Interesting tale of Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp 1936, chassis no. GBK 42, ordered by Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla

Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp 1936, chassis no. GBK42, Windovers Sedanca de Ville.

Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla ordered 20/25 hp chassis no. GBK 42 from the Rolls-Royce works in November 1935. The right-hand drive car has a straight-six, overhead valve 3699 cc engine; four speed manual gearbox with side change and synchromesh on top ratios; beam front suspension, live rear with semi-elliptic leaf springs at the front and rear; and four wheel mechanically-operated servo-assisted drum brakes.

It was sent to Windovers to be fitted with Sedanca de Ville coachwork to a design by Vanden Plas. The Windovers order noted the bodywork to have seating for 6 to 7 persons, facilitated by sideway type occasional seats, a one-piece opening windscreen, and the luggage accommodation merged into the coachwork. The interior was trimmed with rope pulls, Pullman arm-rests to front and rear compartments, pockets to the front doors, and front sun visor. Fittings were to be untarnishable, the glass Triplex throughout, and it was requested that private locks be fitted to the nearside door handles, and traffic indicators be set into the centre pillars.

Rolls-Royce Phantom III 1937, chassis no. 3BU198, Windovers Sedanca de Ville, that Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla bought subsequently.

The 20/25 hp Rolls-Royce Windovers Sedanca de Ville was completed exactly to its ordered specifications. And here came a twist to the story. By then the magnificent Rolls-Royce Phantom III had been launched, and when the Maharaja arrived in the UK for his summer sojourn, he tried it out. So impressed was the Indian ruler with the Phantom III, that when the elegantly finished 20/25 hp GBK 42 was delivered to Windovers’ Conduit Street showroom in mid-May 1936, the Maharaja did not take delivery. In any case, he already had a Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp 1934, chassis no. GMD 73, Windovers tourer in India. And so he bought Rolls-Royce Phantom III 1937, chassis no. 3BU 198, Windovers Sedanca de Ville, which was stationed at his estate The Manor in Old Windsor.

Meanwhile, the Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp GBK 42, bearing registration no. CFX 325, reverted to stock, and eleven days later was purchased by Mr. R.J. Mackenzie of Elgin, Scotland. The car’s history is charted through the Rolls-Royce records, becoming the property of Mr. Robert McGlone of Hendon in 1945, thereafter Mr. Herbert Baber of Bringsty, Worcestershire in 1958, and then by its buff log book, changing hands twice, before acquisition by the Exceptional Motor Cars & Automobilia collection in 1980.

They undertook a ground up restoration. The car was repainted in cream and brown livery which complemented its coachlines admirably, and re-upholstered with black leather and fawn cloth interior by Chisholm (Trimming) Limited. In addition to the original detailed specifications, the well-appointed rear compartment features smokers’ companions, and sliding mirror panels in the quarter lights. The exquisite car was used regularly.

In the year 2000, it was sold through Christie’s with paperwork and photographs, along with some correspondence. In 2009 it was believed to be owned by a Mr. Kanis in the United Kingdom.

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