Rolls Royce 17EX A Fabulous Destiny


Guatam Sen


There are cars in the histories of all marques that are absolute milestones. In the case of Rolls-Royce, Silver Ghost AX201 and the experimental 1928 Phantom I torpedo 17EX were the first two of a string of chassis that all contributed to establishing the reputation of the marque.
In the late 1920s, luxury cars were competing for buyers both in the US and Europe. Winning races and rallies was a major factor in gaining customers.. Therefore, to keep up with the competition, Henry Royce felt it necessary to enhance the one model he had in production, the Phantom I, successor to the famed Silver Ghost. One hundred miles an hour was the goal, an almost mythical barrier for many cars! As a consequence, a lightweight streamlined style of body was tested on three experimental chassis (hence the EX tag in the chassis number). The design was created by Ivan Everndern and the cars received almost identical bodies, although by different coachbuilders, to facilitate ensure meaningful comparisons and tests.
This book is the story of one of these cars, 17EX, from conception to 2012. The book is lavishly illustrated with period photos in which we can see the car in India, where it was first sold to 33-year-old Rajah Hari Singh Bahadur after the tests. Its full history is known, which is quite rare. First in India from 1929 to 1976, then in various European countries, including Holland when it was owned by Spyker CEO Victor Muller until it passed to Austrian Alexander Schaufler in 2009. (17EX last traded hands in 2009 at an RM auction in London for €482,625.)
The car was fully restored to the last nut and bolt. Photos of the reframing and re-skinning attest to the thorough, no expense spared job which included a complete mechanical rebuild. This effort and passion earned the car a place in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2012.
This is a large format book full of top quality photographs