Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce


A chronological day-by-day history of Rolls-Royce.

Wednesday 16th September 1903

113 years ago

Frederick Henry Royce, of Rolls-Royce Ltd., successfully tested his first petrol engine. The 2 cylinder, 10 hp engine was used in one of three experimental cars designed by Royce during the early years of motor cars, when petrol-powered engines competed on equal footing with electric and steam engines. Royce's first company, Royce Ltd., in fact built electric motors.

Henry Royce

Henry Royce

Show Article

Wednesday 4th May 1904

113 years ago

The Honourable Charles Rolls and Henry Royce met for the first time at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, UK. The two men quickly decided they should join forces to produce and market high-class cars – and set the seal on their agreement with a simple handshake. It was more than seven months until the contracts were signed on 23 December 1904, marking the official start of business for Rolls-Royce Ltd. Since the company’s earliest days, the Rolls-Royce name has stood for unbeatable standards of technology and craftsmanship, as well as reliability and style. The maxim of company founder Henry Royce sums it up: “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.” The BMW Group acquired the naming rights for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 1998 with the aim of adding another level to the top end of the BMW Group’s successful premium strategy. Based in Goodwood, southern England, since 2003, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars combines the ultimate in craftsmanship with state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and innovative technologies. All in keeping with Henry Royce’s belief in striving for perfection.

Charles Rolls (left) and Henry Royce (right)

Charles Rolls (left) and Henry Royce (right)

Show Article

Tuesday 23rd May 1905

112 years ago

The first Rolls-Royce 30-hp 6-cylinder was completed.

Show Article

Thursday 14th September 1905

111 years ago

The first Tourist Trophy (TT), a regularity trial based on fuel consumption for motor cars and motorcycles, was won by John Napier in an Arrol-Johnston, on the Isle of Man, England. Regulations required a vehicle weight between 1,300 and 1,600 pounds, a wheelbase of at least seven feet, six inches and a load weight of 660 pounds consisting of driver, mechanic (or passenger) and sand ballast. Entries had to accommodate the driver and three passengers (i.e., have a back seat). Examples of the same car had to be available for sale to the public for at least a month after the event. Forty-two cars started the race. Twenty-eight were made in England. Sixteen of the English cars finished plus two from other countries. The race was four laps over the Highland Course. Charles Rolls was a pre-race favorite, but Napier in his 3.8-liter Arrol-Johnson finished first by two minutes and nine seconds over a Rolls-Royce driven by Percy Northey. Rolls had stripped his gears shortly after the start. Napier set the fastest lap of one hour, 31 minutes and nine seconds at 34.30 mph.

Tourist Trophy - 1905

Tourist Trophy - 1905

Show Article

Thursday 15th March 1906

111 years ago

Rolls-Royce Ltd. was officially registered with Charles S. Rolls and F. Henry Royce as directors. The two men agreed that Royce Limited would manufacture a line of cars to be sold exclusively by C.S. Rolls & Co. Just after the company was organised, it released the six-cylinder 40/50 horsepower Silver Ghost. The car was enthusiastically heralded by the British press as “the best car in the world.”From its formation to the start of World War I in 1914, Rolls-Royce focused on one product--the Silver Ghost. The war forced new demands on the British economy, and Rolls-Royce shifted its manufacturing emphasis to airplane engines. Henry Royce's designs are credited with having provided half of the total horsepower used in the Allies' air war against Germany, and World War II transformed Rolls-Royce into a major force in aerospace engineering.

Rolls Royce Silver Ghost - 1906

Rolls Royce Silver Ghost - 1906

Show Article

Saturday 13th April 1907

110 years ago

The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost was introduced to the press. Originally named the "40/50 h.p." the chassis was first made at Royce's Manchester works, with production moving to Derby in July 1908, and also, between 1921 and 1926, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Chassis no. 60551, registered AX 201, was the car that was originally given the name "Silver Ghost." Other 40/50 hp cars were also given names, but the Silver Ghost title was taken up by the press, and soon all 40/50s were called by the name, a fact not officially recognised by Rolls-Royce until 1925, when the Phantom range was launched. The Silver Ghost was the origin of Rolls-Royce's claim of making the "Best car in the world" – a phrase coined not by themselves, but by the prestigious publication Autocar in 1907.The chassis and engine were also used as the basis of a range of Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars. In 1906, Rolls-Royce produced four chassis to be shown at the Olympia car show, two existing models, a four-cylinder 20 hp and a six-cylinder 30 hp, and two examples of a new car designated the 40/50 hp. The 40/50 hp was so new that the show cars were not fully finished, and examples were not provided to the press for testing until March 1907. The car at first had a new side-valve, six-cylinder, 7036 cc engine (7428 cc from 1910) with the cylinders cast in two units of three cylinders each as opposed to the triple two-cylinder units on the earlier six. A three-speed transmission was fitted at first with four-speed units used from 1913. The seven-bearing crankshaft had full pressure lubrication, and the centre main bearing was made especially large to remove vibration, essentially splitting the engine into two three-cylinder units. Two spark plugs were fitted to each cylinder with, from 1921, a choice of magneto or coil ignition.[3] The earliest cars had used a trembler coil to produce the spark with a magneto as an optional extra which soon became standard - the instruction was to start the engine on the trembler/battery and then switch to magneto. Continuous development allowed power output to be increased from 48 bhp (36 kW) at 1,250 rpm to 80 bhp (60 kW) at 2,250 rpm. Electric lighting became an option in 1914 and was standardised in 1919. Electric starting was fitted from 1919[3] along with electric lights to replace the older ones that used acetylene or oil. Development of the Silver Ghost was suspended during World War I, although the chassis and engine were supplied for use in Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars. The chassis had rigid front and rear axles and leaf springs all round. Early cars only had brakes on the rear wheels operated by a hand lever, with a pedal-operated transmission brake acting on the propeller shaft. The footbrake system moved to drums on the rear axle in 1913. Four-wheel servo-assisted brakes became optional in 1923. Despite these improvements the performance of the Silver Ghost's competitors had improved to the extent that its previous superiority had been eroded by the early 1920s. Sales declined from 742 in 1913 to 430 in 1922. The company decided to launch its replacement which was introduced in 1925 as the New Phantom.[4] After this, older 40/50 models were called Silver Ghosts to avoid confusion. A total of 7874 Silver Ghost cars were produced from 1907 to 1926, including 1701 from the American Springfield factory.[3] Many of them still run today. A fine example is on display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

AX201 at Cat and Fiddle Hill during the Scottish Reliability Trial 1907

AX201 at Cat and Fiddle Hill during the Scottish Reliability Trial 1907

Show Article

Friday 21st June 1907

109 years ago

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost began its 15,000 Miles Official Trial.

