Mon Dec 10, 2018 London
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OPULENCE & SPLENDOUR

Luxury and the artsFrom houses to cars and from Hockney to van Dyck, a profile of the best and the worst

A royal smuggler

Rolls-Royce allegedly used to smuggle Wallis Simpson into Balmoral for sale

 

In 1923, the future King Edward VIII commissioned coachbuilders Barker to refinish the chassis of a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost to create a shooting brake with a difference. Featuring not only walnut effect finishing to its aluminium panels, the bespoke car also included specially commissioned black pull-down silk blinds and it is rumoured that these were installed so he could smuggle guests – and most particularly Wallis Simpson – in and out of Balmoral without their being seen.

 

A royal smuggler - 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost shooting brake
A royal smuggler – The 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost shooting brake complete with the ex-Edward VIII Barker coachwork is guided at £100,000 to £120,000
A royal smuggler - 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost shooting brake
Her Grace The Duchess of Windsor and His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor in 1940
A royal smuggler - 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost shooting brake
The passenger compartment comes complete with black pull-down silk blinds

 

The Rolls-Royce – chassis no. 1346 – was used by the royal family until 1940 and after its subsequent sale, the car and the shooting brake coachwork were subsequently separated. Another Silver Ghost – chassis no. 107EM – was then fitted with the discarded ex-Edward VIII Barker coachwork in the 1960s and now that car is set to be auctioned by H&H at the RREC Burghley House sale at Stamford in Lincolnshire on 20th June.

 

Of the car, Damian Jones of H&H commented:

 

“When the vehicle was consigned to us, the current owner mentioned in passing that a rumour accompanying the car was that Edward VIII used it to smuggle Wallis Simpson into Balmoral”.

 

“There is no documentary evidence to validate that, but it’s a tale that’s been passed on from owner to owner. One of the more telling features of this shooting brake is that it had pull-down blinds on all the windows”.

 

“When you’re out in the middle of an estate with a shotgun it’s hard to see what the need for privacy would have been… Shooting brakes are normally rather utilitarian vehicles that would not normally be associated with privacy, but with this one Edward felt the need to install blinds”.

 

The car has a guide price of £100,000 to £120,000 ($153,000 to $183,000 or €137,000 to €165,000).

 

 

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Comments

6 comments on “A royal smuggler”

  1. What a stunning vehicle! I was only watching a documentary 2 nights ago on Wallis Simpson, or That Woman as she was known. Completely fascinating story. I personally think its a thing of beauty ERM…. the car that is.

    1. Very funny…yes, Wallis Simpson…a truly hideous woman. Still, she was well matched with the Nazi loving husband

  2. This compares favourably with a Cartier tiger and such……………

    ‘Twas ever so……Ancient Silver dealers, that I know, still have items bought at Mentmore -Sotheby Parke Bernett – May 1977…….the rhyme goes ‘ It meant more at Mentmore ‘

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