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Prewar Rolls-Royce Guide

Published: 22nd Apr 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Prewar Rolls-Royce Guide
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David Burgess-Wise Guide to Prewar Rolls-Royce Motorcars

For over a century, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars have been famed as “the best cars in the world”. Prewar examples represent the ultimate in luxury motoring of their day, combining well-proven chassis with fine custom coachwork. However, prices have hardened in recent years, and long gone are the days when you could pick up a tired Rolls-Royce for a couple of hundred pounds – the rarest of them sell for millions. But there are still relatively affordable prewar Rolls-Royces and, with support from an excellent club and specialist dealers, ownership of an early Rolls-Royce can be a classic car experience to savour.

While the prices quoted are for standard cars, Rolls-Royces with exceptional history or coachwork can sell for considerably more; consult an expert if you are unsure.

EARLY DAYS 1904-06

Before he met the Hon Charles Rolls and formed a partnership that became a byword for excellence, Henry Royce built three Royce cars with twin-cylinder 1.8-litre engines. Only an engine and gearbox survive. Broadly similar, but with the earliest design of the famous “Parthenon” radiator, Rolls-Royce produced 17 1.8-litre 10-hp two-cylinder cars between 1904-06; three survive. The only 1904 example among them sold for a cool £3.5 million back in 2007.

Rolls-Royce also built six 15-hp 3-litre three-cylinder cars (one survives); 37 20-hp 4-litre four-cylinder cars (three survive), 40 6-litre 30-hp six-cylinder cars (one survives) and three 3.5-litre 20-hp V8-engined cars, of which there are no known survivors. All eight surviving “pre-Ghost” Rolls-Royces command huge prices when they rarely come on the market. Here’s what’s around and what you’d expect to pay for an old gold Rolls.

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