The rarest Rolls-Royce in the world is a piece of art

  • The Rolls-Royce Round Door could be the rarest model in the world
  • And it’s a stunning piece of art-deco design
  • But it started life looking very different to how it does now

Published on Jun 17, 2024 at 7:41 PM (UTC+4)
by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Last updated on Jun 20, 2024 at 7:32 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

You’ve heard of the Wraith, Cullinan, and the Boat Tail, but the Round Door is actually the rarest Rolls-Royce in the world.

Sitting in the Petersen Automotive Museum, it epitomizes the decadence of the pre-war art deco school of design – and it’s stunning.

In fact, it was the recipient of numerous car beauty contests all over France, pairing a unique combination of extravagant European coachwork on a conservative British chassis.

READ MORE: Watch as Drake creates one-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce Cullinan with unique customization

What you need to know about the Rolls-Royce Round Door

It was based on a 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I before being rebodied in 1934 by Jonckheere of Belgium.

It’s rumored to have been the inspiration behind Justin Bieber’s new Rolls Royce Wraith.

He also owns a Rolls-Royce Uriel that’s so strange it’s hard to keep your eyes off it.

The Round Door Rolls Royce was, of course, named after its almost perfect circular doors.

It features a centrally located window crank that opens the window in a fan pattern.

Despite its large size and commanding view from the front seat, space for rear passengers is limited.

Its unique history

As was common for Rolls-Royce during the pre-war period, the Phantom I was delivered as a mere chassis to a coachbuilder.

It was first delivered to body maker, Hooper & Co before the complete vehicle was delivered with cabriolet coachwork to its first owner in 1925.

One of the wealthiest women in the world at the time, Anna Dodge, was the widow of automobile pioneer, Horace Dodge.

Not a fan of its original body, she decided to transform it into a highly unique Art Deco vehicle – the Rolls-Royce Round Door.

It features dual sunroofs, an 18-inch rear fin, and a unique sloping grille shell.

Starting and driving the car involves multiple steps, reflecting its vintage engineering and substantial weight of 5,600 lbs.

The awards

Petersen Automotive Museum

After its transformation, the car was showcased at the Cannes Concours d’Elegance in 1936, where it was the recipient of the Prix d’Honneur.

After that glory, the car was sadly left to fall into disrepair and was in a junkyard surrounded by false claims that it had been owned by King Edward VIII.

After being saved from rotting in a car graveyard, it passed through the names of various owners.

Most recently, the car was acquired by the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, US, where it was meticulously restored and remains to this day.

After its restoration, it debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and won the prestigious Lucius Beebe trophy for the best Rolls-Royce.

It seems Rolls-Royce is going from strength to strength as, if you’d have bought shares just two years ago you’d have a staggering return on investment.

That could be down to their new strategy of showcasing the luxury cars at airshows for millionaire window shoppers.


Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

London-based Amelia cut her journalistic teeth covering all things lifestyle, wellness and luxury in the UK capital. Fast-forward a decade and the experienced content creator and editor has put pen to paper for glossy magazines, busy newsrooms and coveted brands. When her OOO is on you can find her spending quality time with her young family, in the gym or exploring the city she loves.