Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost photo

1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

Before 1908, when Rolls-Royce located to a new factory in Derby, the company founded by engineer Frederick Henry Royce and entrepreneur the Honourable Charles Stewart Rolls produced a variety of models at its Manchester factory. The diverse lineup included two, three, four and six-cylinder models, and even an abortive V8, before Managing Director Claude Johnson decided to concentrate on the range-topping 40/50hp. This strategic move to focus on the 'Silver Ghost' would lead to the company's reputation for excellence and its reputation for building 'The Best Car in the World' (first used by the Pall Mall Gazette in November of 1911).

The Rolls-Royce 40/50hp was introduced in 1906 at the London Motor Show and became known as the 'Silver Ghost' the following year when chassis number '60551' with silver-painted tourer coachwork by Barker & Company demonstrated its whisper-quiet operation. Production continued in England until 1925 with 6,173 examples built. An additional 1,701 examples were completed at the American Springfield factory. They were designed for longevity and reliability, and the engines were nearly indestructible due to its generous bearing dimensions, low compression, low rev capacities, and large overall design.

Henry Royce
Henry Royce's engineering experience began at the dawn of the automobile with his first motor vehicle, a De Dion Quadricycle. He later acquired a second-hand 10 horsepower, two-cylinder French Decauville that he used for transportation from his home to his electrical company, Royce Ltd. in Manchester. It was a crude automobile that was unreliable, had excessive vibration, poor construction, and a low standard of craftsmanship. This convinced Royce he could do better and became determined to build a motor vehicle of his own using the basic design of the Decauville. The total cost of the car worked out at £138 and on April 1st of 1904, he left the factor (of the Cooke Street works) for the first test run. His journey led him back to his house, fifteen trouble-free miles away, convincing him there was a future in automobile production.

Charles Stewart Rolls
Mr. Rolls was among the first racing drivers in the United Kingdom, who financed his hobby by operating a car sales and service depot at Lilli Hall, in Fulham, London. Initially, the showrooms were located in Brook Street, later moved to Conduit Street. In 1902, the C.S. Rolls and Co. were established and became the largest and best-equipped car dealership of its era. He was soon joined by Claude Johnson in this venture.

The lack of quality and durability of the British motor car frustrated Mr. Rolls, a dilemma that was soon resolved with the Royce automobile. After seeing the 10 horsepower Royce car, Mr. Rolls quickly arranged a meeting with Mr. Royce at the dining room of the Midland Hotel, Manchester, where the two men of dissimilar backgrounds took stock of each other and soon came to a business arrangement. Mr. Royce would handle production and Mr. Rolls would handle sales. The cars would be known as Rolls-Royce motorcars.

An advertisement in the Autocar magazine in December 1904 declared 'the first, simple, silent Rolls-Royce.' The Rolls-Royce motorcars were formally introduced to the international automobile community the same month at the Paris Salon where two, three, and four-cylinder cars were on display.

The Silver Ghost
The twelfth 40/50 produced had all its fittings silver-plated and the coachwork painted silver. It became known as the Silver Ghost and its name was later applied for all of the 40/50 horsepower cars.

The chassis was priced at £1,300 sans coachwork, with several examples receiving two bodies by their owner's to accommodate all weather and driving conditions. The chassis was comprised of channel-section side members and tubular cross members were suspended on semi-elliptic springs at the front and a 'platform' leaf spring arrangement at the rear, though the latter soon came in for revision. The four-speed gearbox with overdrive was replaced in 1909 with a three-speed gearbox with direct-drive top gear. During the two-decade production lifespan, many other improvements were adapted to the car with one of the most important being the adoption of servo-assisted four-wheel brakes towards the end of 1923. Electric lighting became an option in 1914 and was standardized in 1919, replacing the acetylene or oil lamps. 1919 was also the year electric starting was fitted.

