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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Honeymoon Express

Freestone & Webb had a unique style when coachbuilding Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.
The company was formed in 1923 by V.E. Freestone and A.J. Webb as a specialist coachbuilding service, based in workshops in Brentfield Road, Willesden, North London, which became its home for its entire life.
On the death of A.J. Webb in 1955, the company was taken over by the Swain Group or dealer H.R. Owen of Berkeley Street, London. This was the same year as the introduction of the Bentley S1/Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, neither of which came as a chassis only option. With its main chassis supplier relationship now ended, it continued to refurbish and build bodies until 1958, when it became a pure showroom brand. In 1963, after Swain decided to divest itself of its coach building arm and focus just on motor retail, it was sold in 1963 to the new owners of fellow coachbuilders Harold Radford.
There is a very special F&W car coming up on the auction block in May:
This is a far cry from the formal four door limousines.
A two seater. What some may refer to as a Speedster, perhaps?
Spectacular. Years ahead of all the others...
Even a full metal tonneau cover.
Fresh from the RM Auctions Catalogue:
 'HONEYMOON EXPRESS' IN MONACO                                                                             
             On May 12th, one of the rarest and most important post-war coachbuilt                                     
             Rolls-Royces in existence will be offered at our Monaco auction: the 1958                                 
             Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I "Honeymoon Express" Drophead Coupe, chassis no.                                
             SGE270, with sensational original 'finned' Freestone & Webb two-seater                                    
             coachwork and disappearing top. Christened the "Honeymoon Express" by design                              
             journalists at the Earl's Court Show due to its limited seating capacity and                              
             ample trunk space, it featured design that was not only daring in its day but                             
             unlike anything the average British motorist would have ever seen before.                                 
             The rolling chassis was delivered to Freestone & Webb in London on March 11,                              
             1958. While most mid-1950s Rolls-Royces had graceful, gently rounded side                                 
             panels, the body sides of this car featured concave coves that stretched from                             
             stem to stern, with rear wings that feature aggressive vertical tail fins.                                
             Aside from its breathtaking presentation in two-tone Lugano Blue with Silver                              
             Chalice coves, the Honeymoon Express is exceptionally rare as one of only one                             
             percent of all Silver Clouds to carry truly bespoke coachwork. It is one of                               
             just three with this radically-designed drophead coupĂ© style, still carries                               
             its original engine stamped SE385, shows only 42,070 miles and is even                                    
             accompanied by its original British registration plate, AM2375.                                           
             Such Bespoke motor cars are valued like fine art—they will always be                                      
             treasured. The opportunity to acquire this motor car after its single                                     
             ownership over the last three decades may very well be a once-in-a-lifetime                               
             opportunity, as this is one of only two such Rolls-Royces built.
This is the one to watch next month.
(Posted by David Irvine)


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