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'Maharaja' and 'Prince of Wales' Rolls-Royces to be sold at H&H Classics' Burghley House sale
A 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II bodied in extravagant and elegant Sedanca De Ville style by Windovers.

LONDON.- Two glamorous and highly desirable pre-War Rolls-Royces with connections to British and Indian royalty will be offered by H&H Classics at its forthcoming, 20 June sale at Burghley House, the home of the Marquess and Marchioness of Exeter.

The first is a 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II bodied in extravagant and elegant Sedanca De Ville style by Windovers. Records suggest that an Indian prince, Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji – Maharaja Jam Sahib, who played cricket for England – first commissioned the car with tiger shooting in mind but died before receiving it.

The order for the car was taken over by a scion of the Tate (& Lyle) sugar family, Mrs Amy Davies, who purchased it for her daughter, Elsie Partington. In low spirits following a divorce, Elsie’s mood must have been considerably lifted by such a generous gift and the distinctive Rolls became a regular sight in the north west of Great Britain.

An unusual feature of the car’s distinctive lines is the wraparound rear window treatment commonly seen on ‘Maharaja cars’ used for hunting tigers.

Later in Partington ownership (a keen patron of the arts) it was used the Rolls to carry many of the stars of the day, including actor and playwright Nol Coward, singer Gracie Fields, actor Douglas Fairbanks Junior and singer and composer Ivor Novello. The two-tone Rolls, a winner of the prestigious Cannes Concours d'Elegance in period, could fetch up to 90,000.

The second royal Rolls is a 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost carrying distinctive and unique shooting brake bodywork by Barker, personalised by the then Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VIII and fitted to a car used by him on his Scottish estates. The ‘Royal Rolls’ walnut-look coachwork (actually an ingenious paint effect) was transferred to this chassis during a later restoration.

Ever the trendsetter, the Prince of Wales started the style of ‘woodie’ coachwork that featured on expensive cars from Rolls-Royce, Bentley and many American luxury marques right up to the early post-War period. A shooting brake was a tough vehicle for transporting guests, loaders, keepers (and their dogs, lunch hampers, bags and cartridges) from country house to the shoot. They had to be hardy and commodious – few cars were as reliable as a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

There is some thought that the car’s black blinds – unusual in such a vehicle – may have allowed the Prince to smuggle Wallis Simpson out of Balmoral.

The post-WW1 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost still justifiably carried the title of ‘Best Car in the World’ and was popular with the fabulously wealthy maharajas due to its rugged reliability across rough country and status – the Prince of Mysore only purchased his Rolls-Royce cars in batches of seven.

Today, the image of a shooting break in the popular period TV drama Downton Abbey and 2001 mystery film Gosford Park is an iconic one. H&H Classics’ example, still carrying its ‘Edward VIII’ coachwork, is estimated at a princely 100,000 to 120,000.

The sale, which includes 48 other high quality entries, will take place on Saturday, 20 June 2015 at the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club Annual Concours & Rally, Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire.

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