World’s only Rolls-Royce pickup truck going to auction

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Rolls-Royce built a luxury car, rancher made it into a work truck | Bonhams photos

What is believed to be the world’s only Rolls-Royce pickup truck will be offered for sale November 11 as one of the lots when Bonhams stages the auction of the Bothwell Collection in Southern California.

According to Bonhams, the truck was produced in Rolls-Royce’s Springfield, Massachussets, assembly plant as a 1926-model-year 40/50HP Silver Ghost Tilbury Sedan with Willoughby & Co. coachwork. It was converted into a work truck in the 1940s by citrus farmer Lindley Bothwell and was used for 40 years for ranch chores.

The truck, with chassis S248PK and engine 21214, was purchased new by California-based E.L. Butler Inc. for J.F. Dillon. For some reason the deal “was not consummated” and the Silver Ghost was returned to Rolls-Royce and was sold to Lillian McClurg of Santa Monica.

“Mrs. McClurg was no doubt chauffeur-driven in the Tilbury Sedan,” Bonhams notes in its catalog.

Truck was used for 40 years before being retired

Bothwell acquired the car with its Tilbury coachwork in the 1940s but, Bonhams reports, “it wasn’t long before Lindley, as many before him, elected to repurpose the reliable running gear for a more practical body style.”

But instead of merely reconfiguring another car body, Bothwell turned the sedan into a ranch truck, retaining the front bodywork, though closing off the cab and adding a flat deck behind.

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“Contemporary images of the Silver Ghost show Lindley ‘hamming it up’ pictured all smiles from underneath this car,” Bonhams said, adding that in the background in those period photos is a 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost that also will be offered at the auction.

Bonhams notes that the vehicle has not been used in recent years, became the home to “some small creatures” but might make for a wonderful motorcycle hauler for the next owner.

The truck’s pre-sale estimated value is $50,000 to $70,000.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Certainly not the only R-R truck. I owned a Silver Shadow done here in CA. Sold it to a gentleman in the RROC. Hopefully it has been restored by now.

  2. This may be the only Rolls pickup left in the world today, but it definitely was not the only one built.

    I remember visiting my great uncle in the mid 1950’s on his very remote private island in northern Ontario, Canada, where his "cottage staff" used an old Rolls, with a pickup body, to move things from one side of the island to the other. It must have been initially ferried onto the island by barge, and was garaged in an old barn type building for the 8 or 10 months of the year that the island was not used.

    At the time, as a 10 year old boy already interested in cars, that image stuck with me as the very epitome of someone being very rich, a world I did not know, and his being able to so casually leave a Rolls in the frozen snow bound north, unused for most of the year.

  3. hi it is not only RR pick up in the world , here in Australia they made least 6 silver ghosts and 3-4 phantom l s to pick ups ,I also have 88 silver spirit pick up thank you

  4. Definitely not the only RR pickup.
    Couple of years age in America, there was a white ute for sale based on a Silver Shadow.
    A friend of mine in Australia had a RR limo business at the time, and I was encouraging him to buy it.
    Cheers,
    Mike

  5. This account is interesting but not entirely factually true. There was another Rolls Royce pickup tow truck in Cooma, NSW, Australia in the 60’s and 70’s. This vehicle too was a bit stripped down but did the job. There are a few photos of this online if one cares to look. There are a few car museums around maybe they got it.

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