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Rolls-Royce used as front-line dental surgery at auction

By the end of 1916, the Rolls-Royce had been modified to incorporate a dentist’s chair in the rear. (Photo courtesy of Bonhams)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Thu. 4 July 2013


LONDON – A Rolls-Royce that was used as a mobile dental surgery during the First World War is expected to sell for an estimated £600,000 at an auction next week. The 1913 Silver Ghost London-to-Edinburgh Tourer was once owned by a dentist who volunteered for the Red Cross during the war and equipped the car with various dental equipment to treat injured service personnel.

According to Bonhams, one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, the Rolls-Royce was first bought by an Englishman for £1,016 (approximately £100,000/€117,195 in today’s money) in September 1913. It was later purchased by Auguste Charles Valadier in October 1915, a French-American dentist, who incorporated a dental chair, drills and the necessary equipment in the rear when serving in the British Red Cross Society.

Valadier, who was knighted and granted British citizenship after the war, was a pioneer in maxillofacial reconstructive surgery. He established the first unit dedicated to the treatment of facial injuries, which helped facilitate the later progress of plastic surgery for use in facial reconstruction.

After the end of the war, the coachwork of the Rolls-Royce was returned to limousine configuration and the car later served as a breakdown vehicle, complete with jib crane at the rear.

The car will be sold on 12 July as part of the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale with an extensive history file, including a copy of the army record of Auguste Charles Valadier.

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