1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30 Windovers Limousine
Believed ex-Scottish Motor Show car; matching numbers; original Windovers coachwork; last driven 50 years ago; barn find in need of full restoration or good basis for a special, perhaps?
The policy of selling ‘chassis only’ cars meant that Rolls-Royce had little control over the bodies fitted to their exquisitely engineered cars, leaving the choice of coachbuilder to an increasingly affluent (and ostentatious) client base. It became a constant battle to keep up with the soaring weight of ever-more opulent body styles, a problem only solved through designing more powerful engines and revised gear ratios.
It was for this very reason that the delightful and delicate Rolls-Royce Twenty was succeeded in 1929 by the altogether more robust 20/25. Sharing many components with the similarly-sized Bentley 3.5-litre, it too was further upgraded in 1936 when the capacity of the engine was increased to 4,257cc and renamed the 25/30.
The new 25/30 was fitted with synchromesh on third and top and powerful mechanical servo brakes produced under license from Hispano-Suiza. Contemporary road tests commented on the exquisite precision of all the controls, the entire absence of mechanical noise and the uncanny smoothness of the ride - one saying that the car behaved so beautifully that it was difficult to drive badly.
This particular Rolls-Royce 25/30 (chassis number GMP 65) wears formal limousine-with-division coachwork by Windovers of London (body number 6057). Of the 1,201 25/30s built in total, 69 had Windovers coachwork and it is believed that this very car was exhibited by them at the Scottish Motor Show and used as a demonstrator before being sold to first owner R Levin Esq in April 1938.
It was then owned by a lady who ran Smartwear Ltd, an upmarket fashion outlet on Oxford Street. A buff logbook shows five further owners in the Leeds/Halifax area between 1950 and 1967 when the car moved to Stafford where we are told that it was put to work as a taxi. An old tax disc shows that it was still on the road in 1968 although it seems that it was laid up shortly after this date and has not turned a wheel since.
We are told that the car was driven into storage and we have tried to turn the engine by hand but it appears stuck so it will need to be gently freed up with some diesel down the bores. The doors on the driver's side were up against the wall in storage and still open and close fairly easily but the doors on the passenger side do not close properly and the ash frame on that side seems to have suffered from being more exposed to the elements (see the last three 'as found' photos on our website). Despite liberal application of WD40 we have been unable to open the boot and don't want to force it so who knows what treasures may lurk within?
The steering has no play and the moment you turn the wheel the front wheels react accordingly. The aluminium Windovers coachwork appears largely sound and straight although the rear wings are only loosely attached to the frame. The keys are still present and the car rolls easily and the tyres hold air so loading it onto a trailer will be straightforward. If you are wondering whether it will fit in your garage, the dimensions are: 5.20m long (17' 1"); 1.75m wide (5' 7"); 1.85m high (6' 1").
Being offered here at a very modest guide price as a full-on restoration project (or the basis for a more glamorously-bodied special), this rare survivor appears to be complete and still retains its original body and engine (number D24E). Documentation includes the aforementioned buff logbook, an owner’s handbook, a service manual and a Castrol lubrication guide for Rolls-Royce models from 1928 – 1939.
We are grateful to Rolls-Royce historian Allan Fogg for his help in furnishing the early history of this car.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
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