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.
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.
“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.