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B1339 Automobile, full size, Rolls-Royce Twenty, four-seat open tourer body, 20 hp, number plate 4402, chassis built by Rolls-Royce Limited, Derby, England, in 1925, chassis No. GSK10, body built by Smith & Waddington, Sydney, in 1926, includes toolkit and handbook. Click to enlarge.

1925 Rolls-Royce Twenty 20 hp tourer

Made 1925-1926

Rolls-Royce cars were marketed as "The best in the world" for their refinement, silence, comfort and sheer driving pleasure. The six-cylinder 20 hp model, the Rolls-Royce Twenty, was introduced after the First World War as a small luxury car more suitable for the tougher financial times of the period. Between 1922 and 1929 a total of 2,885 chassis of the Rolls-Royce Twenty were built and by the late 1970s some 1040 were extant around the world. Located in various places from palaces to breaking ...


Object No.


Object Statement

Automobile, full size, Rolls-Royce Twenty, four-seat open tourer body, 20 hp, number plate 4402, chassis built by Rolls-Royce Limited, Derby, England, in 1925, chassis No. GSK10, body built by Smith & Waddington, Sydney, in 1926, includes toolkit and handbook

Physical Description

Automobile, full size, Rolls-Royce Twenty, four-seat open tourer body, 20 hp, number plate 4402, chassis built by Rolls-Royce Limited, Derby, England, in 1925, chassis No. GSK10, body built by Smith & Waddington, Sydney, in 1926, includes toolkit and handbook

The Rolls-Royce Twenty is easily recognisable from other Rolls-Royce models with its horizontally arranged radiator shutters. The Rolls-Royce chassis is pressed steel, with a parallel girder and tubular cross members. The suspension comprises semi-elliptic springs, front and rear. There are friction type shock absorbers and a single dry-plate type clutch. The car has four forward speeds and a right hand side gate change. The engine is a 6 cylinder in-line, mono-bloc with push-rod operated vales located in a detachable cylinder head. The radiator is of German silver.

The body design is a four seat open tourer. The entire body plus the mudguards are aluminium except for the door hinges. The front seat and all floor boards are removable, giving access to the chassis. The back squab is also removable, giving a much larger luggage carrying capacity.

The body of the car has been painted with a thin coat of grey paint which is not original covering the original maroon primer/undercoat. The windscreen frame has been painted black and would have been nickel plated originally.

Date built: 1925
Chassis No. GSK10
Engine No: G1421
engine: overhead valve 6 cylinder in-line configuration
Bore & stroke: 3 x 4½ (76 mm x 114 mm)
Capacity: 3,127
Transmission: single dry plate type clutch
Brakes: 4 wheel servo- assisted
Gears: four speeds plus reverse
Wheelbase: 129 inches

A photocopy of the original instruction booklet Instructions for the Care and Running of the 20h.p. Rolls-Royce Car, published November 1925 by Rolls-Royce Limited, Derby, and 14 and 15 Conduit Street, London, is included on the blue file



1840 mm


1800 mm





The Museum's Rolls-Royce Twenty left the factory in November 1925 complete with its 'Flying Lady' mascot. The first car made by Frederick Henry Royce took to the road in 1904 in Manchester. It was the excellence of Royce's car which attracted the attention of Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls and in 1906 Rolls-Royce Ltd was incorporated. At first several models were manufactured, but in 1908 it was decided to concentrate on one chassis, the Silver Ghost, which was produced from 1906 until 1924. It was then replaced by the Phantom I. The smaller Rolls-Royce Twenty was introduced in 1922. Front wheel brakes were added in 1924/5 and both the larger and smaller range of vehicles were continued until the outbreak in 1939. In 1931 Rolls-Royce took over the company which made Bentley cars and in 1933 the first of the 'new' Bentleys appeared.

Frederick Royce despised mascots but bowed to demand from owners and commissioned the artist Charles Sykes to design a mascot worthy of his cars. Sykes used Miss Eleanor Thornton, Secretary to John Scott Montague, later Baron Montague of Beaulieu, as the model. The mascot produced features a young woman, arms outstretched and delicately clad with a fine robe, fluttering wing-like behind her. It has been officially described as the 'Spirit of Ecstasy', but is also known as the 'Flying Lady' and sometimes as 'Emmy'. The mascot went into use in 1911 but was not standard issue until after the Second World War. Cast in brass, bronze or copper then either nickel or in later years, chromium plated, it was not solid silver as popularly believed.

