1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Owen Sedanca
Coachwork by Gurney Nutting, Sold for £69,000 against an estimate of £50,000 - £60,000
One of just 22 Rolls-Royce 20/25 chassis to be fitted with the highly desirable Owen Sedanca coachwork, this graceful car attracted commissions from the likes of King George V’s three sons and Prince Ali Khan, the husband of film star Rita Hayworth. And on October 6th 2021 almost 90 years later it still attracted international interest, selling at Buxton with H&H Classics for £69,000, the top item in the auction that achieved a more than 70% sell rate.
Damian Jones of H&H Classics says: “This was a rare opportunity to acquire one of the most sought-after pre-WW2 ‘small’ Rolls-Royces ever made. It was offered for sale with V5 Registration Document, copy RREC build records and lots of invoices for servicing and some repair work, so despite tired cosmetics it was no surprise that it did do well.”
The London coachbuilder J. Gurney Nutting & Co Ltd’s luring of designer A.F. McNeil away from the shipbuilder Cunard was instrumental in it being appointed ‘Motor Body Builders to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’ during 1931.
Possessed of a fabulous sense of proportion and a real eye for detail, McNeil penned some of the 1930s most elegant coachwork for Rolls-Royce, Bentley and even Duesenberg chassis. Reputedly built to the specifications of London Rolls-Royce dealer Captain H.R. Owen, his so-called ‘Owen Sedanca’ design for the Rolls-Royce 20/25 chassis was a case in point. One of just twenty-two Rolls-Royce 20/25s to be clothed with Gurney Nutting’s highly prized Owen Sedanca coachwork, chassis GLZ61 was supplied new to Mrs G. Hamilton for touring usage.
Little is known of the Three-Position Drophead Coupe’s subsequent history before its re-emergence in Louisiana during the 1980s. Repatriated by Martin Sargeant of the renowned marque specialist Sargeants of Goudhurst, the 20/25 has been in the current ownership since August 1994. Looked after by Martin and then his sons until the company that bore their name stopped trading, the Rolls-Royce is said to ‘run and drive very well’.
Recently recommissioned after five years’ dry storage including the fitment of a reconditioned cylinder head (new valves, springs, seals and guides etc), ‘AUV 980’ is described thus by the seller: ‘The car “scrubs up well” but would benefit from remedial renovation work.
Our next classic motorcar sale will be held at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford on the 17th November. Click here to consign.