1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Chassis Num: 60RB
Frederick Henry Royce was an engineer and the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls was a man with many talents. He was an aviator, driver, and automobile enthusiasts. In the world of business, he excelled at marketing.....[continue reading]
Torpedo Grand Luxe
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: 26RB
The London-to-Edinburgh-style chassis of this Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was finished on 13 March 1914 and shipped to Van den Plas Coachbuilders in Belgium to be bodied. It was fitted with a Torpedo Grand Luxe body, which was revolutionary for the time....[continue reading]
Dual Windshield Touring Car
Chassis Num: 27LB
The Silver Ghost, first built in 1906, went on for 19 years and was advertised as 'The Best Car in the World.' Rolls-Royce Company produced only the running chassis and bodies were fitted to the Silver Ghost by the foremost coachbuilders from Great ....[continue reading]
Coachwork: S. P. Broughton & Co
Chassis Num: 30 EB
Created in Rolls Royce plant on Nightingale Road in Derby, England, this Silver Ghost was placed 'on test' of February 11, 1914. Originally bodies as a landaulette, the vehicle has been rebodied with an original period touring body manufactured by S.....[continue reading]
This 1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost was originally fitted with a Landaulette body by Flewitt. The original owner was C.S. Cockburn of Chesterfield, UK. The car had CAV lighting equipment, Model G headlamps, sidelamps, tail-lamp, switchbox, das....[continue reading]
Dual Windshield Touring Car
This 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50 HP has chassis #37PB and Engine # 30M. It was ordered in 1913 and delivered to Glasgow, Scotland in 1914 as a 'chassis only.' It then went to Barker & Company where it was fitted with a Landaulette body. #37PB....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: 35GB
In December of 1914, Chassis 35GB was delivered to Mr. Henry 'Harry' Phipps of New York City, Mr. Phipps was Andrew Carnegie's original partner in the steel business.....[continue reading]
Coachwork: Mann Egerton & Co
Chassis Num: 1EB
Not much is known about 1EB. What is known is it was delivered in 1914 with coachwork by Mann Egerton & Co., Ltd. of Norwich, England. Egerton was a British car dealer and coachbuilder who built their first Rolls-Royce body in 1909 and went on to bui....[continue reading]
This 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, chassis 35 PB, was factory test driven on April 23, 1914. This is regarded as its 'birth date.'....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: 38MA
Most of the Pre-World War I Silver Ghosts were separated from their original coachwork when they were commandeered for the war effort. Usually, they were fitted with bodies more usable as troop or munitions transports. Some found their original bodie....[continue reading]
More than any other model, it was the Silver Ghost that gave Rolls-Royce the enviable reputation for all-around excellence that it enjoys to this day. From its debut in 1907 to the last example delivered from Springfield, Mass., factory in May, 1927,....[continue reading]
By the time Henry Class Frick purchased this car in 1914, his chief residence was in New York. Helen Clay Frick maintained and used the car after her father's death in 1919. The British Rolls-Royce automobile resulted from a partnership between Henry....[continue reading]
Alpine Eagle Torpedo
Chassis Num: 17RB
One of the most severe tests for motorcars before World War I was the Austrian Alpine Trials. The steep grades of the mountain passes took their toll on both cars and drivers. After failing in the Austrian Alpine Trial in 1912, Rolls-Royce modified t....[continue reading]
Alpine Eagle Torpedo
This is a very original car with continuous history from post War. It is a typical touring car from 1914 with the high-performance 40/50 horsepower engine. It has been kept in well-known long term ownership. The Alpine Eagle was restored back in the ....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: 18PB
Following the 1912 disqualification of the Rolls-Royce driven by Radley in the 1912 Austrian Alpine Trials, Rolls-Royce modified the 1913 cars and entered four cars, placing 1st and 2nd with James Radley, a private entry, finishing 4th.....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: 67RB
This sporty Silver Ghost today proudly wears the original Torpedo Phaeton coachwork that was built for it by Kellner of Paris. The car was ordered through Rolls-Royce of France for a Portuguese customer and it remained in Portugal for most of its lif....[continue reading]
London to Edinburgh Tourer
Chassis Num: 29AB
This Silver Ghost, ordered on the desirable London to Edinburgh type chassis with the 3-speed gearbox and sporty 'C' rake steering, was delivered in March 1914 to Major A.J. Gainsford of Sheffield, England. The coachwork is by Barker of London, the r....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: 43YB
43YB is a 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Alpine model with its original Brewster (New York) Touring body. The Alpine model has a larger radiator and a four-speed transmission to facilitate alpine driving. In 1983, this chassis and body were separated ....[continue reading]
HistoryIn 1906 a new model, the 40/50 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 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 United States in 1921 and continued in production with 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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