Rolls-Royce 20/25 - GRW59

1932 Rolls-Royce 20/25 drophead coupé by Graber of Switzerland

Chassis Number: GRW59

Registration Number: FMO 731

GRW59 was despatched from the factory on the 21st December 1932 to be sent to coachbuilders Georges Gangloff, in Geneva. The completed car was first delivered to a Mr J Rubin of Geneva in March 1933. Joseph Rubin was an architect, garage owner and entrepreneur. He owned eight Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars between 1923 and 1938. Factory service records show GRW59 was returned to the Rolls-Royce service centre at Cricklewood, North London, on four occasions for servicing and general repairs.

In the August of 1937 GRW59 was re-bodied as a drophead coupé by Herman Graber of Wichtrach near Berne. There is only one other pre-war Rolls-Royce bodied by Graber in existence, a 1926 20Hp, GZK58. By coincidence, GZK58 was originally fitted with a body by Gangloff.

Joseph Rubin died on January 11th 1938 and the car was acquired from his estate by HRH Field Marshal, Sardar Shah Ali Wali Khan Ghazi, brother of the King of Afghanistan. During the war years, Shah Wali Khan was living in Rome as head of the Afghan delegation to Italy. Whilst in the ownership of Shah Wali Khan, GRW59 experienced a touch of drama in 1939; when holidaying by Lake Geneva the car plunged 60ft into the lake after missing a sharp bend. The driver was obliged to take an unwelcome bath!

After the war, GRW59 passed into the ownership of the Reverend George Irving. Reverend Irving was the Director of British Troops Welfare serving in Italy and south Austria. He and his wife toured Italy and Austria in their Rolls-Royce for several weeks on honeymoon.

In the spring of 1950, GRW59 was returned to England accompanied by new owner Major Tom Evill. It was at this point the car was registered in Berkshire with its current registration number. Eventually, the car found its way, through several owners and dealers, to America. Little is known of the time spent in America other than that the condition of GRW59 deteriorated progressively until discovered by Richard Raynsford in 1997. Mr Raynsford had been searching for this particular car for nearly 10 years, it having been owned by his father-in-law, Tom Evill. He was close to abandoning his endeavours when, by chance, a photo of the car appeared in the September 1997 issue of the RREC Bulletin. Mr Raynsford immediately flew to Seattle and bought the car from the then owner Lee Noble. GRW59 arrived back in England, for the second time, in January 1998.
By this time the car was partially dismantled and in need of considerable work to bring it back to life.

The challenge of refurbishing this unique motorcar was entrusted to Fiennes Restoration Ltd; a challenge willingly accepted. A complete restoration was undertaken, starting from the bare chassis, and all the mechanical units have been rebuilt. A new timber body frame for the rare Graber body was constructed, using original wooden members where possible, and the complicated hood frame which is original was repaired and realigned to overcome distortion. The body was then repanelled, painted and trimmed to bring it back to its original condition.

Upon completion of the extensive restoration, this beautiful and unique car was the deserving recipient of many awards and trophies starting with a debut win of Best in Class (20/25) at the RREC Annual Concours 2010. Other awards include:

2011 Winner of RREC Annual Concours Master Class
2011 Salon Privé Concours d’Elegance – Winner of ‘100 Years of the Spirit of Ecstasy’ Trophy
2011 RROC Best in Class (20/25)
2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – Second in Class and the Lucius Beebe Trophy. The Lucius Beebe Trophy is presented to the Rolls-Royce considered most in the tradition of Lucius Beebe who served among early judges at Pebble Beach

This once damaged, depleted and derelict car has been granted a new lease of life thanks to the meticulous skill, craftsmanship and dedication of Fiennes Restoration Ltd.
A detailed history of the car is known thanks to research undertaken by previous owners with reference to historic archives and consultation with numerous authorities.

Offers invited in excess of £300,000.
Weekend & evening viewings can be arranged.
Viewings by appointment only