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1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost news, pictures, specifications, and information
Piccadilly Roadster
Chassis Num: S304RK
Sold for $132,000 at 2009 RM Auctions.
Production of the Silver Ghost's began in 1907 and would continue for nearly two decades. The name 'Silver Ghost' was taken from the silver Baker-bodied tourer built for Managing Director Claude Johnson. It had been christened the 'Silver Ghost', a name that would soon become legendary and a house-hold name.

In 1919, Rolls-Royce acquired a factory in Springfield, Massachusetts. Brewster, along with other prestigious coachbuilders, were tasked with building bodies for the Silver Ghost. A number of these coach-built bodies left the factories under the hallmark of Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work.

This car, chassis number S304RK, originally wore a Pickwick division limousine body, as described by John Webb deCampi's book Rolls-Royce in America. In modern times, the car carries a Piccadilly roadster body. Both of these bodies were created by Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Works. It was a common practice to re-use the chassis when the owner brought it back to the factory. The outdated body would be removed and a new body would be fitted. The chassis were often in great condition and traveled only a small number of miles, making them excellent candidates for re-use.

This car was purchased by Dr. Atwood in 1987. It is painted in two shades of red and there is a tan canvas top. The seat and door panels are finished in brown leather and there is matching brown carpets.

Between 1921 to 1926, there were 1,703 Silver Ghosts produced in Springfield. Power was from an L-head inline six-cylinder engine that offered 40/50 horsepower. This car has a three-speed manual transmission, four-wheel mechanical brakes, and a wheelbase size of 143.5-inchs

In 2009, this Piccadilly Roadster was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona presented by RM Auctions. The lot was estimated to sell for $80,000 - $110,000 and offered without a reserve. The lot was sold for the sum of $132,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
Piccadilly Roadster
Coachwork: Merrimac
This attractive Rolls-Royce features custom coachwork by Merrimac Body Company, which was the largest supplier of bodies to the American-based Rolls-Royce manufacturing operation in Springfield, Mass. (1920-1931).

The car was retrofitted at the Rolls-Royce Springfield factory with four-wheel brakes (mechanical), vertical radiator shutters, 7.00 x 21 'balloon' tires and hydraulic shock absorbers. In addition, the top was lowered.

In May 2007 the current owner drove the car more than 7,000 miles on tours in the United States and in the Alps. The car has participated in the Silver Ghost Centennial in England and Scotland as well as Extreme Mountain Driving in the French and Swiss Alps.
Piccadilly Roadster
Coachwork: Merrimac
Chassis Num: 364RK
This 1925 Silver Ghost, serial #364RK, was purchased new on August 2nd of 1926, by Mr. Henwar Rodakiewitz of Buzzard's Bay, MA. This car was his daily driver for over 50 years. In an interview with CBS television in 1972, Mr. Rodakiewitz commented that he has 325,000 miles on the odometer. This car, dubbed 'Celeste,' has made over a dozen trips through Canada, the U.S. deep South to the West Coast over all kinds of roads, some of which were barely passable.

Rolls-Royce rebuilt the engine at 90,000, 170,000 and 240,000 miles and it is due for another rebuild now. the car has seen numerous paint jobs, etc., but still retains its original Piccadilly Roadster body which was built by Merrimac Body Co. of Merrimac, MA. It is rare today to see a car, such as this, with nearly 400,000 documented miles in its original form. The only exception is the double bar bumpers and modern Hall head lamps that Henwar added for safety.
Riviera Town Car
Coachwork: Brewster
Chassis Num: 390XH
In 1921, Rolls-Royce opened a plant in Springfield, MA, to make the Silver Ghost. These cars were almost identical to the British manufactured examples including right hand drive. There were minor differences from the U.K. versions such as the wheels, tires, lamps, electrical system, and battery. Otherwise the specifications were identical and they were made to the same high-quality standards. The engine was a 7.4 liter 6-cylinder producing about 85 horsepower. In 1925, the Springfield cars changed to left hand drive.

