29 January 2018
More than an old car #52: Rolls-Royce Twenty
Rolls-Royce [RR] vehicles tend to be large in size, and the fact that they are produced in small numbers give them an aura of exclusivity. Somehow, RRs are designed to make you stop in your tracks, even for this 1926 Rolls-Royce Connaught Twenty tourer here.
The Twenty was ironically considered RR's "small car" and was first produced in 1922. Its target market was supposed to be owner drivers, but many were also sold to customers with chauffeurs. The "Twenty" name was so named for its power output of 20 horsepower. Curiously, only the chassis and mechanical parts were made by RR and the body was made by a coachbuilder [a manufacturer of car bodies] selected by the owner. In this case, this specimen was made by London-based coachbuilder Connaught, a firm that traced its origins back to the 18th century. This was one of only 3 lightweight tourers built by them. It was powered by a 3127cc 6-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 105km/h. It was 4.52m long and weighed 1930kg.
Production ended in 1929 with only 2940 made. This specimen was shipped to West Malaysia in 1926 and was used in a rubber estate. After surviving World War 2, it was neglected until the current owner acquired it in 1981. A full restoration was carried out in 1983 and this car has been shuttled between Singapore and Malaysia. It is currently believed to be the oldest surviving RR in good condition in this region. I am aware that it is currently in a car workshop, but if you are lucky enough, you may get to see this antique grand behemoth on our roads!