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1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30HP Shooting Brake

In the years following the First World War, Rolls-Royce supplemented the Silver Ghost with a 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, the first in a line of smaller horsepower models produced alongside the Phantoms in the period leading up to the Second World War. Increasingly burdened with heavy formal coachwork, the Twenty’s performance came in for some criticism, and a more powerful replacement, the 20/25, arrived in 1929. Rolls-Royce’s engineers raised the new model’s engine capacity to 3.7-litres, improving both power output and torque by increasing the bore and stroke. Other changes included four-wheel braking with a servo, an independent handbrake, an all-synchromesh gearbox, and a Borg and Beck clutch, on later examples. The chassis retained the traditional semi-elliptic front and rear suspension but came with pedal-operated centralized lubrication. Despite the 20/25s undoubted popularity, critics continued the call for a more powerful engine, and Rolls-Royce had the perfect solution in the new 4 ¼-litre engine from the Derby Bentley.

The new model was marketed as the 25/30. Although the gain in top speed was only marginal, the 25/30’s acceleration - particularly at lower revs - was greatly improved. Sold alongside the complex new Phantom III from 1936, the new 25/30 model proved more popular than first anticipated, with sales reaching a total of 1,198 chassis before the replacement Wraith was unveiled in 1938. The 25/30 wore a wide range of bodywork, from open tourers to formal limousines, each chassis fitted with individual coachwork built to the customer’s order.

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