An incredibly rare 1933 Rolls-Royce Shooting Brake (Woodie) will lead a New York auction on May 12, offering a whole range of objects owned by Christo, Keith Haring, and American artist, film director-producer Andy Warhol. Guernsey’s ‘Urban Gems’ Auction will be a virtual auction and will include a rare 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Shooting Brake said to be identical to pop-art icon, Warhol’s very own ‘woodie’.
Since 1904, Rolls Royce has been highly regarded as the creator of luxury handcrafted automobiles with many of the era being coach-built by Rolls Royce-authorized workshops such as Hooper & Co to create exquisite bodies specifically designed to satisfy the wishes of affluent buyers. Accordingly, rarely were any two Rolls Royces identical in appearance or build.
Many owners considered their prize possession Rolls Royce so special that rather than trade them away after years of use, on occasion the older bodies were discarded and replaced by unique bespoke bodies. The ‘Shooting Brake’ has since become a desirable machine and used for less utilitarian reasons and more for style, character, and stand-out factor with recent creations including the controversial ‘Breadvan Hommage’ which took its inspiration directly from a certain Italian V12 Gran Turismo coupe, namely Ferrari’s iconic and somewhat notorious 250 GT, affectionately dubbed ‘La Camionnette’ (little truck).
Rewind many years and the ‘Shooting Brake’ was a touring grand estate for transporting the family to a cricket match or traveling on a cross-country expedition, there was simply nothing else like these ruggedly stylish, hand-crafted ‘one off’ vehicles.
It is believed that approximately fifty Rolls Royce Shooting Brakes were created with around half that number remaining intact. At the height of his career, Andy Warhol owned one which was sold many years ago for around $750,000. Earlier in the century, King Edward VIII used his Rolls Royce Shooting Brake to secretly shuttle Wallis Simpson into Balmoral Castle. In one of the most fabled romances in history, the Shooting Brake played a critical role in the lives of the couple later to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
This particular grand woodie, serial # GRW34, began its life as a 1933 Rolls Royce sedan bodied by Corsica. After WW II, the original body was replaced by the Shooting Brake body crafted in the Channel Islands by Jersey Coachbuilders. An abundant file includes many documents tracing the history of this unique, and quite wonderful, vehicle.
In the 1950s, GRW 34 was purchased from Rolls Royce in London by Mr. And Mrs. Logan Lewis of Macon, Georgia. Dedicated automotive enthusiasts, the Lewis’ maintained a stable of outstanding cars including an ex-Fangio raced Maserati and a Jaguar SS 100.
“Documents that come with the Rolls include letters by the Lewis’ describing their “thrilling” journey picking up the Shooting Brake on the New York City docks and driving it down to Macon.”
Mr. Lewis passed away in the 1960s when his widow sealed the garages where their cars were stored. The collection was discovered in the late 80s and several of the cars sold. The afore-mentioned Maserati went on to win major awards including at Pebble Beach.
The current owner met with Mrs. Lewis in the 1980s but was only able to acquire the Shooting Brake following her passing in 2002. Over the last seventy years, GRW34 has had only two owners.
Images courtesy Guernsey-s
You may also like:
Amazing ‘Round Door’ Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Coupe