Show Article

Thursday 8th August 1907

109 years ago

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with a 4-speed overdrive gearbox passed its 15,000-mile RAC-observed trial with top marks. It was this trial that made the Ghost’s reputation and gave it the accolade of ‘Best Car in the World’. Four years later, on the London-Edinburgh Trial, a Ghost ran the entire distance in top gear with a fuel consumption of 24.32 mpg, an amazing performance for the time in such a heavy car. Although the 7-litre, side-valve engine’s compression ratio was only 3.2:1, it developed 48 bhp and could cruise at 50 mph. A total of 6,173 Silver Ghosts were produced.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost AX201 at Cat and Fiddle Hill 22 June 1907 during the Scottish Reliability Trial.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost AX201 at Cat and Fiddle Hill 22 June 1907 during the Scottish Reliability Trial.

Show Article

Saturday 6th June 1908

108 years ago

American Charles Yale Knight obtained a British patent for his internal-combustion engine that used sleeve valves instead of the more common poppet-valve construction. In September the same year Daimler announced that these so-called ‘Silent Knight’ engines would be installed in some of its 1909 models. To combat criticism from its competitors, Daimler had the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) carry out their own independent tests on the Daimler-Knight. RAC engineers took two Knight engines and ran them under full load for 132 hours nonstop. The same engines were then installed in a touring car and driven for 2,000 miles (3,200 km) on the Brooklands race track, after which they were removed and again run on the bench for 5 hours. RAC engineers reported that, when the engines were dismantled, there was no perceptible wear, the cylinders and pistons were clean, and the valves showed no signs of wear either. The RAC was so impressed that it awarded Daimler the 1909 Dewar Trophy. The RAC reports caused Daimler's share price to rise, £0.85 to £18.75,[1] and the company's competitors to fear that the poppet-valve engine would soon be obsolete. W O Bentley was of the opinion that the Daimler-Knight engine performed as well as the comparable Rolls-Royce power plant. The Knight engine (improved significantly by Daimler's engineers) attracted the attention of the European automobile manufacturers. Daimler bought rights from Knight "for England and the colonies" and shared ownership of the European rights, in which it took 60%, with Minerva of Belgium. European rights were purchased from them and used by Panhard et Levassor and Mercedes.

Daimler-Knight sleeve valve engine

Daimler-Knight sleeve valve engine

Show Article

Tuesday 23rd March 1909

108 years ago

Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach with his son Karl Maybach as director. The company was originally a subsidiary of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin/GmbH and was itself known as "Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH" (literally Airship Engine Company) until 1918. Today, the brand is owned by Daimler AG and based in Stuttgart. Maybach has historic roots through the involvement of Wilhelm Maybach, who was the technical director of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. The company originally developed and manufactured diesel and gas engines for Zeppelins, and then rail cars. The company first built an experimental car in 1919, with the first car with the first production model introduced two years later at the Berlin Motor Show. Between 1921 and 1940, the company produced various classic opulent vehicles. The company also continued to build heavy duty diesel engines for marine and rail purposes.Maybach contributed to the German war effort in World War II by producing the engines for the formidable Panther and Tiger tank. After the war, the factor performed some repair work, but automotive production was never restarted, and some 20 years later, its operations were merged into the Daimler AG mainline operations.In 1997, Mercedes-Benz presented at the Tokyo Motorshow an ultra-luxury concept car under the name Mercedes-Benz Maybach (V12, 5987 cc, 550 hp). The concept was quite successful and Mercedes-Benz decided to develop it. Mercedes, however, made the decision to market the car under the sole brand Maybach.Maybach was therefore revived as a brand in the early 2000s, with the production of the new model in two sizes — the Maybach 57 and the Maybach 62 (the numbers are equal to the lengths of the automobiles in decimetres; the longer 62 allows rear occupants to recline fully in their seats). The prices range from $335,500 to $426,000. In 2005, the new 57S was added, sporting a more powerful engine (6.0L V12 bi-turbo (which Mercedes calls the Kompressor)), producing 604 bhp (450 kW) and 737 ft·lbf (999 N·m) of torque) and cosmetic touches that provides a sporty image.When customers decide to order a Maybach they can go to Sindelfingen, the marque’s headquarters, (or meet over a video conference centre at a dealer in their own country) to specify every and any detail they desire. Many customers will personalise their cars with their initials or coats of arms. Maybach executives liken the experience to ordering a custom-built yacht or a personalized jet aircraft. Also, with a hand-crafted finish quality, and over two million equipment option combinations available, it is unlikely that two identical cars will ever leave the factory. The Maybach's main competitor is the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Given that most Maybach owners are chauffeured, owners especially appreciate the Maybach's highly adjustable rear seats with seat warmers, seat coolers, and massage features, none of which can be found in the Rolls Royce. Some have noted that Maybach's superior focus on occupant comfort highlights the difference between their respective creators, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, with BMW being more driver-focused, and Mercedes being more comfort/luxury-focused.

