A century-old Rolls-Royce which was used during World War I as a frontline dental surgery is expected to fetch £800,000 at auction.
• A century-old Rolls-Royce ‘Silver Ghost’ expected to fetch £800,000 at auction
• Car was used as a frontline dental surgery in World War I and was bought for £1,016 in 1913
The Rolls-Royce ‘Silver Ghost’ London-to-Edinburgh Tourer cost £1,016 when it was bought new by a wealthy Englishman in 1913.
French-American Auguste Charles Valadier took the Roller off his hands two years later while volunteering for the British Red Cross.
Valadier became instrumental in the development of maxillofacial reconstructive surgery during the war, working on soldiers who were injured by shrapnel and rifle bullets.
And he used the stunning Rolls-Royce to carry out facial work on personnel while he was stationed at Boulogne, even modifying the rear to accommodate a dental chair.
During the war, one colleague said: “In Boulogne there was a great fat man with sandy hair and a florid face, who had equipped his Rolls-Royce with a dental chair, drills and the necessary heavy metals. The name of this man... was Charles Valadier.”
The dental pioneer served throughout the war, attaining the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1919 and being knighted in 1921, having been granted British citizenship the previous year.
In the Rolls-Royce’s later life, it was converted back to its traditional limousine coachwork and also served as one of the world’s poshest breakdown vehicles - complete with jib crane at the rear.
It has been owned by the Flather family from Sheffield since 1965 and they have now decided to sell it at Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed auction on July 12.
The car is offered with an extensive history file including a copy of the army record of Auguste Charles Valadier.
Experts at Bonhams have estimated the Roller could fetch upwards of £800,000 when it goes under the hammer at the prestigious sale in West Sussex.