Rolls-Royce automobiles are special in their own right - among the finest in the world. This Rolls-Royce is a bit more special as it was owned by the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes during his halcyon Hollywood years.
This automobile is known as a 'Springfield Rolls-Royce,' since the car was manufactured in Rolls-Royce's American plant in Springfield, Mass. (operational from 1920 until 1931). The Pall Mall Tourer body was built by Rolls-Royce Custom Coachworks in New Haven, Conn. The body style is attractive and functional, ideally suited for countryside touring.
This was the last year for the Silver Ghost; it was succeeded by the Phantom I. The Silver Ghost was powered by a six cylinder motor that developed 120 brake horsepower.
Chassis number S226PL is a Merrimac-build Pall Mall tourer. It is a left-hand drive example with a three-speed central-change gear box and dual ignition.
The Merrimac Body Co. was formed in January of 1920 by some of the principals from the J.B. Judkins Co. at Amesbury, Massachusetts. Judkins had received a large order from Mercer and needed additional space to build open bodies. Thus a new factory was constructed at nearby Merrimac, also called West Amesbury. Though it is sometimes described as a subsidiary of Judkins, Merrimac was actually a separate company. They specialized in tourers and roadsters for such customers as DuPont, Franklin, Locomobile and Mercer, in addition to Rolls-Royce.
The Great Depression was a difficult period of time, and Merrimac suffered along with the rest of the country. They essentially ceased coachbuilding in 1931, but remained in business, doing upkeep and refurbishment for customers until 1934.
This vehicle is believed to have been used by Ella Hughes, wife of Howard Hughes. It remained in Houston after they moved to Hollywood, where Hughes was embarking on a career as a film director and producer. It is believed to have remained in storage at Houston for over 5 decades. In May of 2005, the car was purchased by the current owner and then treated to a complete, frame-off restoration. Upon completion, it was invited to the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where it was awarded Second in Class.Also photographed at :