1929 Rolls-Royce 20/25 'Martin & King' Coupe
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 3669cc|
In the years following the First World War, Rolls-Royce supplemented the Silver Ghost with an entirely new six-cylinder model codenamed the Goshawk, a car designed to appeal to the owner-driver market. Introduced in 1922, the Twenty proved a remarkable success, becoming the first in a line of smaller horsepower models produced alongside the Phantoms in the period leading up to the Second World War. With its performance increasingly hampered by heavy formal coachwork, a more powerful replacement for the Twenty arrived in 1929, designated the 20/25. By increasing the bore and stroke, Rolls-Royce’s engineers raised the engine capacity to 3.7-litres, improving both power output and torque. Other changes included four-wheel braking with a servo and an independent handbrake, while later models also benefited from an all-synchromesh gearbox and Borg and Beck clutch. The 20/25’s chassis retained its predecessor’s semi-elliptic front and rear suspension but featured pedal-operated centralised lubrication. Early cars were built on either 129-inch or 132-inch wheelbase chassis but the longer frame was standardised shortly after production commenced. With every chassis bodied to individual order, the 20/25 wore a wide range of coachwork, from open tourers to formal limousines. The combination of high quality mechanicals coupled with a smaller chassis, proved remarkably popular in a period of economic uncertainty. The 20/25 was the most popular Rolls-Royce model built between the wars, with 3,824 produced by 1936 – indeed, aside from the long-running Silver Ghost, it was the best selling model of the pre-war era. Surprisingly few 20/25s were exported when new and only 24 were destined for Australian customers when new, the ranks of survivors in this country climbing to around three times that number today. The model remains an excellent choice for the enthusiast wanting the same superb engineering and build quality of a larger Phantom in a more wieldy (and easier to garage) size.