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For Sale at Auction: 1939 Rolls-Royce Wraith in St Louis, Missouri

Auction Vehicle
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Vehicle Description

To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' The Guyton Collection event, 4 - 5 May 2019.
Estimate:
$100,000 - $150,000

  • An unusually attractive, well-proportioned design on the Wraith chassis
  • Formerly owned by legendary enthusiast William Maxwell Davis
  • A very well-known example in Rolls-Royce and Classic Car circles
  • Immaculate, well-preserved concours restoration
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic


The Wraith was, in the opinion of some authorities, probably the best-balanced, easiest-driving, and more enjoyable pre-war Rolls-Royce model. What it was often not was attractive, as British coachbuilders seemed baffled by attempts to build well-proportioned bodies on this shorter chassis. There were a few notable exceptions, perhaps the most striking being Kent coachbuilder James Young's saloon coupe, design no. 4564. Similar to their work on the Phantom III chassis, the design incorporated a semi-fastback roofline with a flowing and subtly upturned tail, deeply curved "crowned" fenders with deep skirts, and long doors with delicate chrome hardware and very narrow window frames to excellent effect. The result had a powerful, sporting appearance.

Only three examples of design no. 4564 were produced. The car offered here, chassis no. WCH47, was marked "off test" on 3 June 1939, but was not delivered until May of 1941, likely due to the interruptions of World War II. Built to specification for London dealers Jack Barclay, its original owner was one Samuel Coxhill, succeeded by F.E. Roberts and Clifford Whatmough of Manchester, L.H. Brown and J. Salem of Cheshire, and the Barleymow Engineering Company of Surrey.

In 1963, the car was sold via London dealer Harry Martin to David Stockwell of Wilmington, Delaware, in whose hands it was mechanically sorted and used on occasional tours, including at least one return to England in 1967. It was then acquired from Mr. Stockwell in 1977 by William Maxwell Davis of Charleston, West Virginia, a renowned RROC and CCCA member for decades, and longtime chief Rolls-Royce class judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Mr. Davis has over the years owned many of the most superb pre-war Rolls-Royce automobiles in this country, including outstanding examples of the Springfield Phantom I, Phantom II Continental, and Phantom III. In Mr. Davis's excellent care, the car was mechanically and cosmetically sorted by Dennison Motors of West Chester, Pennsylvania, a highly noted specialist in Rolls-Royces of this era.

Following eight years in the Davis collection, the Wraith was sold to Herbert B. Conner of Pittsburgh, in whose care a fresh and concours-quality restoration was undertaken between 1989 and 1990. Fred Guyton made its purchase in 1996, and the beautiful car has been a much-loved part of the collection ever since. Its restoration is remarkably well-preserved and, in fact, still national show-worthy, with nary a flaw seen in the beautiful lacquer paint, and the interior still tight, fresh, and clean throughout. Even the complete original tool set is still intact and in beautiful condition. Accompanying the car is a fascinating history file, including copies of its build and subsequent ownership records, extensive correspondence between former owners, and documentation of its excellent maintenance, restoration, and care by Messrs. Davis, Conner, and Guyton.

This is, without question, one of the world's very finest Wraiths.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/gc19.

Vehicle Details

  • Listing ID:CC-1199155
  • Price:Auction Vehicle
  • Location:St Louis, Missouri
  • Year:1939
  • Make:Rolls-Royce
  • Model:Wraith
  • Odometer:0
  • Stock Number:750703
  • VIN:WHC47