Many of the Rolls-Royce cars produced at the Springfield, Massachusetts factory were bodied by Brewster & Company. Rolls-Royce had purchased the New York coachbuilder in 1925. Brewsters catalog consisted of 28 body styles for the Phantom I chassis, a vast and dizzying array of vehicles certain to suite any buyers need. One of the more upscale styles was the Lonsdale, a 7-passenger limousine with sliding division window between the chauffer and passenger compartments.
This vehicle is a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Lonsdale Limousine with coachwork by Brewster. The original owner of this car was Edward Bausch. Mr. Bausch was the son of German-American optician John J. Bausch, who began producing eyeglasses in Rochester NY in 1853. By 1855, the elder Bausch's friend Henry Lomb had become his business partner as well. Bausch & Lomb's first significant success came with a line of eyeglass frames made from a hard rubber-like material called 'Vulcanite.'
When Edward Bausch passed away in 1944, an American Army Captain named Melvin Hooper acquired the Rolls-Royce. His busy travel schedule coupled with wartime gas rationing meant he did not keep it for very long.
The Captain sold 1,900 changes at a $1.00 each for a chance to own the Rolls-Royce. The winner was a young sailor stationed at Norfolk, Virginia. The car was delivered to him there, and it would remain at Norfolk until his discharge in 1946. The veteran then drove it cross-country to California, where his wife and baby awaited. Maintaining an aging Rolls-Royce was a challenge for the young family and the car soon changed hands again.
The fourth owner attempted a restoration, but failing health meant the project was put on hold. In 1975, it was purchased by its present (and sixth) owner. Since that time, the car has been treated to a professional restoration bringing it back to its former glory. It retains its original leather-covered trunk on the rear platform. The original clock is present in the division partition and the owner's manual and tool kit are still intact. The odometer reads just 57,000 miles since new.
In 2008, Lonsdale Limousine was offered for sale at the 'Quail Lodge, A Sale of Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia' presented by Bonhams Auction. The lot was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $140,000 but would leave the auction unsold.