This Silver Ghost Riviera Town Car, serial number 390XH, is one of the most opulent Rolls-Royces. The Riviera design was considered the epitome of Brewster coachwork. Fine carriage lamps are mounted behind the mahogany trimmed chauffeur's compartment while the passenger compartment is upholstered in tan broadcloth embellished with an elaborate petit-point design. All hardware is gold-plated and the wood garnish moldings are inlaid in a floral marquetry pattern of rare woods handcrafted in Venice, Italy, by order of the original owner.

Brewster was purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1925, and the Springfield factory would fit the chassis with temporary seats and drive them from the Massachusetts plant to the Brewster factory in Long Island to be bodied.

This 1923 Springfield Rolls-Royce was originally fitted with a Pall Mall Touring body and sold to Mr. W.H. Harley who sold it back to Rolls-Royce in 1929. The body was removed and replaced with this beautiful Riviera Town Car made by Brewster. The Riviera model is considered one of Brewster's most beautiful creations. The two-person rear seat is in an enclosed cabin, while the front row is open-air. Only six Springfield Ghost Riviera Town Cars were made, and this example is thought to be the only example still in existence.

A.L. Humes of New York City took delivery on December 7th of 1929. While in his care, the car received the floral fabric upholstery on the rear seat, Venetian mahogany inlay, and the gold-plated trim and accessories.

It was later sold to collector Dr. Erle Health of Pittsburgh who had a full 100-point restoration done. Under Dr. Heath's ownership it won many awards, including the Scher Trophy for the best Silver Ghost at the RROC Annual Meet in 1973.

Dr. Heath sold the car in the 1980s and it subsequently passed through three more owners until collector Robert Pass acquired it in 2010 and had it reconditioned. It then won Best in Class at Amelia Island in 2012, and was shown at Pebble Beach in 2013 before joining the current owner's collection in 2014.
Town Car
This automobile was and still is tops in the 'prestige field.' This vehicle was personally owned by Rudolph Valentino, of the silent screen era. The body paint was intentionally alligatored when new to create the effect of leather-covered body.

Source - Luray Cavern Museum
Piccadilly Roadster
Coachwork: Merrimac
Chassis Num: S77LK
Sold for $550,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company.
This right-hand drive Springfield Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster is one of the last right-hand drive Springfield cars. It was delivered on April 15th of 1925 to Samuel S. Conrad, owner of a Boston department store and a celebrated yachtsman. It was beautifully finished in turquoise and green with a black beltline and fenders. Mr. Conrad sold it to a California owner in 1939 who sent it to Phoenix for repairs. It was never reclaimed and in 1944 it was sold again and the new owner drove it to attend the 1949 Indianapolis 500. Later that same year it was sold to a 16-year old in Sonora, CA and this was his first Rolls-Royce. It remained in his care for the next sixty years until a previous owner acquired it from his estate in 2009.

Many Rolls-Royce bodies of the period were named after fashionable areas of London like Pall Mall, Mayfair, and Piccadilly - and this body is one of the sportiest. A restoration was begun on this Silver Ghost in 1979 and finished in time for the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

This Piccadilly Roadster features a water-cooled side valve 7.43-liter 6-cylinder engine with 86 horsepower and is capable of 78 mph. The car has high compression pistons and electric overdrive making it a powerful and reliable tourer.
Playboy Roadster
Coachwork: Brewster
This Springfield Silver Ghost was delivered new on 9/12/25 with a Pall Mall Phaeton body built by RRCCW Merrimac. In 1932, the Pall Mall body was removed and a Playboy Roadster body built by Brewster & Co. of New York was put on this chassis. At that time some of the nickel plated components such as the headlights were updated by being chrome plated.

The Playboy Roadster is a very attractive design with its low windshield and swooping rear deck with a rumble seat. These were popular as a second body for used Rolls-Royces with an out-of-date limousine body.

Playboy Roadsters are quite rare. There were only 15 built for the Silver Ghost chassis and not all of those survive today.

The current owners are the eighth owners and have had the vehicle since 2001.
Piccadilly Roadster
Coachwork: Brewster
This Piccadilly Roadster has completed over 30,000 miles by the current owners since 1988. It has toured throughout the United States, all the Canadian Provinces, New Zealand, Austria, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Hungary, Italy and Germany.

