Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club - for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Enthusiasts

Hooper, Barker & possibly a few others

Some more coachwork pictures

(Article by Colin Hughes)

My first article on Hooper and Barker touched on the history of Hoopers, Barkers and Hoopers' last Managing Director, Osmond Rivers. This article is mainly some more copies of original coachbuilder's photographs, mostly by these two coachbuilders, to give you an idea of the range of styles that were available in the first half of the 20th Century and even some time after WWII. I mentioned that Hoopers had been one of the coachbuilders offering the widest range of choice in detail work for its customers, if not the most fashionable and stylish designs. The introduction of integral construction or monocoque motor cars limited the range of body types that could be produced, although Rolls-Royce did continue production of Silver Wraith and Phantom VI chassis for the fitting of coach-built bodies for a few years after the introduction of the integral construction Silver Shadow. 

Apart from H. J. Mulliner Park Ward, formed by the combination of both firms, which had been bought earlier by Rolls-Royce, virtually all other coachbuilders stopped new car body manufacture at that time, with custom features being limited mainly to lengthening the wheelbase and a choice of interior fittings. The introduction of crash-testing to type-approve a car design further restricted the degree of variation possible. During the early production of the Silver Shadow, the dealer Jack Barclay persuaded James Young to make a two door version by modifying the body shell, fitting longer front doors and filling in the rear door openings while moving the centre pillar rearwards. Later, Rolls-Royce via Mulliner Park Ward introduced its own version with a more curvaceous body line - the James Young version had the straight waist line of the Shadow. This eventually became the "Corniche" two door saloon.

The sources of photographs are again from copy negatives from loan prints from the late Osmond Rivers' collection, the late Jimmy Skinner, as well as from Chas. K. Bowers & Sons. Jimmy's examples included a fair number of Barker photographs that Hoopers had held, which must have arrived when Hoopers took over Barkers in 1938. Most of Jimmy's pictures are now in R-R.E.C. archives, but some went to the late John Oldham, and are now elsewhere in the USA.

Firstly, I want to talk about Charles K. Bowers. He had been apprenticed to a photographer in Leeds named Pickard in 1909, but was directed to set up a photographic unit initially with Short Brothers aircraft factory and later with Sopwiths at Kingston upon Thames. When Sopwiths ceased trading in 1922 he formed a photographic department for  Sunbeam Talbot Darracq until that operation was liquidated in 1924. He bought out his photographic part of the business and continued as an independent motoring photographer. Although motor car work reduced as a proportion of the business, it still remained a feature until the 1960s. He had been joined in business by his sons in 1946. The archive of original negatives has been a useful source of illustrations for motoring authors over a number of years. 

Some time back, thanks to the Bentley Drivers' Club "Review", I became aware that they had issued two CD-ROMs of photographs from their extensive library. They were issued as "Motoring Memories" CD-1 and -2. CD-3 became available later, but unfortunately I missed it. The TIFF files on them are bigger than the images that I tend to put on the website, if rather limited in tone range.

When I first wrote this information in 2000, with the CDs was information on ordering real photographs printed from the original glass plates, but more recently (in 2003) the whole collection was up for sale by auction; I understand that the purchaser has no plans for it continue as a live resource, so that may be that. Tom Clarke has catalogued the contents, in some detail for the R-R and B items, so at least the content of the CDs is accessible. I do not think that the CDs are still available. 

CD-1 had pictures done for Boon & Porter, Dagenham Motors, H.J.Mulliner, Hooper, Hudson, Lancia, and R.E.A.L.

CD-2 had Abbey Coachworks, Abbott, Jack Barclay, H.M.Bentley, Kevill Davies & March, Lagonda, Motor Show stands, S.T.D./Talbot.

They are not all R-R and Bentley, but not everyone is quite that obsessive, I hope. There is interest for commercial vehicle people as well as cars: the Hooper section has a wide range of vehicles, often for travelling exhibitions, but also relatively ordinary vans, and a few more horse-drawn vehicles than those in my other article. Also among the Hooper negatives are some cars built by other coachbuilders that had come into Hoopers for modification or maintenance.

On the basis that I neglected post WWII cars in the last article, I will start with some in this one. These are all from the Chas. K. Bowers source.

Throughout this article, clicking on the thumbnail picture will bring up a larger version for study.

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This was H.M. King Paul of the Hellenes' 1959 R-R Silver Wraith Hooper Allweather car, chassis LHLW44, which was fitted with a detachable "Perspex" roof. OK as long as there are at least four strong people to hand. It did have a normal folding hood, but this was obviously for parades where the passengers were meant to be seen. There are several views of this car in "The Elegance Continues" by the late Lawrence Dalton.

