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Car Tales: Royalty Of The Road, Rolls-Royce Corniche III

A most eloquent and elegant pre-World War 2 motor-car indeed is the Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sedanca DeVille, which became the best-selling inter-war Rolls-Royce model.
The Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sedanca DeVille was the successor to the Rolls-Royce Twenty.
1936 Rolls-Royce 20:25 Sedanca DeVille By Park Ward for sale
In a contemporary review Autocar magazine observed that the 20/25 possessed ‘great refinement of power, and a gentleness and quietness in doing its work, which makes results deceptive.’ The car’s performance results, by the same publication in June 1935, were found to be a top timed speed of 76.25 mph, and a 0-60 mph time of 31.4 seconds.
Until its arrival in 1929 a gloomy fiscal future had been forecast for Rolls-Royce. But the Rolls-Royce 20/25’s financial triumph enabled the firm to survive the economic difficulties of the Great Depression years and remain one of the world’s great brands.
1936 Rolls-Royce 20:25 Sedanca DeVille By Park Ward side view
The 20/25 was powered by an in-line six-cylinder engine that put out 3,669 cc and it had a 4-speed manual gearbox.
It was upgraded on a yearly basis by Rolls-Royce with new technical enhancements being introduced until 1936 (that year’s enhancements were a Borg & Beck clutch, a Hypoid rear axle, and Marles cam and roller steering) when it was replaced by the 25/30. The model was also built in numerous body styles including a Fixedhead Coupe, Drophead Coupe, Limousine, Saloon, and Sedanca de Ville. A total of 3,827 examples were produced and 70 per cent of them still grace the road to this day.
The 20/25 was the successor to the highly successful 20 hp Rolls-Royce Twenty, which had been introduced in 1922. The target market for the 20/25 was the same as the Twenty – the luxury, owner driver market. The project to develop the next generation 20 hp was codenamed Goshawk. The goal for the new model was to increase power and performance. This was achieved by increasing the bore size from 3 to 3.25 inches. The stroke was unchanged at 4.5 inches. This resulted in a 17 per cent increase in capacity from 3128 to 3675cc – bring the RAC rating up to 25.4 hp.
At the moment we have one at Beverly Hills Car Club, a Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sedanca DeVille. The source of its name? A sedanca de ville – or coupe de ville – is a car body style produced from 1908-39 with an external or open-topped driver’s position and an enclosed passengers compartment.
1936 Rolls-Royce 20:25 Sedanca DeVille By Park Ward rear view
There is also a suggestion that it derives from a twist on that of a Spanish count and Rolls-Royce distributor, Carlos de Salamanca. Carlos de Salamanca had been the last Spaniard to win the Spanish Grand Prix, driving a Rolls-Royce at Guadarrama, outside Madrid, in 1913 – the very first year the event was held.
1936 Rolls-Royce 20:25 Sedanca DeVille By Park Ward interior
The one we have right now is from the very last year of manufacture, a prestigious right-hand-drive 1936 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sedanca DeVille.
In this case it is couch-built by by Park Ward and finished in a color combination of grey over a light grey interior.
This four-door saloon comes equipped with a four-speed manual transmission, single exhaust outlet, Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, body-color hardtop, four-spoke steering wheel, Lucas single headlamp, four-spoke steering wheel, badge bar, bonnet louvers, chrome bumpers, interior wood trim, trafficators, wire wheels with Firestone whitewall tires, Rolls-Royce branded wheel center caps, and a full-size spare tire mounted on the fender. Amenities include manual-crank windows, fender-mounted side mirrors, glove compartment, dash-mounted rearview mirror, analog clock, door pockets, and a very comfortable rear bench seat.
This gorgeous example also comes with flag poles atop each front fender which leads to the belief this car was used for service during World War II. In addition to the equipment, this British classic comes with copies of history documentation and also service receipt copies totaling over $14,000 that have been invested into the vehicle. This is an extremely presentable and opulent inter-war Rolls Royce that is mechanically sound.
The new 20/25 model debuted at the 1929 Olympia Motor Show and proved to be tremendously popular, becoming the greatest of the inter-war successes.
Ultimately the 20/25 model was replaced by the 25/30 model in 1936 with the bore further increased to 3.5 inches.
1936 Rolls-Royce 20:25 Sedanca DeVille By Park Ward engine
In 1938 the 25/30 was given a new chassis with independent front suspension and was renamed the Wraith.
But the Rolls-Royce 20/25 was an utter dream to drive, a stunning delight to sit in and steer. The undulating lanes of Sussex or Surrey would whisk along in a heavenly manner.
And you were in an age of unadorned, uncomplicated luxury.
-Alex Manos, Owner
1936 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sedanca DeVille Buyer Alex Manos

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