1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Shapiro-Schebera Skiff
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
The 1906 Tourist Trophy Race was won by a Rolls Royce, beating their nearest competitor by a full 27 minutes. The accolades continued with 15,000 mile reliability run of 1907. The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost finished the event and required an incredible £22s 7d to restore it to as-new specification (or about $10 at 1907 exchange rates).
The Silver Ghost was a mechanical marvel for its day. It had an L-head, six-cylinder engine that displaced 454 cubic-inches and had side valves. There was an aluminum alloy crankcase and a timing drive and ignition that was driven by gears, in-place of chains. The timing gears were made of phosphor bronze and nickel steel, which were ground and polished by hand. The crankshaft itself was ground to an accuracy of .025 on its bearing surfaces and then hand polished to remove any minute scratches left by the grinder. All this tedious and hard work translated into an engine that ran silently and without a puff of smoke.
54PB was placed on test on April 29th, 1914. The original owner was Mr. F. Herman of Brussels, Belgium. Five years later, it was still in Brussels, now in the care of a Mr. A. Lancer.
It is unknown if the car was delivered from the factory as a bare chassis or if it was given coachwork before entering the care of Mr. Herman. When it was in the care of Mr. Lancer, it is still unknown if the car had even been driven or if it was still a bare chassis.
Ernst Schebera founded Carrosserie Schebera GmbH in Berlin in 1911. In 1919, Jacob Shapiro became the managing director. After Shapiro lost a fortune in the stock market during the recession of 1922/23, NSU took over the coachbuilding business. The name was changed to Karosseriewerke Schebera AG, and Shapiro's association with the firm officially ended.
54PB wears coachwork that reads 'Shapiro - Schebera.' This places the body some time after 1919 and before 1922 (or possibly up to 1925). The factory records display no other owners of 54PB until 1925, when it was purchased by Messrs. A. Souraty & Cie of Cairo, Egypt. It is believed that they were automobile agents who subsequently passed the car on to Mr. Achmed Naguib Bev, also of Cairo, in 1926.
The next recorded owner is Gregory Malacos of Cairo, in 1947, followed by H. Williamson of Cairo in 1949, and then Mr. Platt. Dr. Robin O. Barnard of Chiddingfold, Surrey, and Mr. H. Vivian of London, learned of the car in 1956. Mr. Platt offered to loan them the car if they returned it to England and restore it as needed. Restoration work began and since it remained in good condition, only minor work was needed.
Mr. Pratt visited London and his newly restored car and was pleased with the work. He decided to sell the car to Dr. Barnard and Mr. Vivian and they became the joint owners. It would remain in their care for nearly three decades. It went to the next owner, and finally, in 1985, it was acquired by Bob Barrymore of California.
German automotive historian Hans Newbauer believes that the car was penned by Ernst Neuman-Neander. This belief is reinforced by the work performed by Mr. Neuman-Neander for several other German clients around 1920, with a similar style. The boat-tail Skiff body is undeniably unique and the level of craftsmanship required to create such a detailed body is unimaginable.
The wood appears to be of two different species; the body and side panels in mahogany and the deck in cherry or something similar. The gauges appear to be original, including the very rare Elliot Brothers speedometer. There is a Boa Constrictor horn, a raked vee windshield, and an original four-speed gearbox.
The current owners had the car sent to RM Restorations in 2004, where it was given a new convertible top and side-mount covers. Additional work was performed, bringing it back to its original condition. It was shown at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and participated in the adjoining tour. It received a Grand Marshall Award at the Cranbrook Concours and a Chief Judge Award at the Concours d'Elegance of the Eastern United States.
In 2009, this Silver Ghost Boat-Tail Skiff was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona presented by RM Auctions. The lot was estimated to sell for $1,500,000 - $2,000,000. A high bid of $725,000 was not enough to satisfy the reserve and it was left unsold.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2010
|Auction Sales Information|
|Auction||Automobiles of Arizona|
|High Bid (Lot was not sold)||$725,000|
|Auction||RM Auctions - Automobiles of London|
|Sale Price||$773,402 (£473,000.00)|