Fiennes Restoration at Villa d’Este

Only UK pre-war entry: 10,000+ hours of restoration on show at Concorso d’Eleganza

Fiennes Restoration, the oldest pre-war Rolls-Royce and Bentley restoration specialist in the UK, took the result of its most majestic project, a unique 1932 Rolls-Royce 20/25 drophead coupé, to Villa d’Este for the event’s Concorso d’Eleganza on 21-22 May.

The only UK pre-war entrant at the most prestigious classic car Italian event, the Rolls-Royce 20/25 arrived after completing a twelve-year restoration project, during which more than 10,000 man-hours were spent to return the car to its original splendour.

Rescued from thirty-five years’ silence and anonymity, the Rolls-Royce which once belonged to HRH Field Marshal Shah Ali Wali Khan, Victor of Kabul (1888-1977), brother to King Shah Nader Khan of Afghanistan, Plenipotentiary Extraordinary to the Court of St James London, Paris, Berne, Warsaw and Rome, and then Prime Minister of Afghanistan, was found in barn-condition in the USA. Shipped back to the UK, Fiennes Restoration’s team used both traditional and modern skills at their disposal to repair, restore, renew a valuable piece of automotive history.

Some parts had to be remade, such as original interior detail, like trim and seats, had been damaged by a fire. Many details had to be recreated: door handles, seat-adjusters, seat-hinge mechanisms, external chrome body trims, but, wherever possible, the restoration route was preferred.

‘It has been a labour of love,’ muses Dr Fiennes PhD, Fiennes Restoration’s owner and managing director. ‘However, we were delighted to participate in such an illustrious event as Villa d’Este’s Concorso. We were in good company, with the 'Best of Show' cars from last year's Pebble Beach, yet the Rolls-Royce got a standing ovation after a terrific public introduction by Simon Kidston on both the private and public days.'

1932 Rolls-Royce 20/25 front three-quarters