The 7,036cc side-valve six-cylinder engine was enlarged to 7,428cc around 1910. It had a seven-bearing crankshaft, pressure lubrication, and the cylinders cast in two units of three cylinders each as opposed to the triple two-cylinder units on the earlier six. The center's main bearing was especially large to reduce vibration, essential splitting the engine into two three-cylinder units. Each cylinder had two spark plugs, and from 1921 forward the buyers had the option of magneto or coil ignition. The early Silver Ghosts were equipped with a trembler coil to produce the spark with a magneto that was initially optional but later became standard. The engine was started using the trembler/batter and then switched to the magneto.

The six-cylinder engine initially produced 48 horsepower at 1,250 but this later increased to 80 bhp at 2,250 RPM.

by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2020

Related Reading : Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost History

In 1906 a new model, the 4050 horsepower, was developed with 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 4050 hp as ....the feeling of being wafted through the countryside. Engineers....
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Related Reading : Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost History

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....
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1922 Vehicle Profiles

1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information

Open Tourer
Coachwork: Hooper

Chassis Num: 68ZG

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost chassis was built during the years 1907 to 1925 with a total number of 6,703 having been produced. It takes its name from an epithet used for the first production model which was fitted with an open-tourer body painted si....[continue reading]

1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information

Coachwork: Barker

Chassis Num: 84TG

Rolls-Royce built the Silver Ghost chassis with a 6-cylinder, 7.5-liter 40/50 hp engine between 1907 and 1925. The famously silent engine, offering the ultimate driving experience, was a masterpiece of fine engineering; it had a hand-polished cranksh....[continue reading]

1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information

Coachwork: Grosvenor

Chassis Num: 85TG
Engine Num: P223

Between 1907 and 1925, Rolls-Royce built 6,173 examples of the Silver Ghost. ....[continue reading]

1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information

Pall Mall Tourer
Coachwork: Merrimac

Chassis Num: 336KG
Engine Num: 21-61

Chassis number 336KG was supplied on March 18th of 1925 to H.L. Luttrell of Washington, D.C. All of the car's later owners were in the Washington metropolitan area, including B.C. Norton who used it for 'national service' duties. Other owners include....[continue reading]

1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information

Springfield Piccadilly Roadster
Coachwork: Brewster

The Rolls-Royce model first introduced in 1906 was not initially referred to as a Silver Ghost. It was called the 40/50 - 40 taxable horsepower and 50 actual horsepower. The first 40/50 to bear the name Silver Ghost was actually the twelfth chassis t....[continue reading]

1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost vehicle information

Mayfair Tourer
Coachwork: Springfield

Chassis Num: 124TG
Engine Num: 20227

This 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Sedan wears coachwork by Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work. It was delivered on October 27th of 1922 to J. Burgess Book, of Detroit, Michigan. It was chauffeur-driven for nine years before it was put into storage in 193....[continue reading]

Open Tourer by Hooper
Chassis #: 68ZG 
Tourer by Barker
Chassis #: 84TG 
Tourer by Grosvenor
Chassis #: 85TG 
Pall Mall Tourer by Merrimac
Chassis #: 336KG 
Springfield Piccadilly Roadster by Brewster
Mayfair Tourer by Springfield
Chassis #: 124TG 

Concepts by Rolls-Royce

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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

1927Chevrolet (1,001,820)Ford (367,213)Buick (255,160)
1926Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (547,724)Buick (266,753)
1925Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (306,479)Dodge (201,000)
1924Ford (1,922,048)Chevrolet (264,868)Dodge (193,861)
1923Ford (1,831,128)Chevrolet (323,182)Buick (210,572)
1922Ford (1,147,028)Dodge (152,673)Chevrolet (138,932)
1921Ford (1,275,618)Chevrolet (130,855)Buick (82,930)
1920Ford (806,040)Chevrolet (146,243)Dodge (141,000)
1919Ford (820,445)Chevrolet (129,118)Buick (119,310)
1918Ford (435,898)Buick (126,222)Willys Knight (88,753)
1917Ford (622,351)Willys Knight (130,988)Buick (115,267)

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