Survivor: The Story Of a Unique 1929 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Thrupp & Maberly Phaeton Tourer

Survivorby Charles Vyse

Almost fifty years ago, in 1964, J.H. Haynes of London self-published what must be the first-ever commercial manual for old Rolls-Royce cars, his Rolls-Royce 1925­–39 Manual. This paperback ran to 86 pages. What a revelation this was to the new generation of younger enthusiasts for the older cars. But now that I look back through it, I see that Haynes merely brought together the key maintenance facts from model handbooks, leavened with useful tips about how best to buy a car, and left it at that. It makes charming reading today.

How different in 2013. Charles Vyse has come to know his almost unique 1929 20/25 hp (chassis GXO71) in very intimate detail. This book describes not so much a restoration as more of a “general overhaul,” in the widest sense that Rolls-Royce Ltd. used that term, so that everything on the car was properly checked for correct working, and ensuring that the chassis was as complete as possible with the right parts. Lavishly illustrated with evidence of his hands-on work on the car, this is a truly essential guide for any 20/25 owner seeking to do his own maintenance and repairs. No Haynes superficial coverage here, it’s down to the nitty gritty of fixing electrics, gauges, the fuel system, and so much more. But Sir Henry Royce has not been followed slavishly—the book also takes us through some modern safety additions, an additional fuel pump, modern filters, and an overdrive amongst other things. In every case detail thought has been given to the best conversion and you are shown how to do it.

Survivor tocTo back up his work Vyse shares a list of the mainly British suppliers he used. And throughout the book there are glimpses of features on his car that enhance the story he actually starts the book with—the remarkable history of his car and the more remarkable detective work to find that history.

This new book follows not far behind an earlier, and shorter, work issued by the Sir Henry Royce Foundation, Australia, in 2010. This is David Davis’ 50 Years With a Rolls-Royce Twenty: a Mechanical Miscellany which covers his 1923 chassis 42G1 and all he learned from the skilled mechanics of old. Both publications are a testament to what dedicated enthusiasts can achieve and the bond they have for their cars. Long may this continue, and certainly Charles Vyse has produced a work of long-term value.


Copyright 2013, Tom Clarke (

Survivor: The Story Of a Unique 1929 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Thrupp & Maberly Phaeton Tourer
by Charles Vyse
Self-published, 2013
134 pages, b&w illustrations, softcover
List Price: $19.79/£10.96 + shipping
ISBN 978-1-291-47499-2

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