Other examples of Hoopers' skill with Perspex. Far left is a 1956 Silver Wraith saloon built for Nubar S. Gulbenkian for use in France on chassis LELW74 with Perspex top and refrigeration. Left is a good view from above of a removable top on Daimler.

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Records of damaged cars were also made: this was a 1949 R-R Silver Wraith Hooper Touring Limousine chassis WDC25, first owned by Mr S.Rutter, entering the repair department.


I mentioned that there were some records of van bodies. The two on the left appeal to me as they were of Daimler chassis with similar body styles: one is an ambulance built for a mining community, but a similar design to the fleet of Daimler ambulances operated by London County Council and a regular sight on the streets in the 1950s & 60s. The second is a van for DuMaurier cigarettes, appealing because it was a very Art Deco design - I seem to remember the house style was red with silver lettering - and the customers would have later been more likely to travel in one of the same body style ambulances.

Here is an example showing that coachbuilders continued to do drawings for the approval of customers before building the car itself. This is design 8512 for a Bentley S Type Continental 4 door saloon. The photograph is of the 1958 Earls Court Show car BC43EL, now in Australia, I believe.

This is the drawing of design 8569 for the 1959 Earls Court Show Phantom V limousine on chassis 5AS19. A similar body was built for one of the experimental PVs.

Here is an oddity: a Phantom III with a much earlier body style, but almost certainly new built for the car. The coachbuilder's plate shows it as by . It was taken by Chas. Bowers outside Hooper Motor Services in November 1960. It is a Coupe Cabriolet by Arthur Mulliner of Northampton on chassis 3AZ86 for Hon. A.C.Nivison in October 1936. Note the black finish lamps, buttoned upholstery, and recessed intrument panel. Apparently it originally had twin side-mounted spare wheels. Originally registered as DGP 315, it is now PUF 3, and owned by Mr M. Z. De Ferranti. 

The car on the far left was photographed by Bowers in January 1957. It is a Phantom III in front of the Hooper factory at Park Royal, with cabriolet coachwork by Windovers on chassis 3CP116,  delivered to HH Prince Azam Jah Berar of Hyderabad in February 1938.

It was sold to the President of Portugal for use in a state visit by HM The Queen in 1957 to Lisbon. It is now in the Museu do Caramulo in Northern Portugal. There are other pictures of the car outside the works, so it probably was in for a coachwork overhaul before shipping to Portugal. The picture on the right comes from the late Lawrence Dalton's "Rolls-Royce - the Derby Phantoms", p390 and shows 3CP116 as originally built. Clearly it was more flamboyant then.

Having again shown some pre WWII cars, I am going to stay in that period for the next collection of pictures, but there shall be more post WWII stuff to come later. The first group is mainly of Hooper bodies, some of the pictures that came from Hoopers at closure, as well as some from Osmond Rivers' collection. Most are identified, but not all.

