1932 Chassis issued 10. 11. 32. Car despatched ex-works to Lillie Hall, Fulham on 21. 12. 32 as an “enclosed drive” and long-wheel-base, signifying a saloon body to be fitted. The designated body-builder was Georges Gangloff



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1932 Chassis issued 10.11.32. Car despatched ex-works to Lillie Hall, Fulham on 21.12.32 as an “enclosed drive” and long-wheel-base, signifying a saloon body to be fitted. The designated body-builder was Georges Gangloff SA Geneva. Engine number is E6H. On 3 January 1933, GRW59 is despatched by from Harwich to Europe on the Hook of Holland rail ferry.
1933 January. Joseph Rubin of 8. Rue de l’Aubepine, Geneva takes delivery of GRW59. The passage from England was arranged by A. Schmidt, a Geneva dealer in Rolls-Royce cars. Between 1923 and 1934 Joseph Rubin owned eight Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars. Rubin was an architect, garage-owner and entrepreneur who died in January 1938. 
Joseph Rubin owned the Grand Garage de la Place Ed Claparede in Geneva where he represented SS (later Jaguar) and Morris cars.
Research at the Archive de Geneve who contacted a Rubin grandson and subsequent correspondence has revealed that the Rubin family have long since been split by a bitter feud. This has severely hampered investigations. None of those Rubin family members approached wished to discuss either Joseph Rubin or his cars. At some point either Joseph Rubin or one and all of his business enterprises went bankrupt. Certainly some Rubin family members were disinherited. (correspondence available)
The Archive de Geneve nevertheless discovered the Permis de circulation(available) of GRW59. This document gives details of the original body specifications together with the insurer and insurance certificate number. In March 1933 GRW59 was registered in Geneva as a blue “conduite-interieure” (saloon). Only seven Roll Royce cars are listed as having their bodywork built by Georges Gangloff. Joseph Rubin owned four of them including GRW59 and GFT31.
1937-1938 August. GRW59 is re-bodied by Hermann Graber of Wichtrach near Berne. On January 11th 1938 Joseph Rubin died.
2003 The “Friends of Herman Graber Association” formally identified GRW59 as possessing a Graber body. The only other existing pre-war Graber bodied Rolls-Royce car is GZK58, re-bodied in 1933 by Graber as a Sedanca de Ville. Coincidentally, GZK58, built in 1926, was also originally bodied, as a tourer, by Georges Gangloff. GZK58 is in the care of the Swiss National Museum of Transport in Luzern and was previously thought to be the only example of a pre-war Graber Rolls-Royce. (album/cd of GZK58 photographs available). Extensive research was conducted by Richard Raynsford on GZK58 so that every detail of GRW59’s interior and exterior bodywork was restored immaculately in the precise pre WWII Graber style.
1933-1939 The GRW59 Rolls Royce service file records the car attending the Rolls-Royce service centre at Cricklewood in north London for work and adjustments (details available) on four occasions: (i) 16.10.1933 (ii) 08.05.1934 (iii) 13.09.34 and finally (iv) 07.08.1939, less than a month before the start of WW2, having just survived a 60 foot plunge into Lake Leman on 17.07.1939. 
1938-1945 On 9th November 2006, Urs Ramseier of the Swiss Car Register, a private organisation, contacted Richard Raynsford to say that he had partly identified the owner of GRW59 in 1939 as a brother of the King of Afghanistan, Shah Nader Khan (assassinated in 1933) who came to the throne in 1929 with the help his four brothers and T.E Lawrence (of Arabia) who was inserted into the British Embassy in Kabul from India where he was serving undedr deep cover as Airman Shaw. The four brothers were:
Sardar Shah Hashim Khan (Prime Minister 1929-1946), Sardar Shah Aziz Khan (murdered in 1933 by dissident Afghan student while serving as Ambassador to Berlin), Sardar Shah Mahmud Khan (CinC and Minister for War 1929-1946 then Prime minister 1946-1953) and Field Marshal HRH Sardar Shah Wali Khan Ghazi (b.1888 Dehra Dun India – d. April 1977 Rome) Shah Wali Khan is the most likely candidate as owner of GRW59 (938-1945). From 1929 until 1945, with a two year break between 1935-7 as deputy Prime minister, Shah Wali Khan represented his country in Europe as Envoy-Extraordinary and Minister-Plenipotentiary variously to the Court of St James, London, Quai d’Orsay,France and concurrently to Switzerland, Italy Belgium, and Poland.
