If you've got a classic Rolls Royce for sale, we'll pay you top dollar!
The prestigious history of Rolls Royce
The partnership between Henry Royce and Charles Rolls began in 1904 with Royce agreeing to sell his cars exclusively through Charles Rolls’ dealership as Rolls-Royce’s. In 1906 they founded Rolls-Royce Ltd and that same year they introduced the model that would permanently establish the company’s international reputation.
The 40/50 hp was launched at the 1906 Olympia car show, but not given to the press for testing until the following year. Autocar dubbed the 40/50 hp the “best car in the world”, something that has been claimed by Rolls-Royce of its products ever since. One particular 40/50 hp, registered as AX201, was given the name “Silver Ghost” by Rolls-Royce’s commercial director, Claude Johnson. This car was driven 27 times between London and Glasgow in a publicity stunt to prove how reliable the new car was. The press seized upon this and began referring to all 40/50 hp cars as Silver Ghosts, something that Rolls-Royce adopted retrospectively once the 40/50 hp was replaced in 1926. AX201 is probably the most valuable car in the world, with a reputed insurance value of $40,000,000.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom went through three iterations before the outbreak of war in 1939. The Phantom I and II continued to use an ever more developed version of the 40/50 hp engine from the Silver Ghost. The Phantom III was unusual for a Rolls-Royce in that it used a V12. This was equipped with a twin ignition system involving two spark plugs per cylinder, two ignition coils and two distributors. After the war, the Phantom name was used for a series of exclusive Rolls-Royce’s produced in tiny numbers for heads of state and other leading dignitaries.
The first postwar Rolls-Royce was the Silver Wraith launched in 1946. This was the last Rolls-Royce that could not be ordered with a factory-fitted bodyshell. Owners bought the chassis and had a coachbuilder cover it with bespoke panels. Three years later the closely related Silver Dawn was launched. This was available with a standard bodyshell, but was the less popular of the two cars.
The Silver Cloud of 1955 was also available with a factory fitted body, but this time the vast majority of owners opted to purchase the standard bodied car as opposed to employing a coachbuilder. The Silver Cloud was the last Rolls-Royce built with a separate chassis. Its replacement, the 1965 Silver Shadow, was of a monocoque construction which effectively ended the tradition of Rolls-Royce owners having their cars bodywork tailored to their own preferences.
The Silver Shadow took Rolls-Royce through the 1970s and is still the biggest selling Rolls-Royce model today.