Skip to main content

1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost news, pictures, specifications, and information
Salamanca Town Car
 
This elegant, stylish vehicle is the product of an innovative partnership between Rolls Royce, an English automobile manufacturer, and an American production facility in Springfield, Massachusetts. The high quality of craftsmanship and design created an air of exclusivity that characterizes the brand to this day.

The Salamanca Town Car has an adaptable body designed to either provide open motoring or protection from the elements. The body was likely crafted by Brewster & Company, a Long Island City manufacturer of customized automobile chassis. This Rolls Royce remained in the Snyder family from 1923 until it was given to the Frick Art & Historical Center in 2002. It is virtually intact wîth most of its original parts and accessories.

Source - Frick Car Museum
Dual Cowl Roadster Skiff
Coachwork: Albany
Chassis Num: 40 CHX
 
This Rolls-Royce features a skiff body built by Albany Carriage of London, England - a dual cowl tourer with a folding cloth top. It was specified to be used for 'continental touring' and ordered with a radiator two inches higher than normal.

The completed car was delivered to its original owner in April 1924. It was originally equipped with two-wheel brakes but was returned to the Rolls-Royce factory in late 1924 to be fitted with four-wheel brakes.

During its lifetime the car has had several owners and spent time in Jordan and Palestine, in addition to the United Kingdom. Since coming to the United States in the mid-1960s, it has been used extensively for touring and has completed many long distance tours in the eastern United States. Over the years it has been 'maintained' rather than restored.
Tourer
Coachwork: Barker
Chassis Num: 29LK
 
The 40/50 Silver Ghost is the Rolls-Royce model which, in 1907, earned the accolade, 'the best car in the world.' At a time when most 'horseless carriages' were noisy and cantankerous, the smooth, powerful, near-silent six-cylinder engine and silky ride of the Silver Ghost represented a revolutionary advance in motoring.

By 1923, an increase in engine displacement from 7 to 7.5L, dual magneto and coil ignition, large rear drum brakes, four-speed transmission and sturdier frame were incorporated to handle the heavier coachwork of the period.

29LK, a long wheelbase chassis, was sent to Barkers to be fitted with a 'Pullman Limousine' body on May 11, 1923, and was subsequently rebodied with its current straight sided Barker style tourer body by Jim Marland.

29LK has participated in numerous tours, including the 1997 Scottish Tour, the 1999 South African tour, the 2003 Alpine Celebration and the Annapolis to Monterrey Cross Country tour in 2004, and has been driven over 70,000 miles in the past 20 years.
Tourer
Coachwork: Barker
Chassis Num: 22NK
 
This late Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (22NK) still has its original coachwork. Fitted with a Barker barrel-sided open tourer, this Ghost was delivered to George Milne of Adelaide in January 1924. Mr. Milne was a wine and spirit merchant and an active member of the local motoring club. Prior to World War I, he had acquired another Silver Ghost, a 1930 model with Landaulet coachwork, chassis number 2243E.

Chassis 22NK was delivered new on January 12th of 1924, and given registration SA-27-120. After Mr. Milne's passing in 1934, his motorcars passed to his wife and daughters. It is not known how long 22NK remained with the Milne family, but with the onset of war the Rolls-Royce was taken to Sydney and eventually stored at King's Cross Parking Station for safekeeping.

Peter Campbell acquired the car in the 1940s before selling it to Allan Blomfield and Allan Kearley purchasing the car in 1954 or 1955 for the sum of £180. A short time later, Rex Turner of Neutral Motors, Neutral Bay, acquired the car for £280, who in turn sold the car to John McNamara. Further owners included John Sevenoaks, brothers Laurie O'Neil and Lance O'Neil, Jack A. Jeffrey, Peter McGrath, and John Vawser. Malcolm N. Jones purchased the car in 1985.

The most recent owner, a noted Sydney enthusiast, restored the Ghost both mechanically and cosmetically and brought it to the United States in 2011. Subsequently, the Silver Ghost was exhibited at the Greystone Mansion Concours d'Elegance, Kirkland Concours d'Elegance, and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It participated in two Paso Robles Tours.
Salamanca Town Car
Chassis Num: 301KG
 
Sold for $225,000 at 2009 Leake.
This Silver Ghost was built in the Springfield, Massachusetts manufacturing plant for Rolls-Royce and completed in February of 1923. The body style is called a Salamanca collapsible or a convertible town car to distinguish it from the similar Salamanca permanent body style. The window frames of the rear door and the division window are all hinged and can be folded inward, and the top can be folded back. The car's first owner was Charles Sabin, followed in 1927 by the infamous Enoch Lewis 'Nucky' Johnson of Atlantic City, who was known as the Lord of Atlantic City during prohibition. He was involved in rum-running, a numbers racket and other illicit enterprises. During Johnson's ownership the car was hit by gunfire while he was escaping a rum-running sale that went bad. The bullet hole can be seen in the trim on the side of the car just below the windshield in front of the left front door.
Oxford 7-Passenger Touring
Chassis Num: 107JH
Engine Num: 22-182
 
High bid of $190,000 at 2014 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
From 1910 to 1931, Rolls-Royce maintained an American factory at Springfield, Massachusetts, where the Silver Ghost remained in production until 1926. A range of bodies were sold under the name 'Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work.' Many of these were built by Brewster, but some were commissioned by Merrimac, Willoughby, Holbrook, and Biddle & Smart. The names of the body styles were named in honor of British landmarks: Croydon and Henley convertibles, St. Stephen and St. Alban town cars, and the Piccadilly roadster, to name but a few.