Shah Wali Khan, in his role as Envoy-Extraordinary spent time with the Afghan Legation in Rome during 1944/5 which would explain the bizarre image of an Afghan Prince driving around Fascist Rome in a gas-guzzling, drop-head coupe, Rolls-Royce “enemy” car. This was outrageous behaviour which Mussolini would never have tolerated in a Roman citizen, especially at a time when the Axis powers were critically short of petrol. (Mussolini even objected to the presence of German Bosch carburettors in prize-winning Alfa-Romeo racing cars). Afganistan, the first country to recognise Mussolini's fascist regime in Rome through WWII enjoying most favoured status. 
Richard Raynsford is in close touch with the current Afghan ambassador, HE Homayoun Tanda, his predecessor HE, Dr Mohammad Rahim Sherzoy and the Afghan culture attaché, HE Wahid Parvanta. He is an official Friend of Afghanistan. By another remarkable coincidence, as a subaltern officer, he commanded the first division of the Life Guards when meeting the Late King of Afghanistan, HRH Mohammed Zahir Shah (1914-2007) during his state visit to England in December 1971. He will be shortly visiting the Afghan royal family living in Rome to present a memorial record of Field-Marshal, HRH Prince Ali Wali Khan’s Rolls Royce car to his grandson. 
1945-1947 In October 1945, GRW59 was acquired in Rome by the late Reverend George Irving (Director British Troops Welfare, Austria) and Secretary to the Huts and Canteens Committee on behalf of the Moderator of the Church of Scotland. The Rev Irving was then serving in Italy and Klagenfurt, South Austria. His widow Maybell (nee Swann), has written to Richard Raynsford stating that her husband acquired GRW59 as a staff-car from a “Prince Ali Wali of Abyssinia” through his Royal Army Service Corps driver “Jimmy Liam from Glasgow.” (photograph available) In 1946, the Rev and Mrs Irving toured Italy and Austria in GRW59 on their honeymoon. (correspondence with Mrs Maybell Irving available) Maybell Irving records these weeks as the happiest of her life. It transpired that the “princely” Roman owner of GRW59 was not Abyssinian but Afghan. The Rev and Mrs Irving return to Scotland in the spring of 1947.
1945 Lt/Colonel Eric Barrass, President (retired) of the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club, recalls seeing the car at Voitsberg when commanding the Reconnaissance Regiment of the 78th Division, then responsible for administering Klagenfurt District, South Austria.
1947 April. Major Jack Comyn, MBE 8th Hussars (who died in 2000 but lived to see GRW59 on her return to the UK, after 38 ramshackle years in USA) - (correspondence available) is posted to Vienna HQ BTA, (British-Troops-in-Austria). He requires private transport and on making enquiries discovers that there are in fact two Rolls-Royce cars, one a drop-head coupe, the other a saloon both apparently located at Klagenfurt District HQ.
Jack Comyn immediately investigates, finds this to be true and subsequently decides to try to buy the drop-head coupe GRW59. He discovers, to his surprise that both cars belong to the “Huts and Canteens Committee” of the Church of Scotland. His enquiries elicit an unconfirmed account of the car’s liberation in Rome during 1944 and previous ownership by an “Abyssinian Prince.”
Jack Comyn negotiates with the Moderator of the Church of Scotland and purchases the car for £550 (recorded in the 1947 CoS minutes - available). Jack Comyn then marries and like the Reverend Irving before him, goes on honeymoon in GRW59. Captain and Mrs Comyn were involved, in a head-on collision with an Austrian lorry. Both Jack Comyn and his wife Diana spend a fortnight in hospital. (correspondence available with the first Mrs Comyn, now Mrs Wordsworth, aged 90 years and living in Herefordshire was lately reunited with the car in which she was nearly killed)
Although the chassis was slightly twisted, no lasting damage was suffered by GRW59. The Comyns believed that they would not have survived had the car not been so solidly built.
