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Car Tales: Yonder Lies The Gurney Nutting Of Tony Curtis! The Great Actor's 1933 Rolls-Royce

‘Yonder lies the castle of my faddah!’ is a line often attributed, with an inevitable snigger, to the Bronx-born actor Tony Curtis; an early film of his, Son of Ali Baba, is claimed as the source. Except that he never said it. What he in fact says is: ‘This is my father’s palace. And yonder lies the Valley of the Sun.’
1933 Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe for sale
‘But in real life he did say plenty of interesting things, some flippant and glib, some deep and profound.
‘Famously, early in his life – and hers – he had that 1948 affair with Marilyn Monroe: ‘Someone said to me, “Hey, what’s it like kissing Marilyn Monroe?” I said, “It’s like kissing Hitler. What are you doing asking me such a stupid question?’
1933 Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe-side view
‘But he did once sum up Marilyn in a most heartfelt way: ‘Marilyn Monroe wasn’t the brightest person in the world – that didn’t make a difference one way or the other – but she was giving and kind. And that’s what got her in trouble. She was so giving and kind to all of these people she met that she found herself doing these things that she didn’t want to do.’
‘And then he could come out with absolute crackers stuff: ‘I wouldn’t be caught dead marrying a woman old enough to be my wife,’ said the five times divorced, six times married Curtis. And: ‘I got a lot of girls while I was at the peak. If I didn’t get them, I got their stand-ins,’ said this very funny man.
‘But he would also declare: ‘We’re all brought up in a world that isn’t the best place for us to be in once in a while. There are so many problems and we try to overcome them all.’ And – and this is what we’re getting to: ‘I guess I’ve still got some of that old live-it-up left in me. I’m buying a Rolls Royce convertible. Going the whole route, you might say.’
‘And guess what? At Beverly Hills Car Club We have that Rolls-Royce convertible once owned by Tony Curtis. And not just any old run-of-the-mill Rolls-Royce, a 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25HP Owen Sedanca Three-Position Drophead Coupe. The coachwork is by Gurney Nutting, one of the most elegant coachwork designs for the 20/25 chassis. The car comes in British Racing Green with a beautiful sand beige interior, manual transmission, wood trim, soft top, wire wheels, and whitewall tires. And it still retains its matching-numbers engine.
‘The Gurney Nutting bodywork is one of the most elegant and admired coachwork designs on the 20/25 chassis.
‘The Rolls-Royce 20/25 was introduced in 1929. Fitted with a 3.7L straight six engine, the 20/25 was sold as a rolling chassis by Rolls-Royce, with bodies offered by a range of coachbuilders. The Rolls-Royce 20/25 was in production until 1936.
1933 Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe interior
‘The 20/25 model was introduced to meet requests for a smaller, less expensive car in keeping with the trend after the First World War towards smaller cars for a wider market. Construction was simplified – but standards of workmanship were not compromised.
‘The Rolls-Royce 20/25hp was, of course, an exclusively coachbuilt automobile, and most of the great British coachbuilding firms offered designs, many of them unique, on the 20/25hp chassis. Some of the most widely admired was the work of J Gurney Nutting, a company associated with quality marques – Bentley in particular – from its earliest days and a supreme practitioner of the coachbuilding craft.
‘Founded in Croydon, Surrey in 1919, Gurney Nutting had bodied its first Bentley before moving to London’s fashionable Chelsea district in 1924, and within a few years was established as the Cricklewood firm’s foremost supplier of bodies after Vanden Plas.
‘Gurney Nutting’s work had a sporting flavor from the outset and succeeded in attracting the attention of society’s upper echelons; the Prince of Wales and Duke of York were clients, and the firm gained its Royal Warrant in the early 1930s. Daimler and Rolls-Royce had been added to their portfolio in the mid-1920s, and the fruitful association with the latter continued into the next decade.
1933 Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe engine
‘By general consent, Gurney Nutting’s stunning drophead coupés – developed for fashionable retailers, H R Owen – are among the most handsome and best proportioned ever to grace the Rolls-Royce 20/25 chassis.
‘My life is very full,’ said Tony Curtis, our Rolls-Royce 20/25’s former owner, three years before he passed on. ‘My wife makes it so. I’m 82 years old and I’m having the best time I’ve ever had in my life. I want to share that with all of you. Find a way to do that, find a way to be at peace with yourself, to enjoy the little things in life. Make them your own.’
‘With a Rolls-Royce 20/25.
-Alex Manos, Owner
1933 Rolls Royce Buyer Alex Manos

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