The Oxford, of which only 77 examples were produced, was a touring car that was stately and elegant. This particular example was delivered to Chicago resident Albert R. Hansen on April 20th of 1924. The car was later acquired in 1957 by W.E. Schreiber and then again, in 1964, by Dr. John A. Bowers, of Kokomo, Indiana. From 1969 until 1980 it was the property of Harry Resnick, of Channel Master television antenna fame, and it was displayed at his Ellenville Motor Museum in New York.

Warren E. Spieker, of Atherton, California acquired the car in December of 1980. It eventually made its way into the Blackhawk Museum, where it was on display for several years prior to its acquisition by the current owner. A restoration was completed in the early 1990s and refinished in its present livery of two shades of blue, with both a complementary leather interior and top, and trimmed in beautiful walnut. There are collapsible jump seats which allow for seven-passenger occupancy. There is also nick trim on such components as the Bausch & Lomb headlamps.

The engine is a 468 cubic-inch six-cylinder unit mated to a four-speed manual transmission.
Stratford Drophead Coupe
 
This car was built in Springfield Massachusetts in 1923. It started life as a limousine. In January 1929 it was traded for a new Phantom I. Second hand limousines did not sell well. A second-hand sport body (Stratford Model) that came from a 1926 Phantom I (British) had been sent back to the factory in December 1928. This Stratford sport body replaced the original limousine body.
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
For more information and related vehicles, click here

WINNER TROPHIES AND AWARDS ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2014 CONCOURS OF ELEGANCE AT HAMPTON COURT PALACE
Over 10 prized trophies and awards to be presented at the hotly-contested 2014 Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace (5-7 September) ◾Unlike other concours events, the Concours of Elegance 'Best of Show' is chosen by the concours car owners themselves ◾New Club Trophy will acknowledge the 'Best of the Best' car club concours winners, supported by AIG's Private Client Group ◾Club Trophy judging panel to include a number of famous faces, coordinated by the Royal Automobile Club ◾New Pub...[Read more...]
Retro Classics Commercial Vehicles 2014: From the 'workhorse' to the high-tech-Atego
•Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles with twelve historic and four new models at the Retro Classics show in Stuttgart •Distribution transport then and now •Pioneers of the diesel age from the 1930s and forward control trucks with Pullman cabs bring times past back to life •'Trucks you can trust' – no empty promise Mercedes-Benz is giving an insight into the development of the distribution sector with twelve historic models and four modern commercial vehicles at the Retro Classics show in St...[Read more...]
Low Mileage Collectables offered at Fort Lauderdale Auction
• Auctions America kicks off its 2014 collector car calendar March 14-16 in Fort Lauderdale • Leading recent entries are fantastic low mileage examples including a 2005 Ford GT, a 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition, a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Coupe • Additional vehicle highlights include a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 and a 1935 Hudson Terraplane driven by Johnny Depp in the movie 'Public Enemies' • Regarded as South Florida's pre...[Read more...]
LE MANS GREATS HEAD STUNNING ROSTER OF ADDITIONAL ENTRIES FOR RM'S 2014 PARIS SALE DURING RETROMOBILE WEEK
• Anticipation builds ahead of RM's €25 million debut Paris sale on 5 February 2014 • More Le Mans greats join stunning competition car line-up at saleLatest highlights include a 1982 Rondeau M482 Le Mans GTP, a veteran of five Le Mans 24 hours races, and a mighty 2008 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Le Mans Prototype, which finished 2nd at Le Mans, was driven by Jacques Villeneuve, and has been entrusted to be sold by RM by the Peugeot factory • Other recently secured entries include a Bugatti Type 40 Ro...[Read more...]
Holden Celebrates 35 Years of Commodore
Holden is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its most iconic nameplate, Commodore. For over three decades, the Holden Commodore has delivered significant advances in vehicle performance, safety and comfort on the way to becoming Holden's longest-standing and most successful nameplate. Holden Executive Director, Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, Phil Brook, said Holden was extremely proud of Commodore's success. 'There are not many nameplates in Australia that can lay claim to a ric...[Read more...]

20/25HP
20HP
25/30HP
Camargue
Corniche
Ghost
Phantom
Phantom I
Phantom II / Phantom II Continental
Phantom III
Phantom IV
Phantom V
Phantom VI
Silver Cloud I, II, and III
Silver Dawn
Silver Ghost
Silver Seraph / Park Ward
Silver Shadow I, II/Silver Wraith II
Silver Spirit
Silver Wraith
Wraith

Image Left 1922 Silver Ghost1924 Silver Ghost Image Right
© 1998-2014. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.