- The Washington Times - Friday, April 19, 2002

Only one 1933 Rolls-Royce Park Ward Close Coupled Saloon was manufactured and Ace Rosner of Washington has owned it since 1969.
Thirty-five years ago, when he was stationed at the American Embassy in London, an American acquaintance approached with a request.
The fellow American who had recently fallen under the seductive spell of antique Rolls-Royce motor cars, enlisted Mr. Rosner in his effort to locate a fine old Rolls-Royce for his collection.
Mr. Rosner agreed to assist in the search for a car. He was instructed that an ordinary car would not be acceptable it had to be special.
"Within a few months I found the one-off Rolls-Royce in a London suburb," Mr. Rosner recalls. "It was tan with a black roof."
Best of all, it was for sale.
It was just what his friend was looking for. He bought the car and sent it off to an English restoration shop. The restorers disassembled the hand-built car in order to determine what restoration would require, as well as to estimate the cost.
With the car in pieces the friend lost interest when he learned what the cost of restoration would be. He wanted out of the deal. Because Mr. Rosner also liked the car, a deal was made. "I bought the car in parts," Mr. Rosner said.
The handsome body had to be dismantled so that the wood framing, which forms the skeleton, could be rebuilt.
Some of the aluminum body panels were replaced as the car was reassembled on the massive chassis, according to Mr. Rosner.
As with most restorations, this one took longer and cost more than expected.
Mr. Rosner left England in 1971 with the car still in the throes of restoration. "The bills kept coming," Mr. Rosner remembers. "They never ended."
In the summer of 1974, 4 years of restoration later, word came that the car was complete. Mr. Rosner flew to England to inspect his treasure and pronounced it a "beauty." After arranging to have it shipped from London to Baltimore, he flew back to Washington to await his Rolls-Royce.
What could go wrong now?
Notified that the ship with his car had arrived, an anxious Mr. Rosner raced up to Baltimore. His car had made the Atlantic crossing unscathed.
With 22 gallons of fresh gasoline in the tank, Mr. Rosner merrily set off for home in his newly restored Rolls-Royce rolling on 6.00x18-inch tires.
He was in the right lane as he entered the Baltimore tunnel. That's when the six-cylinder engine started to cut off. It coughed and sputtered as Mr. Rosner progressed to the bottom of the tunnel where it quit. "It was so embarassing," Mr. Rosner painfully recalls.
A firefighter in a Jeep entered the tunnel from the south. After halting all traffic, he turned around and with a tow chain hauled Mr. Rosner in his Rolls-Royce out of the tunnel to safety.
After a quick charge was administered to the battery, the car started. "I drove it home nonstop," Mr. Rosner recalls.
The next day the car again would not start. That's when Mr. Rosner remembered some advice, from where he didn't recollect, about cleaning the electrical brushes in the starter with gasoline.
He substituted starter fluid for gasoline and evidently didn't wait long enough for the fluid to evaporate. When he pushed the starter button on the dashboard, a bystander shouted, "Your car's on fire."
He hopped out of the car and someone handed him a bottle of what he thought was water. Instead, it was alcohol-based windshield washer fluid that caused the fire to spread to Mr. Rosner's hand.
With blistered skin, Mr. Rosner used a nearby garden hose to extinguish the flames. His car fared better than he did since he was laid up for two months with third-degree burns.
The car was in good health after the starter was rebuilt.
During the restoration Mr. Rosner had his car painted a burgundy color accented with gold pinstripes to match the leather top covering. The leather upholstery is the same color, while the carpeting is tan.
Glass rain shields above each door permit ventilation on rainy days while staying dry.
When the car left the factory it had a single wiper for the driver. Since then, the Ministry of Transportation in all its wisdom has directed all cars be fitted with two windshield washers, which this car had installed during restoration. Never mind that there is only one electric wiper.
At the hub of the four-spoke steering wheel are throttle control and ignition advance levers, as well as one for adjusting the downdraft carburetor. The 14 vertical shutters in front of the radiator are thermostatically operated.
At the upper center of the splendid wooden dashboard is the turn-signal control. "It's like an egg timer," Mr. Rosner explains. It stops the signal from flashing after a proscribed length of time.
Each door is fitted with a convenient leather storage pocket. Sitting in the cozy back seat with its fold-down center armrest is akin to sitting in a cave. There are no side windows.
Visibility may be lacking, but that is more than compensated for with style. "She's really a beauty," Mr. Rosner exclaims.
A stylish bustle holds any luggage or cargo. At the lower edge of the trunk is a pair of "D" taillights above the fantail exhaust deflector.
At the other end of the car are the nine-inch P80 headlights.
Although the speedometer optimistically registers speeds up to 80 mph, Mr. Rosner concedes that when new it was tested at a top speed of 68 mph.
"I run it between 40 and 45," Mr. Rosner said.
As for fuel economy, Mr. Rosner remarks, "It delivers an honest eight miles per gallon on good days."
The dual side-mounted spare tires are mounted, like the four on the ground, on 56-spoke wire wheels. Rearview mirrors are strapped to the top of the sidemounts.
Five rubber ribs protect the painted surface of the running boards as passengers enter and exit through the huge doors. Each door is supported by three hefty hinges.
Whenever Mr. Rosner takes his 1933 Rolls-Royce out on the road for exercise, he can't help thinking, "It's a grand old bus."

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