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Bonhams Auction

‘Sold to the man at the back’

Peabody was sold to its second owner in 2004, advertised in the Bonhams auction pamphlet with the following description:

16 Jul 2004 14:30 BST

LOT 250. One family ownership from new 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp Limousine. Coachwork by Windovers Ltd. Registration no. AXE 275, Chassis no. GHA16, Engine no. S3X.

Developed from the 20hp Rolls-Royce, Rolls-Royce’s 20/25hp model announced in 1929 vied in the smartest London showrooms with the likes of Daimlers’ Double Six, Lanchester’s 21hp and Sunbeam’s 20.9hp. Each marque had their own brand loyalties but none more so than Rolls-Royce whose after-sales service and dealer network were second to none. The move from the one model policy of the Silver Ghost to providing two different size models had broadened Rolls-Royce’s marketplace and the 20/25hp certainly found an enthusiastic market, some 3,827 examples leaving the production lines between 1929 and 1936.

GHA16 came off test with Rolls-Royce on 18th November 1933 and was supplied new in 1934 to a Mr Noel Wilkin who selected Windovers as his favoured coachbuilder. Mr Wilkins’ son, the present owner, recalls being taken by his parents to Windovers factory to see the light limousine coachwork being built and was no doubt impressed by the fact that Windovers were not only coachbuilders to his father but also were By Appointment to His Majesty The King and to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

Remarkably this car comes with bills from Rolls-Royce dating back to 1935 and more bills from the 1950’s. The vendor tells us that GHA16 was laid up during the war, later continuing in family service “frequently loaded up to the gunwales with dogs, cats, canaries and bric-a-brac”. The family car was laid-up again in the 1960’s and not used at all until 1991 when the present owner, (who learnt to drive in the car), licenced it again and has kept it in running order since.

The car is presented in mist green livery with leather upholstery to the front and cloth to the rear which is furnished with two fold-away occasional seats. Condition of chassis and engine is described as very good, coachwork as good and the paint and interior as being fair.

Rarely does one find effectively a one-owner car for seventy years and this example is offered with a Swansea V5 registration document, current licence and MoT certificate.