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Rolls-Royce History

1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

Chassis number : 970

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Frederick Henry Royce was the son of a flour miller. He apprenticed with the Great Northern Railroad and designed his first car in 1904. It was an improvement of his two-cylinder Decauville. Charles Stewart Rolls was the third son of Lord Llangttock and a successful businessman, selling horses and carriages to the well to do. Rolls requested a meeting after hearing of Royce's new machine and a partnership ensued, giving Rolls the exclusive right to sell Royce's cars.

A product of that partnership, after a few less than successful attempts is the famous Silver Ghost. Rolls Royce Company committed itself to making a single 40/50 hp model. The firm provided only the chassis, with the customers ordering the bodies from a variety of coachbuilders. The 40/50 hp received a massive new crankshaft that made its six-cylinder engine smoother than any other in this period. Because of the exploits of a well-promoted Rolls-Royce tourer, all 6,173 40/50s came to be known as 'Silver Ghosts.' Later trials, races and hill climbs bolstered the model's reputation as 'The Best Car in the World.'

The 40/50 soon became the favored car of princes and potentates. Even Lenin owned one, although the British royal family bought only Daimlers.

This car, chassis number 60970, was originally sold to John Henry Thomas, a London photographer. It was the first example to carry Roi des Belges bodywork, a body style originally designed for the King of Belgium. In 1919, the car's second body, a Torpedo by Barkers, was exchanged for a Safari body used for the car's adventures in India where it remained until 1946. It was then shipped to England and arrived stateside by noted collector Joe Loeey in 1959, where it was paired with a new Roi des Belges body, in 1961. This is the only surviving short wheelbase sports chassis Silver Ghost in existence.

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2018 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $1,000,000-USD $1,250,000 
Lot was not sold

1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

(Data based on Model Year 1909 sales)
1909 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Roi des Belges in the style of Barker
Chassis#: 1203
Sold for USD$1,325,000
  2019 RM Sothebys : The Guyton Collection
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost image  1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost image  
1909 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Roi des Belges
Chassis#: 1203
Sold for USD$825,000
  2011 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auctions
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost image  1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost image  
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Sold for USD$1,485,000
  2007 Gooding & Company
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost image  1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost image  
1909 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost ‘Roi-de-Belges' Tourer
Chassis#: 1203
Sold for USD$627,217
  2003 Bonhams - Important Collectors' Motor Cars
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost image  1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost image  

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts That Failed To Sell At Auction

1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1909 ROLLS-ROYCE 40/50HP SILVER GHOST OPEN DRIVE LANDAULETTE11202021 Bonhams : Amelia Island Auction $1,300,000$1,500,000
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Roi des Belges The Silver Fairy in the style of Barker9702018 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island $1,000,000$1,250,000

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1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Profiles

1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information
Roi-des-Belges Tourer
Chassis #: 970
Engine #: 60970
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information
Roi-des-Belges Tourer
Coachwork: Barker
Chassis #: 1203
Engine #: 1203
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information
Roi-des-Belges Tourer
Coachwork: Barker
1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information
Open Drive Landaulette
Coachwork: Barker
Chassis #: 1120
Engine #: 1120