THE world's oldest Rolls-Royce is to go under the hammer in Leominster next week.

Found slumbering in a barn in Wales, the 1922 Goshawk prototype is thought to be the most ancient 20 horsepower Rolls Royce of its kind in existence.

Nicknamed ‘Cinderella’ by the development team – chassis 6G2 was eventually pensioned off in October 1925 and sold to a G Palgrave-Brown of Suffolk.

It was then kept until the late 1940s – at which point it vanished from view and was widely assumed to have been scrapped until it was discovered in 1996.

That discovery sparked five years of intensive research which proved that the car was one of seven ‘Goshawk’ experimental prototypes trialled by Rolls-Royce in France and England in 1922.

The relic is set to go under the hammer at Brightwells’ Easter Court site in Leominster next Wednesday.

James Dennison, of Brightwells, said the car – expected to sell for between £25,000 and £30,000 – is a “nice find”.

“It’s got quite a reasonable estimate,” he said. “Normally, a good Rolls Royce 20hp would be expected to be about £40,000 but because of the history behind this one, we think it will be worth around £150,000 once totally restored.

“There was another car called the 4G2 that had been previously considered to be the oldest in the world and that changed hands for around £140,000.”

Research on the car included analysis of the frame and analysis of where the mounting points on the chasse were.

Forensic experts also used old photographs to verify its authenticity.

“It was a very detailed process of research that finally identified what it was,” James said. "Three leading Rolls Royce experts all corroborated their belief that this was the oldest of its kind."

The Goshawk’s engine is believed to reach a top speed of between 47 and 50mph on a road with suitable conditions.

James said that although the car could be worth around £150,000 when fully restored, a lot of work will be needed to get it to that value.

“I imagine it will go to a collector or possibly a museum but it does need to be someone prepared to spend quite a lot of money on it,” he said.

“When it’s finished people will want to see it and I’m sure it will get invited to a lot of events. It’s a ticket for quite an interesting life for whoever takes it on.”