The directors were obviously as impressed with the car as the public were when they first saw it displayed… the company’s future, based upon Royce’s intuitive design genius and the uncompromising standards of workmanship he set, clearly lay in the rapidly expanding area of luxury cars…’ – Edward Eves, ‘Rolls-Royce, 75 Years of Motoring Excellence’.
Although the 40/50hp model would in any event have earned its ‘The Best Car in the World’ sobriquet (actually first used by the Pall Mall Gazette in November 1911), Rolls-Royce’s decision to drop all other types only served to focus attention on what would become known as the ‘Silver Ghost’.
Prior to 1908, when it relocated to a new factory in Derby, the company founded by engineer Frederick Henry Royce and entrepreneur the Honourable Charles Stewart Rolls had manufactured a variety of models at its Manchester premises. Cars with two, three, four and six cylinders were made, and even an abortive V8, before Managing Director Claude Johnson’s decision to concentrate on the range-topping 40/50hp. The latter had first appeared at the 1906 London Motor Show and became known as the ‘Silver Ghost’
The heart of the Silver Ghost was its magnificent engine, a 7,036cc (later 7,428cc) sidevalve six equipped with seven-bearing crankshaft and pressure lubrication.
A sturdy chassis comprised of channel-section side members and tubular cross members was suspended on semi-elliptic springs at the front and a ‘platform’ leaf spring arrangement at the rear, though the latter soon came in for revision. The transmission too was soon changed, a three-speed gearbox with direct-drive top gear replacing the original four-speed/overdrive top unit in 1909. In the course of its 20-year production life there would be countless other improvements to the car, one of the most important being the adoption of servo-assisted four-wheel brakes towards the end of 1923.
This magnificent Rolls Royce Silver Ghost tourer has remained under the last ownership since 1991. The car has a post war barrel sided torpedo touring body fitted to it made from Aluminium over traditional ash framing. The body is well executed & rakish in the extreme. The paint is recently redone in Burgundy over Black so presents beautifully. To the interior is sumptuous newish buttoned maroon leather to all the seating surfaces with maroon carpets to the rear & black rubber floor matting to the front.
A side mounted spare sits on the running board as does a cabinet maker built open dovetailed battery box. The mahogany dash board contains a full quotient of period instrumentation. Mechanically the car is very sound having been looked after by the current owner who cut his teeth at Romseys famed Jack ‘O Lantern garage. The engine is very quiet & starts readily. Oil pressure is excellent & the car runs cool.
A full length split tonneau cover comes with the car. The hood of black canvas is in good condition and erects easily for inclement motoring. A hood bag keeps the ensemple tidy when in the down position.
Having just been serviced and having completed a recent trip to Amsterdam earlier in the month this wonderful Silver Ghost is in super order throughout & ready for extensive touring.