Maybach symbol

Maybach symbol

Show Article

Thursday 2nd June 1910

106 years ago

The Hon Charles Rolls (32), joint founder of Rolls-Royce Ltd, made the first non-stop double crossing of the English Channel by plane. Rolls left Swingate Aerodrome in his French-built Wright Flyer bi-plane at 18.30. He was over Sangatte, France, at 19.15, where he dropped a message to the French Aero Club, and back in Dover at 20.00. The journey took 95 minutes and he circled the Castle in triumph! Over 3,000 people witnessed the event, after which Charles was carried through the town shoulder high. In the wake of his triumph, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Aero Club. He had resigned as managing director of Rolls Royce the previous year to publicise flying as previously he had promoted motor cars. He was characteristically determined and thorough. He began with gliders and worked his way up to powered flight. He was the first British airman to fly more than half a mile. he continued his tests and trials increasing the duration of his flights and before the end of 1909 stayed up for 48 minutes. In 1910 the Royal Aero Club issued pilots licences, Rolls was given No. 2. No. 1 went to Lord Babazan of Tara. On 12th July, 1910, he took part in the flying competition at Bournemouth, which was celebrating its centenary, in his French made Wright plane in which he had crossed the channel, but modified by the addition of a new tail plane. The plane had to be flown in a circuit and land as near as possible to the centre of a circle 100 yard in diameter. At his first attempt he landed 78 from the centre, not satisfied he decided to have another try, although the wind was freshening. When his turn came he approached the target but came down at too steep an angle. Part of the airframe broke, the plane dived into the ground from a height of 70 feet, he was killed instantly. He was the first British aviator to die in a plane crash.

Charles Rolls

Charles Rolls

Charles Rolls postcard, commemorating his two way non-stop flight 2 June 1910

Charles Rolls postcard, commemorating his two way non-stop flight 2 June 1910

Show Article

Tuesday 12th July 1910

106 years ago

Charles Steward Rolls (32), pioneer aviator and co-founder of Rolls Royce, was killed when the tail of his plane snapped off in mid-air during a flying exhibition in Bournemouth, England. The third son of Lord and Lady Llangattock, who had their ancestral seat in Monmouth, Wales, Rolls was a card-carrying member of the British aristocracy. He was educated at Eton and at Cambridge University’s Trinity College, where he first developed his love for the new sport of motoring. His first vehicle, a Peugeot with 3.75 horsepower, was the first car to be seen at Cambridge, and enabled him to drive home to Monmouth in an astonishingly quick time of two days. In 1900, Rolls drove a 12-horsepower Panhard car in the famous British auto race the Thousand Mile Trial; he also took part in a number of other early long-distance European races. Considered the best driver in Wales, he was reportedly responsible for changing the national speed limit at the time from 4 to 12 miles per hour. In 1902, Rolls went into the business of selling cars. Two years later, at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, England, he met with Frederick Henry Royce, an electrical engineer of modest background who had his own engineering business, Royce Ltd., and had built several experimental cars of his own design. After that historic meeting, Rolls and Royce merged their firms in 1906 to form Rolls-Royce Ltd. The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, produced that year, became one of the world’s most admired cars. While Royce was responsible for every aspect of car design, Rolls provided the bulk of the financing, as well as the social connections that helped make sales. In addition to automobiles, Rolls became passionate about aviation, including hot air balloons and early airplanes. In February 1910, Rolls wrote to the inventor Wilbur Wright to complain about the Wright plane he had bought in Europe. In the letter, Rolls told Wright he had resigned his former position at Rolls Royce and taken another, which “does not require any regular attendance at the office,” in order “to devote myself to flight.” That June, Rolls became the first aviator to fly nonstop across the English Channel and back.

Charles Rolls

Charles Rolls

Show Article

Monday 6th February 1911

106 years ago

Rolls-Royce’s "Spirit of Ecstasy" mascot was registered as a trademark. The very first Rolls-Royce motorcars did not feature radiator mascots; they simply carried the Rolls-Royce emblem. This was not sufficient for their customers who believed that such a prestigious vehicle as a Rolls-Royce motorcar should have its own luxurious mascot.[citation needed] When Montagu commissioned his friend, sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes, who worked in London under the nobleman's patronage, to sculpt a personal mascot for the bonnet of his 1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, Sykes chose Eleanor Velasco Thornton as his model. Sykes originally crafted a figurine of her in fluttering robes, having placed one forefinger against her lips - to symbolize the secret of their love affair.[1] The figurine was consequently named The Whisper and is on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu along with other Spirit of Ecstasy figurines. Only three or four castings were ever made, and only two are believed to have survived. The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes, a graduate of London's Royal College of Art, and carries with it a story about secret passion between John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, (second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu after 1905, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902) and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor (also known as Thorn) was the secretary of John Walter, who fell in love with her in 1902 when she worked for him on the aforesaid motoring magazine. Their secret love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. On the other hand, Montagu was married to Lady Cecil Victoria Constance Kerr since 1889. By 1910 personal mascots had become the fashion of the day. Rolls-Royce were concerned to note that some owners were affixing "inappropriate" ornaments to their cars. Claude Johnson, then managing director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, was asked to commission a more dignified and graceful mascot. He turned to Sykes to produce a mascot which would adorn all future Rolls-Royce cars and become generic to the marque, with the specifications that it should convey "the spirit of the Rolls-Royce, namely, speed with silence, absence of vibration, the mysterious harnessing of great energy and a beautiful living organism of superb grace..." Sykes' brief from Claude Johnson had been to evoke the spirit of mythical beauty, Nike, whose graceful image was admired in The Louvre, but Sykes was not impressed. He felt that a more feminine representation might be apt.[citation needed] It was again Miss Thornton whom he had in mind. Sykes chose to modify The Whisper into a version similar to today's Spirit of Ecstasy. He called this first model The Spirit of Speed.[3] Later, Charles Sykes called it "A graceful little goddess, the Spirit of Ecstasy, who has selected road travel as her supreme delight and alighted on the prow of a Rolls-Royce motor car to revel in the freshness of the air and the musical sound of her fluttering draperies." Some critics and fans of the Rolls Royce have given The Spirit of Ecstasy the dubious nickname "Ellie in her Nightie", suggesting Eleanor's influence as Sykes' muse.[citation needed] Claude Johnson devised the description of The Spirit of Ecstasy, he described how Sykes had sought to convey the image of "the spirit of ecstasy, who has selected road travel as her supreme delight......she is expressing her keen enjoyment, with her arms outstretched and her sight fixed upon the distance." Royce was ill during the commissioning of the flying lady. He did not believe the figurine enhanced the cars, asserting that it impaired the driver's view, and was rarely seen driving one of his company's vehicles adorned with the mascot. In February 1911 Sykes presented to Rolls-Royce the "Spirit of Ecstasy", which was easily recognisable as being a variation on the theme of "The Whisper". The similarity was hardly coincidental because the model for both had been Miss Thornton. The sculptor's signature appeared on the plinth and were either signed "Charles Sykes, February 1911" or "Feb 6, 1911" or "6.2.11". Even after Rolls-Royce took over the casting of the figures in 1948 each Spirit of Ecstasy continued to receive this inscription until 1951. The Spirit of Ecstasy was also manufactured by the British firm Louis Lejeune Ltd. for a number of years. Eleanor died on 30 December 1915 when the SS Persia was torpedoed by a U-boat south of Crete. She had been accompanying Lord Montagu who had been directed to assume a command in India. He was thought to have been killed too, but survived and was saved after several days adrift in a life raft