Australian road regulations required that the Rolls-Royce chassis ordered for Australia needed to have a separate rear switch at the rear for controlling the tail lamp fitted in the factory. This curious rule was a hang-over from the horse-drawn vehicle days when the driver was required to step down from the vehicle to light up the rear oil lamp and side-lights. It continued after the advent of electric lights and was not dropped until the 1930s. Other modifications for Rolls-Royce cars destined for Australia included 'colonial springs' which were 20% stronger than the standard ones for the rough road conditions and louvered bonnets were supplied to dispel engine heat in the hot climate.

The body of the Museum's Rolls-Royce Twenty was fitted in May 1926 by Smith & Waddington, coach builders of Sydney, to Mr Beau Burdekin's specifications. Smith & Waddington also made the coachwork for a number of other Rolls-Royce Twenty cars including a beige coupe body for A.W. Charlton in 1925. In the following year Smith & Waddington were appointed sub-retailers for Rolls-Royce cars.



So many Rolls-Royce cars had reached Australia by 1914 that the company opened a service depot in New South Wales. Bertram Arthur Peat (Pt), who had worked on experimental cars at the Derby factory in England, was sent to Sydney to set up the depot which he located in a small garage in Bridge Street, Glebe. This was followed by premises in Smail Street, Glebe. In August 1916 the Sydney depot advertised for a 'boy assistant". Fourteen-year-old Albert (Bert) E. Ward was among the twenty-five applicants. He secured the job and began a career with Rolls-Royce spanning fifty-one years.

In 1921 Dalgety & Co. took over the New South Wales Depot which was transferred to their premises at 30-36 Balfour Street, Chippendale, Sydney. Bert Ward, who had served his five-years apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce, jointed 'Pt' at Dalgety's in August 1922. The Dalgety Showrooms were at 136 Phillip Street, Sydney and sold Rolls-Royce and the American Hudson and Essex cars.

The Museum's Rolls-Royce Twenty chassis GSK10 was dispatched from the Rolls Royce factory in November 1925 and would have cost £1,100. It was delivered on 19 May 1926, to its first and only owner, Mr Beau (Ben) Burdekin, a Sydney barrister of Wentworth Chambers, 180 Philip Street, Sydney, and living at 142 Phillip Street (in 1959). Dalgety was the first motor company in Sydney to engage a saleswoman, a Miss Windeyer, the daughter of a Sydney judge. It was fitting then that her first sale was the Rolls-Royce Twenty chassis purchased by Beau Burdekin, a barrister. Burdekin's Twenty was maintained and repaired since original delivery at the Sydney Depot which eventually became the Rolls Royce section of York Motors in William Street, (Kings Cross). From 1926 until its presentation to the Museum in 1959 it was looked after by Bert Ward.

The Rolls-Royce Twenty remained in Mr Burdekin's possession until handed over to the Museum on Tuesday 10 February 1959 together with the original complete set of tools, including a number of special tools for particular purposed, as well as the instruction book issued with the car in 1925. It was subsequently formally acquired into the collection on 24 April 1959. The car was presented with its original number plates, 4402, and permission was sort and granted from the then Department of Motor Transport to retain the plates on the proviso that they were riveted onto the car to prevent theft, which was subsequently done.

The first number plates to be issued in NSW were in 1910. These had numbers only. Plates for trucks were prefixed with the letter "L" for to lorry. Number plates with both letters and numbers (a combination of two letters and three numbers) were introduced in 1937 wtih black plates and white characters. Yellow number plates were introduced in 1951. NSW was allocated the letters A, B, C, D and E while the letter F was for trucks.


Credit Line

Gift of Mr Beau Burdekin, 1959

Acquisition Date

23 April 1959

Cite this Object


1925 Rolls-Royce Twenty 20 hp tourer 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 February 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=1925 Rolls-Royce Twenty 20 hp tourer |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 February 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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