1912 40/50hp limousine on chassis 1893 for Mrs Meredith, wife of Sir Vincent Meredith, Chairman of the Bank of Montreal and a director of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Chilly for the chauffeur again. 1909 40/50hp chassis 60934 Hooper double landaulette fitted in 1913 for J. C. Williams Esq. of Caerhays Castle in Cornwall from whose garden came the Camellia X williamsii hybrids. This chassis originally carried a Rothschild of Paris landaulette built for the same owner. A cabriolet on a 40/50hp, possibly a 1920 chassis 31RE.
A 1920 40/50hp cabriolet on 40/50hp chassis 74PE. It has rather more weather protection for the driver as well as highlighting of the body mouldings. A 1920 40/50hp single cabriolet on a 40/50hp chassis. A c.1920 40/50hp two seater coup with a very strange dickey seat, at least with a little weather protection. The very curvy body outline is emphasised by the sham-caning (see later).
A 1925 New "Phantom" town Brougham on chassis 28RC for Miss Jardon. A classic example of this formal style. 1925 New "Phantom" chassis 39MC with a body described as a two seater tourer. Shown here with the hood down and on the right with hood up and dickey seat open. In Hoopers photographic record as for Rolls-Royce Ltd (India), but eventually sold to the Nawab of Bahawalpur.
New "Phantom" two- seater open body for D. Wheeler on chassis 7RC. This is a 1925 chassis photographed in 1929: it was originally carried a Hamshaw limousine for Sir Arthur Wheeler - possibly the owner's father? 1926 New "Phantom" chassis 125LC with a single cabriolet body for Mr E. Guinle. Definitely more spartan for the chauffeur than the cabriolets produced by Barkers that you will see later. 1926 New "Phantom" chassis 116TC with a two seater coup body. This does not appear to be a drop head coup. Note the polished alloy bonnet and scuttle. Also the downward extension of the windscreen line in Brougham style. This has a dickey seat, with step.
A 1929 Phantom II saloon limousine landaulette (the rear section of the roof folded down) on chassis 62WJ. It also has twin sunshine roofs. Originally in Spain for trials with Don Carlos de Salamanca, R-R local agent. 1930 Phantom II open touring body on chassis 148GN for C. H. Coates. 1931 Phantom II sports saloon on chassis 11JS. Shown on the R-R stand at the Olympia show. The original photograph captioned it as a Continental touring saloon, while the photo reference list calls it a saloon limousine.
1931 Phantom II allweather tourer on chassis 21JS for Captain R. Glen. The photo reference list calls it an open touring body, but open bodies were usually called allweather when fitted with wind-up windows, as this car. Some cars were also called allweather cabriolets. 1930 Phantom II chassis 54GX, originally a Barker cabriolet for Lt-Col. James Nockells-Horlick (of Horlicks Malted Milk), re-bodied in 1937 by Hoopers with a "utility limousine" for the artist Cecil Michaelis. Phantom III sedanca de ville, believed to be chassis 3AZ164, the Hooper 1936 Olympia and Scottish show car. The car was stated to be fitted with electric division and a stainless steel grid on top of the boot to hold golf clubs - not visible in this picture.
1937 Phantom III sports saloon on chassis 3BU34 for Sir Albert Bingham, Bt. Two views of Lord Iliffe's landaulette on 1937 Phantom III chassis 3BT19. This car is still owned by the family.


The next series moves away from Hoopers to Barkers, but with at least one body from neither of these. Several are unidentified, but I know that some of my readers will enlighten me. Most of these came from the late S. J. Skinner's collection; many had suffered from fungal damage when stored in file at Hoopers, but enough information is visible to make them worth including. An hour or so with photograph retouching software might achieve a better looking result. Having shown a run of Phantoms, the following are some more.

A New Phantom Barker sedanca - there is a join in the roof just rear of the passenger door that might mean this is a full cabriolet, but may just indicate the limitation in leather hides to fit the curvature of the roof. This is a similar body style and chassis to the picture on the left, but here it is definitely a full cabriolet with the ability to be driven in the "de ville" position with the roof open over the driver's compartment, or for the whole of the roof to fold down and the windows to wind into the doors, with the frames hinged flat as well. This body style, also on a New Phantom, was called a Torpedo tourer. A very similar body was fitted as a second body for one of the R-R experimental Sports Phantoms, but this appears to have some of the body in a polished finish, indicating that it might have been supplied to a tropical country.
1930 Phantom II chassis 133WJ, a Barker sedanca de ville for Lord Louis Mountbatten. Note the trafficator in the rear quarter. 1930 Phantom II chassis 46GX, a touring saloon by Carlton for Lawrence T. Locan. A very similar style of body to the design by H. I. F. Evernden for the prototype Phantom II Continental chassis 26EX. Not a Hooper body, but this is in the right date order with the others shown here. 1933 Phantom II chassis 69MW, a Barker 3 position sedanca drop head coup for Capt. Jocelyn Hardy. For a long time owned by the late Kenneth Neve and used to tow his TT Humber.


The next section is of the smaller horsepower R-R cars: the 20hp introduced in 1923 and the 20/25hp launched in 1929, followed by the 25/30hp in 1936. Most of these are Barker bodies, with a few Hooper ones mixed in. My apologies for the run of cabriolets, but they are there mainly for others to identify - I will substitute some other styles at a later date.

A 1925-6 20hp Barker tourer of a design called these days "Barrel-sided" because of the curvature of the body - necessary to give more elbow-room. A 1926 20hp Barker tourer on chassis GMJ77, probably described as a "torpedo tourer". Delivered to R. A. Foster Esq. in March 1927. Possibly the same person as Richard Foster, owner of 1911 40/50hp 1774 in the previous article, but several R. Fosters are in the records. 1927 20hp Hooper tourer on chassis GHJ8, supplied to C. H. Whittington Esq. A very similar design to the previous picture, but with deeper doors covering the bottom rail of the body. 
1926 20hp Barker open drive landaulette on chassis GUK51 for the use of H.E. The Governor of Singapore. A group of cabriolets: here a 1925-6 20hp Barker cabriolet of a fairly upright design, possibly chassis GYK85 . Note that the rear side windows are in two parts to allow them to wind down fully in the limited space above the rear mudguard. A 1925-6 20hp Barker cabriolet with a very similar size and style body to the centre New Phantom three pictures above this. R-R had a constant battle with coachbuilders to keep body weight down on the 20hp chassis
Another Barker cabriolet on a 1926-8 20hp chassis, even more similar in style to the centre one four pictures above.


