The poster car for this year's Los Angeles Concours d'Elegance was a very special Rolls-Royce brought out by the nice folks at The Petersen Museum. Although we doubt anybody over at Mercedes would admit it, this car appears to be the inspiration for the Maybach Exelero show car from a couple of years ago. OK, probably not, but both are huge black coupes that seem to have been fashioned for comfortably touring the underworld. The biggest difference is that this Rolls is 80 years older than the Maybach. Officially it is a 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Aerodynamic Coupe with coachwork by Jonckheere, but most people call it the "Round Door" Rolls. Originally delivered to its owner wearing a more humble Hooper Cabriolet body in 1925, it was sold to the Raja of Nanpara soon after. It changed hands again but stayed in England until 1934, when another owner sent it to Belgium to be re-bodied by Carrossier Jonckheere.
[Source: Car Collector]
Jonckheere was perhaps better known for building buses and trucks at the time, but the size of this thing probably qualifies it for one of those categories anyhow. They turned it into a massive 4-seat coupe with round doors, a sensational aerodynamic body, twin sunroofs, a large fin, and a sloping radiator shell that make it look so sinister. It's quite a remarkable car with an interesting history. Some say it passed through the hands of the Duke of Windsor before fading into obscurity and eventually being found almost completely deteriorated in New Jersey in the '50s. Since it was rediscovered, it has undergone a complete restoration and ended up at the Petersen Automotive Museum in 2001. Besides museum duty, this Roller has traveled the show circuit, including appearances at Pebble in 2005 and Meadobrook in 2006. We were fortunate that they added the 2007 L.A. Concours to that list. You really have to see this thing in person to believe it.