Under the long and graceful bonnet of the Silver Ghost lurked a 454 cubic-inch L-head, six-cylinder, side valve engine. It had an aluminum alloy crankcase and a timing drive, and an ignition that was driven by gears. This engineering marvel ran without a puff of smoke and in complete silence. This accomplishment did much to boost the vehicles appeal. In a time when operation of a motorcar was noisy, smoky, and dirty, the Rolls-Royce reigned supreme.
This 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Torpedo Tourer was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. It was estimated to sell between $600,000 - $750,000. It is powered by a 7248cc six-cylinder engine capable of producing nearly 50 horsepower. There is a four-speed manual gearbox and rear wheel mechanically operated service and emergency drum brakes. There are four doors and it has right-hand drive.
The car was originally fitted with a Hooper Landaulette body planned to be exported to India. Plans changed, and the car was sent to New York City and into the care of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. On a voyage from New York to Liverpool aboard the Lusitania, the ship was attacked by a German U-Boat and sank in less than 20 minutes. It was reported that Mr. Vanderbilt worked heroically to save the lives of many of the passengers and help them get to lifeboats. Mr. Vanderbilt and his valet were among the many, over 1000 passengers, who lost their lives that day.
Ownership of the car passed to his wife who kept the car until the late 1920s. The history from this point to the 1950s is not known for certain. What is known is that by the late 1950s, the car was in the care of Mr. Charles E. Lowe of Wethersfield, CT. The chassis remained in tact, but the body had been removed.
Mr. Lowe kept the car for nearly 40 years. It passed to its next owner who commissioned a comprehensive restoration. Penny Coachbuilders of Kingham was commissioned to create a new torpedo tourer body. The body was built in the style of Portholme Motor Coachworks and mimicked the body created for 17RB. The exterior is finished in white with light green accents. The interior is finished in dark green leather. The hood is finished in polished alloy.
During the restoration, the car was treated to several upgrades to make it even more enjoyable on touring expeditions. There is an engine oil filter and temperature gauge, a socket for a cell phone, rear brake lights and turn signals.
Though it is not an original car, its recreation was done to high standards, with excellent attention to detail. All of the modern upgrades have been carefully concealed and its period attire is prominent throughout the vehicle. It is a vintage automobile with a few modern enhancements that will make it a pleasure to drive on long distance trips. Apparently, these features of the vehicle were greatly appreciated, as bidding drove the selling price above the estimated value. The vehicle found its next owner for the price of $852,500.