Yet another Barker cabriolet on the 20hp chassis: Edward, Prince of Wales, had this style on a New Phantom, similar to one owned by Lord Louis Mountbatten at the time.


Rear view of a 1932 20/25hp Hooper limousine for G. S. M. Warlow on chassis GAU40, showing the arrangement for providing extra luggage capacity. It also shows well the grain direction and stitching of the leather roof.


Sham-caning - a digression. I mentioned in my first article on Hoopers and Barkers that the gold star pattern on Lady Docker's "Gold-plated" Daimler was effectively a reverse of the traditional sham-caning used on some coachwork. Prince Youssoupoff's car 7PB carried this style of decoration. The left hand picture below shows the door panel of his car enlarged.

The effect was achieved by laying lines of thick paint over a panel previously painted the same colour as the other body panels. Clearer detail of sham caning is shown in the centre picture, in this case on a coach at the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. It is possible to work out the sequence of application of the lines of paint: each direction of parallel lines was applied in two runs, overlapped by the next set of parallel lines. The horizontal pair was done first, then the vertical and then the diagonals bottom left to top right, then the diagonals top left to bottom right. I do not think that lining was ever done in broken strips later joined over applied lines in other directions. It would have achieved the perfect imitation of weaving over and under as in real caning, but would be nearly impossible to be done neatly. On the right is a 40/50hp single landaulette of around 1921 possibly chassis 76NE showing the way sham-caning was used to emphasize a formal rear body compartment. Note that the front vertical beading line turns forward at its lower part, a common feature of "Brougham" style bodies (named for Lord Brougham & Vaux). Occasionally the sides of the front compartment were narrower than the rear, to emphasize further the separation of the passenger compartment from the horseless carriage. Sham caning appears on and off right up to WWII and even was available as a self-adhesive plastic finish used on tarted-up Minis in the 1960s. 

Wood-graining - a further digression. Another finish was to imitate wood graining, usually that of oak, on the lower body panels. The 1925-6 20hp Barker cabriolet on the left even has the mudguards and valances grained, which somewhat loses the reality of the effect. An owner of a similar car commented to me that his had had the sides and top of the radiator grained as well! The central car is a very late 20hp Barker sedanca de ville of around 1929, Here the graining is limited to the body sides and bonnet. The right-hand car is extremely unusual as it is a very early (c.1924) 20hp Barker limousine, but with a fabric body (usually the covering was a cellulose painted canvas embossed to look like leather or shiny like patent leather, stretched over a wooden frame to give lightness and greater freedom from body rattles). Here it has been finished to look like upright wooden planking. Generally this style of finish was done only through the 1920s.


I will now continue with bodies of the 1930s.