Jack Comyn came to stay with Richard Raynsford at Eastington Manor, Glos in May 1998 where he viewed GRW 59 for the first time since 1948. Sadly, he died in May 2000.
NB The pre-war Rolls-Royce agent for Vienna (Schmidt) was still operating with enough spares to furnish GRW59 during the Reverend Irving’s and Jack Comyn’s consecutive tours of duty in Italy and Austria. 
1948-1950 Before being posted back to England in 1948, Jack Comyn sells GRW59 to Major Tom Evill DSO, CBE, Royal Engineers who was also posted to Klagenfurt District. Tom Evill brought GRW59 back to England, registering (documentation available) her on 2nd March 1950 with Berkshire County Council and was issued with licence plate FMO 730. He kept her in impeccable condition until 1960 when he sold her to his friend Colonel Malcolm Stewart Balmain. Tom Evill died aged only 56 years in 1967, his death sadly hastened by war wounds. (limited correspondence available)
1960-1962 "Mac" Balmain was Secretary to the Territorial Association in Argyllshire, a post which entailed a great deal of driving. Two years later, having had a new radiator fitted, GRW59 needed further repairs. These were going to be expensive so when Colonel Balmain was approached on Doncaster race-course by a dealer, much taken by the body-work, with an offer for £300, he sold GRW59 with much regret. (correspondence available). "Mac" Balmain was a well known character who lost a leg to a tiger in India while rescuing a small boy. GRW59 was the ideal car for him because it could comfortably accomodate his wooden leg.
1963-1997 GRW59 languishes in America, damaged, depleted and derelict, having passed through several owners who either did not appreciate the rare value of such a car or who lacked the will or finance to do anything about it. GRW59 was also nearly destroyed in a fire. (limited correspondence available)
1990-1998 Through a quite extraordinary coincidence, after a ten year search, Richard Raynsford finally locates GRW59 in Seattle, in September 1997. He immediately flies to America and buys the car from E. Lee Noble of Seattle, Washington in January 1998. GRW59 was shipped to England arriving at Felixstowe at the end of February 1998 to be stored at Eastington Manor, Glos. Since November 1998, GRW59 has been undergoing a meticulously researched, hand-built restoration by Fiennes Restorations Ltd, Clanfield, Oxon. In June 2010, GRW59 won first prize at the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club show at Rockingham Castle. Urs Ramseier, a selector, has suggested that GRW59 be invited to enter for the Concorso d’eleganza at Villa d’Este, Italy in May 2011. An invitation to the Concours d’elegance at Pebble Beach, California in August 2011 has already been extended by Philip Brooks (retired deputy head of the United States National Archive) of the Rolls Royce Owners Club of America.
Kelvin Price, a leading authority on 20/25 Rolls-Royce cars and Section Secretary South Wales for the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club, kindly undertook the role of Project Manager in the restoration of GRW59 to pristine, exhibition condition.
Authorities consulted: 
Scottish Public Record Office
National Archive of Scotland
Church of Scotland
Mrs George (Maybell) Irving
Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club
Kelvin Price Secretary South Wales branch RREC
Beaulieu Motor Museum
National Archive Kew
Imperial War Museum
John Shipman FCO
Royal Geographical Society Library
Museum of the REME (Brian Baxter)
British Library
Marco Markaus Rolls Royce Agent Milan
Automobile Club of Italy, Rome
Italian Consulate London
HM Embassy, Rome
Swiss Armed Forces
Swiss Museum of Public Transport
Swiss Service de Autos
Swiss Car Register (Urs Ramseier)
Friends of Hermann Graber Society
Klaus-Josef Rossfeldt (Vintage Car Historian Germany)
Le Temps Geneva
Tribune de Geneve
Biblioteque Universitaire de Geneve
Office Cantonal de la Population Geneva
The Crown Prince of Ethiopia, HRH Prince Asfa Wossan Aserate
Professor Pankhurst Addis Ababa
HE Dr Sherzoy Afghan Ambassador to the Court of St James
Wahid Parvanta Minister f Culture, Afghan Embassy, London

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