This Silver Ghost was built in Springfield, Massachusetts, where it acquired a Brewster Body. It was last restored in 1952.
Coachwork: Merrimac
Named by Autocar magazine as 'the best car in the world' in 1907, the Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost was produced both at the Derby, England, factory from 1907, and from 1921 until 1926 by the Springfield, Massachusetts, factory. The name 'Silver Ghost' originally applied only to one car: chassis number 60551, registered AX 201, to emphasize its smooth, quiet, 'ghost-like' running. The name was taken up by the press, however, and it stuck.

The Silver Ghost sports a 453 cubic-inch straight-6 engine producing approximately 48.6 horsepower, a Royce 2-Jet Type carburetor, 3-speed manual transmission, mechanical rear brakes, live-axle front suspension with semi-elliptical springs and live-axle rear suspension with centilever leaf springs.

This example is one of the 'Springfield Ghosts,' of which about 1,700 were manufactured. It was built on the slightly shorter, 144-inch wheelbase as opposed to the 150.5 inch wheelbase. Their drum headlights, tubular bumpers, and left-hand drive for models produced in 1925 and 1926 distinguish them from their English cousins. The Springfield cars are also more uniform in their bodywork, as most of them - unlike this example - were bodied by Brewster.

It is the 31st Ghost to be equipped with left-hand drive, and one of only 46 Pall Mall Tourer bodies produced by the Merrimac Body Company in 1925. Originally used as a demonstration car for the New York City dealership, it was priced at $12,903 and was eventually sold to an A. Hardart of Pelham, New York in March 1927. The current owners acquired it in 2013.
In 1906 a new model, the 40/50 horsepower, was developed wîth a longer chassis and a six-cylinder engine. The popularity of the new Rolls-Royce grew quickly as it developed a reputation for smoothness, silence, flexibility and, above all, reliability. In 1907 a writer from the 'Autocar' described riding in the Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp as '....the feeling of being wafted through the countryside.' Engineers at Rolls-Royce coined the word 'waftability' to encapsulate that sensation. Today it is a word that cannot be found in any direction but it is a key design and engineering criterion.

The twelfth 40/50 produced had all its fittings silver-plated and the coachwork painted in aluminum paint. This car became known as the Silver Ghost and is probably the most famous car in the world. The name was later adopted for all the 40/50 hp car and had an immediate international impact, enhanced by the coachbuilders of the day, who could produce bodies of breathtaking beauty. The Silver Ghost was, quite simply, in a class of its own.

The motor car's versatility is legendary. It overwhelmingly won every reliability trial and distance record, dominated the great Alpine Trial of 1913 and won the Spanish Grand Prix of that year.

In May 1907, Claude Johnson drove the car to Scotland and back. This run was a precursor to the Scottish Reliability Trial for which the motor car was later awarded a gold model by the RAC.

The original idea was to drive 10,000 miles without stopping the engine, but the Silver Ghost proved so reliable that the target was raised to 15,000 miles. Despite a stall at 629 miles, when rough roads shook the petrol switch to the off position, the Silver Ghost ran faultlessly for 40 days and nights.

A further challenge was designed by Napier for Rolls-Royce to compete against them in a run from London to Edinburgh followed by high-speed runs at Brooklands. But the challenge was to complete the distance without changing gear, as opposed to how far you could travel. The car, driven by Ernest Hives, averaged 24.3 mpg between London and Edinburgh and attained a speed of 78.2 mph at Brooklands.

As an armored car in the First World War The Silver Ghost delivered exemplary service to the extent that Colonel T.E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) is quoted as saying, 'A Rolls in the desert is above rubies'.

In more elegant guise the Silver Ghost was the choice of the rich and famous across the globe. Kings, queens, maharajas, tsars and emperors owned them. The demand for the Silver Ghost was so high that manufacture was started in the Únited States in 1921 and continued in production wîth worldwide success until 1925.

Source - Rolls-Rocye Motor Cars Limited
The Rolls-Royce vehicles have always been the pinnacle of design, technology, and ambiance. The loudest noise that could be heard by occupants of their vehicles was said to be the clock. In 1904 engineer Frederick Henry Royce joined with the entrepreneur and businessman, the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls. This union became known as the Rolls-Royce Company.

