After the HHR '32 on Friday, heres another car that combines the idea of pre-war automotive 'Britishness' with an American hot rod touch, except the execution of that hypothesis comes from a completely oblique angle from the Duece. Like a Dodge Viper V10 in a 1930 Roll-Royce 20/25 with coupé bodywork by Thrupp & Maberly. We think it is, but there were so many coachbuilding companies building bespoke bodywork for Rolls-Royce chassis in the 20's and 30's (the aforementioned Thrupp & Maberly Park Ward, Barker, Mulliner to name a few), it's a little hard to tell. But what is easier to identify is that thumping great 8.2 litre engine under the hand-formed bonnet.
Buffalo, New York-based Viper Specialty (sic) were contracted about supplying a Viper powertrain and manufacturing or modifying a number of components for show, (like polished components, fuel rails) and build a standalone Pectel ECU and wiring harness for the Roller, and then complete the installation on location in West Michigan. Although not totally complete at the time of posting, seeing that the paint and interior has been completed, this can't be far off. The body is a full restoration built on a tube frame chassis with Mustang II-style IFS with a 9-inch Ford rear, more than necessary to help contain that writhing snake. The LA-series V10 may seem an odd (read insane) choice but the L-series V8 used in RRs from 1959 to 1998 (and still used by Bentley) is rumoured to have been based on Chrysler designs of the time. The reality is the L-series was developed in-house by Rolls-Royce and Bentley engineers as it's design characteristics are more in keeping with the Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine. It's a tenuous link at best, but we'd thought we'd clear it up as people still believe the RR/Chrysler engine myth.
Anyway, despite the engine choice, this car was built to be a cruiser; it has, A/C, and all of the mod cons you expect of a modern car. Just as well really; we don't suppose those wheels will last long before the centres rip out from the 'adequate' torque, and we bet those tyres are not rated to 150mph either...
The car will be shown at the Detroit Autorama in March.
Some more pics here.
The 'before' condition: