Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Barker
Presented here is a magnificent Rolls-Royce, unique among the exclusive breed of Phantom II Continentals, which owes its remarkable specification to the vision of its original owner – the great English sportsman Captain Jack Frederick Conrad Kruse.
Born in 1892, Jack Kruse was the eldest son of a successful banker who, having survived the Gallipolli campaign and a torpedo attack in WWI, left the Royal Navy with the rank of Captain. Following the war, he established successful business enterprises in England and The Netherlands, married an American hotel heiress, and cultivated various connections among British high society. By the end of the 1920s, Capt. Kruse maintained residences in London and the French Riviera, and had become famous for his purchase of Sunning House, an expansive thirty-room Spanish style manor located in the middle of Sunningdale golf course.
During this period, Capt. Kruse also developed a passion for elegant, high-performance motor cars. He owned some of the finest thoroughbreds of the era including an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, Bentley 6 1/2 Litre, Bugatti Type 35, Mercedes-Benz SSK, Low-Chassis Invicta, and Lancia Lambda, among others.
Inspired by his close associate Lord Rothermere, the co-founder of the Daily Mail and an early patron of Rolls-Royce, Capt. Kruse became one of the firm’s most important customers, purchasing three Silver Ghosts, four 20 HPs, four Phantom Is, four Phantom IIs, and four 20/25s during the 1920s. Due to his friendship with Frank Manning, the showroom manager for Barker & Co., most of Capt. Kruse’s Rolls-Royce were bodied by this prestigious coachbuilder, and many of them were custom tailored to his exact specification. One notable example was a Phantom I Barker Torpedo, chassis 31HC, which Amherst Villiers reworked with an elaborate supercharger mechanism that was driven by a separate engine mounted on the car’s frame.
The Phantom II Continental offered here is one of Capt. Kruse’s bespoke creations, as it was purpose built to his exacting specifications. Numbered 42GX, this chassis is among the first Continentals built and it was constructed to virtually the same specification as Henry Royce’s own prototype, 26EX. As is noted on the factory build record, Kruse requested that 42GX be built to “be absolutely as fast as it is possible to make it,” with the additional notation that “a great amount of luggage will always be carried, car is to be used on the Continent only. Customer says all previous RR cars purchased have been under-sprung.”
In addition to these specific requests, 42GX was finished with untarnishable brightwork, a louvered hood, speedometer in miles and kilometers, friction shock absorbers, and twin rear spares. Other noteworthy features included a supplementary six-gallon fuel tank mounted in the frame and a gearlever 3" longer than standard.
The completed Continental chassis was shipped on 12 December 1930 to Barker & Co., who produced the handsome Drophead Coupe body seen today, which features lightweight clamshell front fenders, a fully folding top, and twin rear trunks. Finished in black, and adorned with a mascot of Kruse’s own design, 42GX is surely among the most sporting and purposeful of all Phantom II Continentals, with performance to match its impressive looks. In fact, Capt. Kruse was quite satisfied with his latest Rolls-Royce, writing to the factory from St. Raphael to praise the new car, stating that “the present model unquestionably is the equal of any large sports car made today.”
As with most of his cars, Capt. Kruse did not keep 42GX for long. After a period of about six months, he sold the car to R.H.W. Jaques, a resident of York and London. Like Capt. Kruse, Mr. Jaques was an avid motorist and the custom-built Rolls-Royce served as an ideal entry into leading competitive rallies during his ownership.
In 1932, he entered the Continental in the prestigious RAC Rally with W.M. Couper as co-driver and placed 38th. The following year, he entered the Monte Carlo Rally with Margaret Allan, one of the best-known and most successful female drivers of the period, serving as co-driver. Together, they drove the Rolls-Royce to an impressive result, finishing 30th out of 71 cars entered that year.
It is believed that Mr. Jaques retained the Continental until his death, as the next known owner recorded is Thomas W. Neale in 1950. Subsequent owners include D. Wilkinson and Samuel Alper, the successful restaurateur and designer of the Sprite caravan. In 1993, Michael William Sapsford acquired 42GX from Mr. Alper and eventually undertook a comprehensive, body off restoration. This work included stripping the Continental to the bare chassis, rebuilding the engine and rear axle, and restoring the Barker coachwork, and refinishing it in the handsome color scheme of Brewster Green and black with red striping. A testament to the quality of the restoration, 42GX was awarded Best Car in Show at the 2009 RREC Annual Rally at Kelmarsh Hall.
Since joining the current owner’s stable in 2013, 42GX has been put to use as Capt. Kruse had originally intended. Most notably, the Rolls-Royce has added to its competition pedigree by completing the grueling Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, finishing 14th in class. Today, the car remains in superb order, having been well looked after by the consignor’s in-house mechanic and stands ready for future motoring adventures.
A truly distinctive and sporting Rolls-Royce, with a rich, fascinating history documented in numerous books on the marque and model, this Phantom II Continental Drophead Coupe is a brilliant, singular example of one of the most revered automobiles of all time.
*Please note that this lot is currently located in the UK. It is UK registered and has a UK DVLA issued V5C.
*Please note that the Seller of this Lot is a private individual.
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