs.

Chassis number GTZ 48 was sent to Barker & Company, and original build records note that it was built specifically for the 1933 Paris Salon d l’Automobile to be displayed on their stand. Designed to be used after the Salon for driving in the United Kingdom and the Continent, custom features included 16-degree slanted and lengthened louvers, special locks, and hinge mouldings to be finished in “Polished Staybrite”. The iconic “Flying Lady” mascot was added to the build order, since it was not until after World War II that the mascot was included in the purchase price. After the Paris Salon, the first owner, Captain Purchas of Sussex, accepted delivery.

Apart from Rolls-Royce service records up to 1938, GTZ 48 next came to the attention of Jim Denne of West Hoathly Garage approximately 36 years ago when he discovered it still living in Sussex. Shortly after this time it was subject to a light and sympathetic restoration, retaining as many original parts and features as possible. Since this time, GTZ 48 has been enjoyed by three owners whilst being subject to a cosmetic restoration by P&A Wood to return it back to its original black, still retaining its beautifully original red leather interior. There are also several invoices on file for regular maintenance by P&A Wood, including a very recent service carried out at the end of 2016.

Owners of these delightful Rolls-Royce 20/25s soon discover they are charming to drive, easy to operate, and reliable performers, whilst relishing the same quality of construction and engineering as the larger Ghosts and Phantoms. GTZ 48 is without doubt a very important Rolls-Royce and one of the finest 20/25s in existence, a superb combination of elegance, originality, and design presented in wonderful condition.





Six-cylindres en ligne, 3 669 cm3, soupapes en tête, 65 ch, carburateur à deux gicleurs, contrôle de direction, transmission manuelle quatre rapports, suspension avant et arrière à ressorts semi-elliptiques à lames, freins à tambours avec assistance sur les quatre roues, frein à main sur les roues arrière. Empattement 3 350 mm.

• Exposée sur le stand Barker au Salon de Paris 1933
• Intérieur d'origine exceptionnel
• Complète, avec outils et cric d'origine
• Entretenue et révisée récemment par le spécialiste de la marque P&A Wood

De 1922 à 1929, la Rolls-Royce 20 HP était produite parallèlement à la vénérable 40/50 HP Silver Ghost. Avec l'amélioration des routes et l'augmentation de la vitesse, la charmante "Baby Rolls" n'était plus à la hauteur. En toute logique, Rolls-Royce étudiait une nouvelle version de l'excellent moteur 20 HP et, en 1929, dévoilait la 20/25 HP. Cette nouvelle voiture rencontrait un tel succès qu'elle était déclinée aussi dans la gamme Bentley nouvellement acquise, sous la forme du modèle 3,5 litres présenté en 1933. Toutes les Rolls-Royce d'avant-guerre étaient produites sous forme de châssis roulant, confié ensuite aux meilleurs carrossiers pour recevoir un habillage sur mesure.

Une des carrosseries les plus appréciées était le Cabriolet trois positions ("Three-Position Drophead Coupé"), une version très élégante et polyvalente permettant trois configurations : capote fermée et vitres remontées, c'est un confortable coupé mettant les occupants à l'abri des éléments ; par beau temps, le compartiment conducteur peut être découvert ; et pour que les passagers connaissent le plaisir d'une conduite cheveux au vent avec une visibilité totalement dégagée, alors la capote peut être complètement repliée. Une des principales innovations du système Barker, comme le montre l'exemplaire présenté, est un décrochement subtil à l'arrière de la voiture, ce qui permet à la capote de ne pas dépasser lorsqu'elle est escamotée, contrairement aux versions précédentes.

Le châssis n°GTZ 48 était envoyé à Barker & Company, et les notes de fabrications d'origine précisent que la voiture a été produite spécialement pour être exposée sur le stand du carrossier, au Salon de l'automobile de Paris 1933. Conçue pour être ensuite utilisée en Angleterre et sur le continent, elle comporte des louvres de capot allongées et inclinées à 16°, des serrures spéciales et des charnières avec finition "Polished Staybrite". La mascotte "Flying Lady" était mentionnée sur la commande de fabrication, car ce n'est qu'après la deuxième Guerre Mondiale qu'elle sera incluse au prix de vente. Après le Salon, le premier propriétaire, le capitaine Purchas, du Sussex, en prenait livraison.

Les documents d'entretien Rolls-Royce existent jusqu'en 1938 et, il y a environ 36 ans, GTZ 48 attirait l'attention de Jim Denne, de West Hoathly Garage quand il en découvrait l'existence dans le Sussex. Peu de temps après, la voiture faisait l'objet d'une restauration légère, en conservant le plus possible de pièces et équipements d'origine. Depuis cette époque, elle a connu trois propriétaires tout en bénéficiant d'une restauration cosmétique par P&A Wood qui lui rendait sa teinte noire tout en conservant sa sellerie en cuir rouge d'origine. De nombreuses factures d'entretien par P&A Wood sont jointes au dossier, dont une concernant une révision récente, réalisée à la fin 2016.

Les propriétaires de ces charmantes Rolls-Royce 20/25 découvrent rapidement qu'elles sont agréables à conduire, facile à manœuvrer et fiables, tout en présentant la même qualité de fabrication que les plus grosses Ghost et Phantom. GTZ 48 est sans aucun doute une Rolls-Royce très importante et une des meilleures 20/25 en existence car elle offre une superbe combinaison d'élégance, d'authenticité et de forme, le tout dans un état magnifique.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

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Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

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Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

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