Detail of the luggage grid and rear bumper, as well as the tool storage on possibly 1932 20/25hp GZU10, a limousine de ville for A. Mendel. Hooper photographic records list a picture of the Hooper-Fendex rear bumper. This may be it. Rear view of a 1932 20/25hp Hooper limousine for G. S. M. Warlow on chassis GAU40, showing the arrangement for providing extra luggage capacity. It also shows well the grain direction and stitching of the leather roof. 1932 20/25hp chassis GKT41 with sports open tourer for the Rajah of Mandi. Two similar designs of body were also fitted to 1933 Phantom II chassis also for India.
The 1932 Hooper 20/25hp Motor Show car, a saloon limousine (with division) on chassis GMU68. A photograph by an excellent motor car photographer, W. F. Sedgwick. Two Barker sedanca de ville bodies: this has faux cabriolet hood irons - the rear roof does not fold. It also has a Barker characteristic in the early 1930s: although the doors extend down to the running board, they are curved in earlier to lighten the look of the lower side of the body. The car on the right has this too. Possibly chassis GBT81. This sedanca de ville looks very like a saloon of the same period. Note that it has a leather or leathercloth roof, as the preceding car. At this time the trend was towards metal roof coverings. Also both these cars have developed an enclosing skirt at the rear of the front mudguards: "one-shot" chassis lubrication removed the need for access to oil the springs.
This is a 1931 20/25hp Park Ward saloon on chassis GOS8 to show another coachbuilder's similarity in style to the preceding car. This has the earlier mudguard style. The doors do not extend down fully to the running board. Apart from acquiring a luggage trunk, this Barker sedanca de ville has developed greater curvature in the running boards and skirts at the rear of both mudguards - a trend that continued through the 1930s.  The lower side of the waist moulding Barker styling change to a raked centre pillar was seen on saloons as well as sedancas. The lower side of the waist moulding has an elegant return curve down the front of the rear mudguard.
This limousine has formal "knife edges" to the roof and rear, somewhat in Brougham style. Note the opera lamp on the scuttle, often fitted to formal bodies. A 1934 fixed head coup with faux cabriolet hood irons (you can see semaphore trafficators fitted to the rear quarter). Tom Clarke suggests chassis GBA36, GBA81, or GNC65.  A sedanca coup in very similar style to the previous car, but with mohair covering to the de ville extension and the rear roof, making it appear less "faux".
It is difficult from side views to deduce the change from the 20/25hp to the 25/30hp. I am guessing that this is a 25/30hp sedanca de ville because it is a little more rounded in style than the one shown two rows above this. The "swept tail" styling came in the second half of the 1930s - Park Ward appeared to use it earliest on Rolls-Royce chassis. This is Barkers' interpretation of it for a sedanca de ville. Another style that was popular at this time came to be known as the "top hat" - this featured a slightly streamlined version of a formal Brougham style, but with knife edges to most surfaces, often with some reverse curvature on the panels. Freestone & Webb are well known for their "top hat" saloons, but clearly Barkers adopted it too - here for a sedanca de ville.
The same style appears here: a 1936 25/30hp chassis GTL23 with Brougham de ville coachwork and sham caning to emphasise the rear compartment. Finally of pre WWII designs, this is a 25/30hp "Wraith" fitted with a standardised limousine body by Park Ward. Not the most elegant, but a style used as an "official" car through WWII and for some time after.


For those of you more interested in post WWII bodies who have survived this far, I am now going to show some cars from a few Rolls-Royce publicity pictures of around the 1960s. Most of these are H. J. Mulliner and Bentleys, but there are some others. I lack chassis data for most of these, although they almost certainly may have been Motor Show cars.

Bentley S2 H. J. Mulliner drop head coup. A design derived very closely from the lines of the standard saloon Bentley S2 Continental with H. J. Mulliner two door saloon body, very similar in lines to the earlier S Type "fastback", but with more rear headroom and a conventional boot. This is the same body style as the previous car, but the twin headlamps show it is an S3 Continental.
The S3 version of the normal drop head coup, this time with the hood up. Interior of the H. J. Mulliner S3 Continental two door saloon. The earlier R Type Continental had similar instrumentation, but the seats were much lighter in construction as part of weight saving.  The other variant of the S3 Continental two door saloon, based on the design by Vilhelm Koren. It replaced the style above in 1963. This was a Park Ward body in S2 form, but at this stage had become Mulliner Park Ward. Later cars had a chrome strip down the body side.
Going back a little in time, this is a 1952 Silver Wraith Hooper limousine on chassis ALW10 for HRH the Duke of Gloucester. He later had a 1960 Phantom V James Young limousine design PV15. A James Young Phantom V limousine to design PV22, one of the most elegant of styles for the early 1960s. Interior view of a James Young Phantom V limousine to design PV15, a slightly heavier looking car, but with good views from the rear quarter windows and the ability to seat seven people in comfort.

Interior of a Park Ward Phantom V limousine to design 980, upholstered in cloth.


This ends the second article themed around original coachwork photographs. I recognise that it may have omitted some styles of body and over-emphasised others. In terms of survivors, the fashionable thing has been to go with coachwork that opens, as the cars are now often used for fun days out. When people build replica bodies, they often have copied tourer styles because they are cheaper to make than closed ones. Tourers were certainly not the most common styles made by the quality coachbuilders on Rolls-Royce cars any more than all W.O. design Bentley cars were replica Le Mans bodies. 

I think my next task may be to illustrate the different body descriptions used by coachbuilders, who, as you may have noticed in some cases earlier, did not use the same nomenclature for one of their own products, let alone between each other. I also intend to show pointers to identify individual coachbuilders bodies from features such as door handles, etc.

Colin W. Hughes & Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club 2005