Built by the firm Crossley Brothers in Manchester, Sir Kenneth Crossley bought Combermere Abbey in 1919, and Sarah Callander Beckett, his great-granddaughter, is the current owner.
The 20.9 Saloon and its stable-mate, the 18/50, were described by one car magazine of the time as offering “comfortable and refined high speed travel”. Approximately 1,200 were made, but very few survive today. These cars had 3.2 litre straight-6 engines and were rated by the Royal Automobile Club as producing 20.9 horsepower – hence the name.
In 1927 a fleet of seven of these cars was used by the Duke and Duchess of York – who become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later The Queen Mother) – for the Royal Tour of New Zealand, and a further twelve for that of Australia shortly afterwards. The ones actually used by the Duke had red glass in the side lights for identification purposes.
In 1927 a Crossley 20.9 cost between £700 and £850, depending on the exact body style and the options ordered (which could include a built-in valve radio!).