Brisbane's first Rolls-Royce turns 100!

The first Rolls-Royce in Queensland, chassis number ‘67HB’, recently celebrated its 100th birthday with owners Mark and Michelle Jansen, of Oldtimer Australia.

Brisbane's first Rolls-Royce turns 100!
'Rita' in all her glory.

The birthday bash at the couple’s classic-car showroom, saw many of the 100 guests dressed in theme.

Vintage crockery, background jazz music, tea and home-baked scones set the scene, among beautiful cars and eclectic automotive memorabilia.

As was the norm with many Rolls-Royces then, it was shipped to Australia as a rolling chassis, for a local coachbuilder to fit a body. Factory records confirm rolling chassis ‘67HB’ was completed May 31, 1923.

Peels Ltd of South Brisbane was commissioned to body the car, in an elegant tourer style. This was the only Rolls-Royce ever bodied by Peels Ltd.

‘67HB’ was sold by Rolls-Royce distributor, Brisbane Motors, to Tom Winterbottom, the licensee of the Hotel Carlton in Brisbane. He was a popular man and a philanthropist.

The Hotel Carlton was where Brisbane’s high society indulged. Given Winterbottom’s status, his purchase of the first Rolls-Royce from the newly-appointed distributor, featured in the The Brisbane Courier, Wednesday July 9, 1924.

The car has had several owners: George Gilltrap, of Gilltrap’s Gold Coast Auto Museum and Brisbane businessman and Rolls-Royce enthusiast, David Vann. A prior owner to Vann restored ‘67H8’ in the mid 1990’s.

Mrs Jansen named ‘67HB’ ‘Rita’, on its 100th birthday, in honour of her grandmother, also a centenarian. "If Grandma was alive today, she would’ve been pleased with our choice." she said. "Rita the Rolls-Royce, has a definite ring about it."

67HB is currently on display at the Brisbane Motor Museum on Nudgee Road in Banyo.

From Unique Cars #486, Dec 2023

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