Rolls-Royce enjoyed great success with the 20/25, which had proven to be the best selling model in the marque’s history to date. However, as production continued, many owners who fitted large, heavy and luxurious bodies were left quite unsatisfied with the performance. In response, Rolls-Royce introduced the 25/30 which addressed those complaints directly with an enlarged version of the same inline-six cylinder engine, now displacing 4,257 c.c. The brakes were refined as well; a proven four-wheel system with mechanical servo that was built by Rolls-Royce under license from Hispano-Suiza. Other improvements included synchronizers on the top two gears, dual-coil ignition replacing the magneto, and tweaks to the four-wheel hydraulic shock absorbers. Performance was indeed improved, though the 25/30 ultimately proved a stop-gap model between the very popular 20/25 and the replacement Wraith. All told, a mere 1,200 examples were built before the Wraith (and the onset of World War II) ended production. As with all other Rolls-Royces of the period, the works only produced a running chassis. Bodies were outsourced to any number of traditional coachbuilders, with some being ordered by dealers such as Jack Barclay Ltd, while others were ordered directly by clients working with their favored coachbuilder.
Our featured example is GRP41, a 1934 25/30 wearing formal Limousine coachwork by Park Ward. An older restoration, it presents in respectable condition with a very sound body, good paint and sound mechanical condition. The limousine body is formal and dignified, built with typical Park Ward quality and precision. It is finished in a two tone black-blue combination with red coach lines. The chassis, wheels, fenders and upper body are in black, accented with medium blue on the body sides. The paint, while older, remains in good condition, showing a few flaws and touchups in places. Black wire wheels and whitewall tires are in good order, again showing some patina but remaining fundamentally sound. The bodywork is solid and the doors and bonnet fit well with typical Rolls-Royce quality. Chrome is in average condition, and accessories include King of the Road headlamps and a single King of the Road spot lamp on the front apron. Dual sidemount spares are also fitted, and the body features an integrated boot.
The driver’s compartment is trimmed correctly in black leather, which was harder wearing and favored by coachbuilders to withstand the rigors of the chauffeur’s duties. Black leather also adorns the front door panels and headlining. The materials are in good condition, showing some patina but also remaining sound and inviting. Wood trim on the dash and door caps is in good overall condition, largely intact and without any serious damage, though faded lacquer and some peeling is quite apparent.
Rear passengers are separated via a retractable divider window and the cabin is trimmed in gray velour to mimic the original broadcloth. Upholstery quality is good, again showing some ageing but in sound order and quite usable as is. Carpets and headlining are very good while the wood trim is consistent with that in the front; showing some age and fading but largely intact.
Under the bonnet rests the 4,257 c.c. inline-six cylinder engine. It is very nicely presented, having held up quite well since the restoration and showing moderate signs of use. Likewise, the chassis and undercarriage appear in sound, complete condition as original. As expected from a 25/30, the robust six-cylinder engine runs well, starting readily and performing admirably.
With only 1200 examples built and compared to the more plentiful 20/25, the 25/30 is a rare and desirable Rolls-Royce that still remains attainable by the average enthusiast. In mechanical terms, they are extremely robust and the understressed six-cylinder engine returns respectable performance and easy operation. With room for a family to enjoy, this example could make a fine choice for events such as the British Invasion or for RROC and CCCA CARavan tours.
Jul 28, 2017