The Silver Ghost became available in 1906 and brought with it quality and technology to a level that had never been seen before on a motor vehicle. Most engines of the time had long and flexible crankshafts that were prone to vibration and noise. The Rolls-Royce engines had large bearings and pressurized oiling systems, secured by seven main bearings. This was then enclosed in a strong aluminum alloy crankcase eliminating much noise and creating a pleasurable driving experience for the occupants of the vehicle. The crankshaft had an accuracy of .00025 on its bearing surface. They were hand polished to remove any surface cracks left by the grinder. Instead of using noisy chains to drive the ignition, Royce used gears. Phosphor bronze and nickel steel were used in the construction of the timing gears which were then ground and polished by hand. The engine was further shortened by casting in triplets. Cooling problems and leaks were eliminated by the removable cylinder blocks and fixed heads. A Royce designed twin jet carburetor gave the engine all the breathing it required.

The Rolls Royce vehicles could accelerate from zero to top speed without shifting. Shifting during the early 1900's was a chore, with the lower gears never being smooth. It was not until top gear was achieved that the automobiles would operate properly. The Rolls-Royce Ghosts would accelerate as though they were being pulled. This feature, coupled with the vehicles silent operation amplified the vehicles prestige and was the ultimate driving experience of its day.

When first introduced, the Ghosts were given a four-speed gearbox with a direct drive third and an overdrive fourth. As time passed, the overdrive was dropped. The chassis was mostly conventional. Royce had fine-tuned the chassis to standards much higher than most marque's of the day. The body was held in place by a live rear axle carried in three quarter elliptical springs. In the front there was a solid axle supported by semi-elliptic leaf springs. Braking was by a food pedal connected to a transmission brake. A hand brake operated twin rear drums.

Where Royce excelled in engineering, Rolls excelled in promoting and marketing. In 1906 a Ghost was entered in the Tourist Trophy Race, one of the most prestigious races of the time. The Ghost emerged victorious - well, much more than that. It had beaten the next nearest competitor by 27 minutes. Next, Rolls and Royce entered a Ghost in a 15,000 mile reliability run in 1907 which it did without incident. Upon its return to the Rolls-Royce shop, it took a small amount of money, about two-pounds or roughly ten-dollars by today's exchange rates, to restore the vehicle back to new condition.

The Silver Ghosts were entered in the Austrian Alpine Trials where the hoods were sealed shut to prevent any maintenance. The Silver Ghosts again dominated the competition and traversed the Alpine passes which were impassable for many motor cars.

This marketing worked and soon the Rolls-Royce vehicles became legendary and renowned for their durability, reliability, and style. To improve upon the prestige even further, Rolls supplied the Silver Ghosts to British royalty, a move that made sure the vehicles were seen in the right places by the right people.

The first Rolls-Royce distributor in the United States was Walter Martin of New York City, who was also a Cadillac distributor. As Cadillac continued to improve the ambiance of their vehicles, Martin naturally gave them more attention as the logistics of company location was in their favor. Rolls-Royce, on the other hand, was an ocean apart.

Over the early years of Rolls-Royce production, Brewster would become more effective in bringing Rolls-Royce chassis to America than Martin. Brewster imported several dozen chassis to supply its coachwork clients.

In 1913, the business manager for Rolls-Royce, Claude Johnson, formed a factory depot in New York and rented space from Brewster. Baker's US agent, Robert W. Schuette was appointed as Rolls-Royce distributor. At the time, Schuette also represented Fleetwood, Holbrook, Brewster, and Quinby. Around 100 Rolls-Royce's were imported over the next two years by Schuette, with around half of them bodied by Brewster.

As the First World War began to escalate, the production of Rolls-Royce automobiles slowed considerably. The factory's attention was turned to cars for military clients. Engines were produced for aircraft. By 1916, there were no more new Rolls-Royces available. Schuette and Brewster were still able to satisfy US demand for Rolls-Royce's by buying up existing chassis, renovating, and then fitting them with new coachwork.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
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