Spirit of Ecstasy

Spirit of Ecstasy

Show Article

Thursday 3rd December 1914

102 years ago

The first three Rolls-Royce armoured cars were delivered to the British Armed Forces. The vehicles were based on a Rolls-Royce 40/50-bhp car chassis, to which were added armoured bodywork and a single turret for a Vickers machine gun.

Show Article

Tuesday 7th March 1916

101 years ago

The manufacturing firms of Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto merged to form the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (Bavarian Aircraft Works). The company would later become the Bayerische Motor-Werke (Bavarian Motor Works or BMW). BMW began as a manufacturer of aircraft engines. In 1923, BMW built its first motorcycle and six years later its first car, the Dixi, in a factory in Eisenach, Germany. BMW's team of engineers progressively developed their cars from small Seven-based cars into six-cylinder luxury cars and, in 1936, began production of the BMW 328 sports car. Aircraft engines, motorcycles, and automobiles would be BMW's main products until World War II. During the war, against the wishes of its director Franz Josef Popp, BMW concentrated on aircraft engine production, with motorcycles as a side line and automobile manufacture stopped altogether. After the war, BMW survived by making pots, pans, and bicycles until 1948, when it restarted motorcycle production. Meanwhile, BMW's factory in Eisenach fell in the Soviet occupation zone and the Soviets restarted production of pre-war BMW motorcycles and automobiles there. This continued until 1955, after which they concentrated on cars based on pre-war DKW designs. BMW began building cars in Bavaria in 1952 with the BMW 501 luxury saloon. Sales of their luxury saloons were too small to be profitable, so BMW supplemented this with building Isettas under licence. Slow sales of luxury cars and small profit margins from microcars caused the BMW board to consider selling the operation to Daimler-Benz. However, Herbert Quandt was convinced to purchase a controlling interest in BMW and to invest in its future. Quandt's investment, along with profits from the BMW 700, brought about the BMW New Class and BMW New Six. These new products, along with the absorption of Hans Glas GmbH, gave BMW a sure footing on which to expand. BMW grew in strength, eventually acquiring the Rover Group (most of which was later divested), and the license to build automobiles under the Rolls-Royce marque.

BMW Dixi

BMW Dixi

Show Article

Saturday 18th January 1919

98 years ago

Bentley Motors was established in London, England by W. O. Bentley and his brother H. M. Bentley. W.O. started dreaming about building his own cars bearing his name shortly after the brothers opened the UK agency for the French DFP (Doriot, Flandrin & Parant) cars in 1912. Soon, he fulfilled his dream and founded what would become one of the most desirable luxury car brands in the world. After the victory of Bentley 3 Litre Sport at the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1924, W. O. Bentley’s cars became a major hit among the wealthy British motorists, however, his company was faced with serious financial difficulties as early as 1925. Woolf Barnato, a fan of Bentley cars and a member of the so-called Bentley Boys helped the company with financing which, however, gave him control over the company and made W.O. an employee. The new models that were introduced under Barnato’s chairmanship repeated the success of the Bentley 3 Litre Sport and won Le Mans in 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930. Despite that, the company was severely hit by the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that was followed by the Great Depression which dramatically reduced the demand for luxury cars such as Bentley. In 1931, an agreement was reached about takeover of Bentley by Napier & Son, however, Napier was outbid by the British Central Equitable Trust. Thus the company was taken over by Rolls-Royce that was behind the British Central Equitable Trust. The real identity of the new Bentley owner, however, was revealed only after the deal was closed. Rolls-Royce formed a new company, while the production was moved to Rolls-Royce’s production facilities in Derby. Bentley factory in Cricklewood was closed. W. O. Bentley who was at the time of Rolls Royce’s takeover still working and designing Bentleys left the company as soon as his contract has expired in 1935. He joined Lagonda where he helped create a line of cars which were “Bentleys in all but name”.By the end of the 20th century, Bentley and its parent company changed owners twice. After the financial collapse of Rolls-Royce as a result of its development of the RB211 jet engine, the company was nationalised by the British government. The Rolls Royce car division was made an independent business – Rolls-Royce Motors Limited which was acquired by Vickers plc in 1980. Meanwhile, Bentley sales dropped alarmingly low. But under Vickers, Bentley restored its former reputation as a luxury sports car and the sales started to rise. The so-called Bentley renaissance, however, started only in 1998 when Rolls-Royce Motors Limited was acquired by the Volkswagen Group. Bentley cars are sold via franchised dealers worldwide.Most Bentley cars are assembled at the Crewe factory, but a small number of Continental Flying Spurs are assembled at the factory in Dresden, Germany and bodies for the Continental are produced in Zwickau, Germany.

The Bentley badge and hood ornament

The Bentley badge and hood ornament

Show Article

Wednesday 5th February 1919

98 years ago

The first Voisin automobile was completed and test driven by Gabriel Voisin. Eccentric and iconoclastic, Gabriel Voisin was an aviation pioneer who sought to imprint his considerable ego on the world of automobiles. And why would he not have an ego? Wasn't it he, and not those Americans, the Wrights, who was first to fly an airplane? Hadn't his design for a V-12 pointed the way for Rolls-Royce to develop its own? Voisin's creations were true mirrors of his soul, some of the most extreme, flamboyant, and aesthetically refined vehicles ever to move under their own power. Voisin--the name translates as "neighbor"--was born at Belleville-sur-Saone, France, on February 5, 1880, the son of foundry engineer Georges Voisin. He studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in nearby Lyon, and landed a job with the Parisian architectural firm of Godefroy & Freynet, but his head was in the clouds--he was interested in flight. He left architecture to join Ernest Archdeacon, head of the Aviation Syndicate, and in 1904 joined his brother Charles and Louis Bleriot, who would go on to fame as the first man to fly the English Channel, in taking over the Surcouf Aviation factory at Billancourt. When Bleriot left in 1907, the Voisin brothers established Voisin Freres in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux, the world's first aviation firm. Voisin built an airplane that took off under its own power and remained airborne for 250 feet at a time when Wright's planes needed a catapult to get aloft--leading to his claim to have created the first true flying machine. In 1909, at 29, he became the youngest knight of the French Legion of Honor. The Voisins expanded their business, and succeeded in selling 59 aircraft by 1911, though Gabriel was greatly affected when Charles was killed the next year in a car crash. Fortune smiled in 1914, when Alexandre Miller, the French minister of war, chose the Voisin as the standard aircraft for the French air force. The factory was not big enough to meet demand, so his biplanes were built by other aircraft manufacturers, including Breguet and Nieuport. When the Armistice of 1918 brought an end to the big aircraft orders, Voisin beat his swords into plowshares, turning his large factory and 2,000 employees to the production of automobiles. For his first car, named the C1 for his late brother, Voisin bought a ready-made design that had been turned down by Citroën because its 80hp Knight sleeve-valve engine had been deemed too expensive to manufacture. Eccentric or stubborn, once Gabriel Voisin had chosen the sleeve-valve design, he stayed with it through the end of production, paying Charles Knight a royalty on each unit. Voisin tinkered with other ideas, including a 500cc cyclecar he called le Sulky, and the wildly experimental C2, shown at the Paris Salon of 1921. Its narrow-angle, 7.2-liter, V-12 engine was a masterpiece of complexity inside, but a minimalist triumph on the outside. Each wheel had its own closed hydraulic circuit, and the clutch consisted of two facing turbines in an oil bath. "It was too complex and therefore prohibitively expensive to produce in as small a factory as ours," Voisin admitted. The C1 was followed in production by the C3, with a high-compression engine producing as much as 140hp. Voisin offered a reward of 500,000 francs to anyone who could produce an engine of the same size that matched the Voisin's efficiency and performance, and never had to pay out--no one took up the challenge. Other models followed, including the four-cylinder C4, the car that beat the Orient Express from Paris to Milan, and the six-cylinder C11, the most commercially successful of all Voisin's cars. He built three cars propelled by his V12L engine, an inline-12 that was two straight-sixes coupled end to end. Despite his background in aviation, Voisin's coachwork owed much more to his earlier career as an architect. His designs were light, but hardly could be considered aerodynamic, their odd angles, planes and curves owing more to cubism than the wind tunnel. In fact, Voisin maintained a friendship with modernist architect Le Corbusier, who designed the door handles on early cars and would later champion Voisin's ideas for a planned industrial city. Whatever his strengths as an engineer, Voisin was a poor businessman, and often showed his disdain for the typical motorist. His suggestion for those who criticized his cars was that they buy another make. He was contemptuous of American-style advertising that put emotion ahead of cold facts, and sneered at those who would swallow such advertising. The Depression was hard on a company like Voisin that catered to the wealthy and the famous, and Gabriel Voisin lost control of his company in 1932, much like his countryman, Andre Citroën. Though he was able to regain it in 1934, he lost it for good three years later. Voisin continued to create, designing an aluminum microcar called the Biscooter after the war, and exploring ideas for steam power. An odd, six-wheeled truck powered by a 200cc engine, shown at the 1958 Paris Salon, became the last car to bear his name. He retired to Tournus in 1960 to write his memoirs, and received a steady stream of visitors, many of whom wanted to know about his rather extensive love life. (Separated from his wife, Adrienne Lola, in 1926, he married a Spanish girl of about 18 in 1950, and set up house with her and her elder sister, who "came as part of her dowry.") He remained close to his daughter from his first marriage, Jeanne. Voisin wanted to talk about his place in aviation history, and showed no interest in his automobiles. "Why are you bothering with old crocks like that?" he asked a visitor who had arrived in a Voisin. "At your age, you should be spending your time and money on pretty girls." Voisin died on Christmas Day, 1973, and was buried in the village of Le Villars, not far from his birthplace.

Gabriel Voisin

Gabriel Voisin

Show Article

Wednesday 27th June 1923

93 years ago

A statue of F. H. Royce sculpted by F. Derwent Wood was unveiled in Derby, England, partly to honour the man and partly to bring publicity and potential sales to Rolls-Royce Ltd.

F H Royce statue

F H Royce statue

Show Article

Sunday 23rd December 1923

93 years ago

Former US President Woodrow Wilson received a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Pall Mall touring car for his birthday. It was a gift from friends.

Show Article

Friday 19th December 1924

92 years ago

The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost manufactured in England was sold in London. The Silver Ghost, a custom touring car, had been introduced in 1906 and had been considered by many to be the best car in the world. The Silver Ghost was followed by the Twenty, the Phantom, the Silver Cloud, the Silver Shadow, and the Silver Wraith.

1920 Silver Ghost with limousine coachwork

1920 Silver Ghost with limousine coachwork

Show Article

Saturday 2nd May 1925

92 years ago

The Rolls-Royce Phantom I was introduced. Called the 'New Phantom' or '40/50HP Phantom' on it's release, this model replaced the Silver Ghost with updates to the chassis and running gear. It was Roll-Royce's flagship model until the Phantom II was released in 1929. Compared to the Silver Ghost, the single biggest upgrade was made to the engine which was cast in three blocks, each having two cylinders and detachable cylinder heads. With a pushrod, overhead valvetrain the 7,668 cc unit was powerful enough to move around large cars. The engine's under square engine could run smoother and a lower rpm with a favorable torque curve. The engine was attached to a separate 4-speed gearbox unit through a rubber coupling to reduce vibration. Power was send to the rear wheels though a torque tube. Other upgrades from the Phantom included a disc-type clutch and adjustable radiator shutters. A complex system of levers and suspension required constant oiling to as many as 50 separate points. The standard chassis was 143.5 inches long and a long wheel base model 150.5 inches.Throughout production, the Phantom was upgraded in detail such as the cylinder which was cast in aluminum from 1928 onward. The Phantom I was a great sucess for Roll-Royce which was extended to the Springfield, Massachusetts plant. American versions featured slightly different wheelbases, a 3-speed transmission and some lacked front brakes.

Rolls Royce Phantom I

Rolls Royce Phantom I

Show Article

Monday 12th April 1926

91 years ago

The British businessman who built Rolls-Royce Limited, Claude Johnson (61), died. He described himself as the hyphen in the Rolls-Royce name but, without Royce who was ill from 1908, and losing Rolls in July 1910, it was Johnson the founding entrepreneur who kept the business alive.

Show Article

Thursday 7th June 1928

88 years ago

Sir Arthur F. Sidgreaves, Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Ltd. 1929-1946, committed suicide in a London subway station aged 65.

Show Article

Monday 26th August 1929

87 years ago

The first Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental was completed.

Show Article

Monday 14th December 1931

85 years ago

Rolls-Royce acquired the much smaller rival car maker Bentley after the latter's finances failed to weather the onset of the depression. From soon after World War II until 2002 standard Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars were often identical apart from the radiator grille and minor details.

Show Article

Wednesday 22nd February 1933

84 years ago

Malcolm Campbell drove his Napier-Campbell, powered by a 36.5 Litre 2,500 hp Rolls-Royce "R" aero engine, as used by Schneider Trophy racing seaplanes, to a One-Mile Speed record of 272.46 mph on the beach at Daytona, Florida, USA.

Malcolm Campbell

Malcolm Campbell

Show Article

Saturday 22nd April 1933

84 years ago

Sir Frederich Henry Royce (70), joint founder of Rolls Royce Ltd., died in West Wittering, West Sussex, England The first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904. In 1906 Rolls and Royce formalized their partnership by creating Rolls-Royce Limited, with Royce appointed chief engineer and works director. Biography Frederick Henry Royce was born in Alwalton, Huntingdonshire, near Peterborough, the son of James and Mary Royce (maiden name King) and was the youngest of their five children. His family ran a flour mill which they leased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners but the business failed and the family moved to London. His father died in 1872 when Royce was only nine and he had to go out to work selling newspapers and delivering telegrams, having had only one year of formal schooling. In 1878 he started an apprenticeship with the Great Northern Railway company at its works in Peterborough thanks to the financial help of an aunt. After three years the money ran out and, after a short time with a tool making company in Leeds, he returned to London and joined the Electric Light and Power Company. He moved to their Liverpool office in 1882 working on street and theatre lighting as their chief engineer. Founds F. H Royce & Co. In 1884 with £20 of savings he entered a partnership with Ernest Claremont, a friend who contributed £50, and they started a business making domestic electric fittings in a workshop in Cooke Street, Hulme, Manchester called F H Royce and Company. In 1894 they started making dynamos and electric cranes and F.H. Royce & Company was registered as a limited liability company. The company was re-registered in 1899 as Royce Ltd with a public share flotation and a further factory opened in Trafford Park, Manchester. Birth of the Rolls Royce With his fascination for all things mechanical he became interested in motor cars and bought first, in 1901, a small De Dion and in 1902 or 1903 a 1901 model two cylinder Decauville. This did not meet his high standards and so he first improved it and then decided to manufacture a car of his own which he did in a corner of the workshop in 1904. Two more cars were made. Of the three, which were called Royces and had two cylinder engines, one was given to Ernest Claremont and the other sold to one of the other directors, Henry Edmunds. Edmunds was a friend of Charles Rolls who had a car showroom in London selling imported models and showed him his car and arranged the historic meeting between Rolls and Royce at the Midland Hotel Manchester. Rolls was impressed and agreed to take all the cars Royce could make provided they had at least four cylinders and were called Rolls-Royce. The first Rolls-Royce car was made in December 1904 and in 1906 they joined forces to become Rolls-Royce Ltd. Royce & Company remained in business as a separate company making cranes until 1932 when it was bought by Herbert Morris of Loughborough. The last Royce designed crane was built in 1964. Orders for cars quickly outstripped the firm's capacity to build them. He had always worked hard and was renowned for never eating proper meals which resulted in him being taken ill first in 1902 and again in 1911. He had a house built at Le Canadel in the south of France and a further home at Crowborough, later moving to West Wittering, both in East Sussex, England, but his health deteriorated further. He had a major operation in London in 1912 and was given only a few months to live by the doctors. In spite of this he returned to work but was prevented from visiting the factory, which had moved to larger premises, fitted out to detailed plans by Royce, in Derby in 1908. He insisted on checking all new designs and engineers and draughtsmen had to take the drawings to be personally checked by him, a daunting prospect with his well known perfectionism. He also continued to do design work himself, particularly on the aircraft engines that the company started to make from 1914 in response to the needs of the British military during World War I. At the time, Royce was a consultant to the British Army. Engines built by Royce provided "over half the power used in the air war by the allies." His Eagle engine also powered the first trans-Atlantic flight and the first flight between England and Australia. His engine achieved the world speed record several times. Speed Records Rolls Royce engines achieved speed records on land and in the air. In 1931, a Rolls Royce entry in the International Schneider Trophy contest set a new world air speed record of over 400mph. This was the first of several air speed records. On February, 22, 1923 at Daytona Beach, Florida Sir Malcolm Campbell set the world land-speed record driving his Rolls Royce powered Blue Bird. On March 2 and September 3, 1935, Campbell broke his own record again driving a Rolls Royce powered vehicle. Legacy Sir Henry Royce's legacy is represented by the continued reputation of the Rolls Royce car for quality and style. Ownership of the car continues to be regarded as a symbol of personal status. In 1931, the company added the Bentley to its production line, another luxury car and status symbol. Rolls Royce's standard of engineering is so high that cars remain valuable despite their age. Both Rolls and Bentley chassis were constructed to the taste and requirements of individual clients, not mass produced, which added to their desirability and attractiveness. The company founded by Royce would expand its operations in the twentieth century from luxury cars to the manufacturer of aircraft engines, for which it earned a comparable reputation. During World War II the company made the engines, the Merlin, for the famous Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane aircraft, both of which helped to win the Battle of Britain, a major confrontation. It was manufacture of the Merlin that led to the Company's development into a major aircraft manufacturer. In 1944, the first jet engine to enter military service was designed and built by Rolls Royce. The automobile and aircraft operations are now run by separate companies. The aircraft manufacturer is the second largest supplier of engines to civilian airlines and the largest supplier of engines to the military.

Frederich Henry Royce

Frederich Henry Royce

Show Article

Tuesday 3rd April 1934

83 years ago

A British patent application for the first cat's eye road marker was recorded for inventor Yorkshirman Percy Shaw (1889-1975), described as "Improvements relating to Blocks for Road Surface." Cat's eyes consisted (in its original form) of two pairs of reflective glass spheres set into a white rubber dome, mounted in a cast-iron housing. This is the kind that marked the centre of the road, with one pair of cat's eyes showing in each direction. A key feature was the flexible rubber dome that is occasionally deformed by the passage of traffic. A fixed rubber wiper cleans the surface of the reflectors as they sink below the surface of the road. The rubber dome was protected from impact damage by metal 'kerbs' – which also gave tactile and audible feedback for wandering drivers.There are several stories about how he came up with the idea. The most famous involves him driving down the difficult road (Queensbury Road, part of the A647 with a very steep drop to one side) from the Old Dolphin public house in Clayton Heights to his home in Halifax, when a cat on a fence along the edge of the road looked at the car, reflected his headlights back to him, allowing him to take corrective action and remain on the road. In an interview with Alan Whicker, however, he told a different story of being inspired on a foggy night to think of a way of moving the reflective studs on a road sign to the road surface. Further, local school children who were taken on visits to the factory in the late 1970s were told that the idea came from Shaw seeing light reflected from his car headlamps by tram tracks in the road on a foggy night. The tram tracks were polished by the passing of trams and by following the advancing reflection, it was possible to maintain the correct position in the road. In 1934, he patented his invention (patent No. 436,290 and 457,536), based on the 1927 reflecting lens patent of Richard Hollins Murray. A year later, Reflecting Roadstuds Ltd was formed to manufacture the devices. Sales were initially slow, but approval from the Ministry of Transport and the blackout in the Second World War gave a huge boost to production and the firm, located near Shaw's home in Boothtown, grew in size making more than a million roadstuds a year, which were exported all over the world. A later patent added a rainwater reservoir to the rubber shoe, which could be used to wash the glass "eyes" when a car drove over the stud. Such a success was the invention of the "cat's eye" that he was rewarded with an OBE for services to exports in the birthday honours list in 1965. He became eccentric in later life, removing the carpets and much of the furniture from his home, and keeping three televisions running constantly (respectively tuned to BBC1, BBC2 and ITV, all with the sound turned down) with a fourth BBC2 in colour. One luxury was his Rolls-Royce Phantom. He never married and he died from cancer and heart disease at Boothtown Mansion, Halifax, where he had lived for all but two of his 86 years. Despite rumours of a personal fortune, his personal estate was admitted to probate in December 1976 at a value of £193,500. He was an agnostic, but his funeral was held at Boothtown Methodist Church, and he was cremated in Elland. In 2005, he was listed as one of the 50 greatest Yorkshire people in a book by Bernard Ingham

Cat's eyes

Cat's eyes

Show Article

Tuesday 28th August 1934

82 years ago

Rolls-Royce of America, Inc. was reorganised as the Springfield Manufacturing Company to avoid involving the Rolls-Royce name in bankruptcy proceedings.

Show Article

Wednesday 14th August 1935

81 years ago

Mrs. M.S. Morrow of Whitestone, New York, had the last U.S.-built Rolls-Royce Phantom I delivered to her home. Manufactured at the Rolls-Royce plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, the US-built Phantom I made its debut one year after its British counterpart. It featured elegant proportions and well-engineered coachwork, suitable for the successor of the Silver Ghost--the model that earned Rolls-Royce a reputation as "the best car in the world." A total of 1,241 Phantoms were produced.

Rolls-Royce Phantom I

Rolls-Royce Phantom I

Show Article

Wednesday 2nd October 1935

81 years ago

Rolls-Royce announced their new 7.3 litre, 12-cylinder Phantom III, costing £1,850. It replaced the Phantom II and was the only V12 Rolls-Royce until the 1998 introduction of the Silver Seraph. Over 700 V12 Phantom III chassis were constructed from 1936 to 1939; many have survived.

Rolls Royce Phantom III,

Rolls Royce Phantom III,

Show Article

Saturday 12th October 1935

81 years ago

Regular production of the Rolls Royce Phantom II ceased. It used a refinement of the Phantom I's 7.7 L (7,668 cc or 467.9 cu in) pushrod-OHV straight-6 engine with a new crossflow cylinder head. Unlike on previous 40/50 hp models, the engine was bolted directly to the 4-speed manual transmission. Synchromesh was added on gears 3 and 4 in 1932 and on gear 2 in 1935.Power was transmitted to the rear wheels using an open driveshaft, a hypoid bevel final drive, and Hotchkiss drive, replacing the torque tube from a remotely mounted gearbox used on earlier 40/50 hp. When Marlene Dietrich came to the USA in 1930, the Blue Angel director Josef von Sternberg welcomed her with gifts including a green Rolls-Royce Phantom II. The car later appeared in their first US film Morocco. The Phantom II was featured in the films The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.[8] When its specifications are quoted during the scene in the Kingdom of Hatay, the Sultan states that the Rolls-Royce Phantom II has a "4.3 litre, 30 horsepower, six cylinder engine, with Stromberg downdraft carburetor" and "can go from zero to 100 kilometers an hour in 12.5 seconds (and I even like the color)." However, the car used in the film was actually a Rolls-Royce Barker Saloon, with 20/25 hp.[9] It is also the star of the 1964 movie The Yellow Rolls-Royce where its engine specifications are given as the engine having a bore of 4.5" and stroke of 5.5", which would equate to 525 cubic inches

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Show Article

Friday 28th August 1936

80 years ago

Lord Herbert Scott was elected Chairman of Rolls-Royce Ltd.

Show Article

Thursday 15th October 1936

80 years ago

The 30th International Motor Exhibition opened in London, England, at Olympia. The following review of the show appeared in The Spectator the following day: "One of the few real surprises of the show is the new 12- cylinder Lagonda, designed by Mr. W. 0. Bentley. It was only announced a week before the opening, a very brief warning of what is only the second British Twelve in history, apart. from the sleeve-valved Daimlers built to the order; of the late . King. The new Lagonda has its cylifsders set' ià the two banks of six each, V-fashion. The bore and stroke are 75 by 84.5 (very nearly "square "), the cubic content is 41 litres, the rated power 42 and the tax 2.31 10s. It has a four-speed synchro-meshed gearbox, with central change, and it is built in two chassis lengths, 11 ft. and 11 ft. 6 in., both with a 60-inch track. There is independent front,wheel springing and in most respects the design follows the most recent trend. Another new model which might almost be called a new car is the 8-cylinder Sunbeam, a notable addition to the respectable list of British luxury cars. It is two years or so since any Sunbeams have been built, and there is no question but • that the company are re-entering the market with a striking car. The engine has its cylinders in line, but in spite of that it is one of the shortest units of its power made. It is much shorter and more compact than either the last 8-cylinder Sunbeam or the better-known 3-litre Six, which, with the original Bentley and the " 30-98 " Vauxhall, led the world in high-performance ears. The power is a nominal 30, an actual 150 hp., the cubic content being 41 litres, from a bore and stroke of 80 by 112. It is a beautiful piece of work, admirably laid out and superbly finished. The chassis costs £750 and £800, according to length, and the complete car costs from £1,195 upwards. The new 6 h.p. Fiat is interesting in that it is the smallest 4-cylinder car in existence andAprohably the. smallest eves made. The bore and stroke are 52 by 67, a shade over 2 in. by 21 in., which gives a capacity of 570 c.c. and a 13.11.p. of 13. It has a. 4-speed gear box with synehro-meshed third and fourth, and except for its minute dimensions the whole ear is exactly like any other. It is, as it were, a made!, the only difference, which incidentally is not noticeable with the bon- net down, is that the radiator and axle are behind the engine and-not in front. 'A single transverse spring provides independent suspension in front, while the rear axle is sprung on ordinary quarter ellipties, and the whole is assisted by hydraulic shock absorbers. The wheel base is 6 ft. Olin., the track 3 ft. 71 in. and 3 ft. 61 in. in rear. The body is a 2-seated saloon-with the usual " occasional " accommodation behind, and, considering the very small .dimensions - of every- thing, entrance should be fairly easy through the very wide door. Apart from these new models, the new editions of existing cars all show that steady advance which distinguishes the whole Exhibition. "Armstrong Siddeley make an impressive display with _no . fewer. than nine cars, -two examples of the 14 three of the 17 h.p., three of the 20-25 and one of the Siddeley special. The particular improvements which apply to all these models include increased power and more vivid acceleration. There is no-noticeable change in any of them, but there is. a better single-plate clutch which is stated to give very smooth. engagement for the pre-selective gear- box, and all models now have' centralised chassis-lubrication and permanent jacks; In all these cars, the back seats are well forward oft he axle. Of the cars shown I like best the 14 h.p. 4-window-saloon, the 17 h.p. touring saloon, and the 20-25 h.p. Atalanta. saloon. These are all excellent examples of first-class British coach-work of plain and unostentatious design. Nine Austins in-all are shown, the 20 11.p. Mayfair limousine, the 10 h.p. York saloon, the 14 h.p. Goodwood saloon, the 12 h.p. Ascot saloon, the 10 h.p. cabriolet and. aaleon, and cabriolet and saloon on the 7 h.p. The principal changes in all the Austin cars is in their bodywork, which no*: has decidedly flowing lines:- Perhaps the model that 'is likely to be the star turn of the stand is the new 14 h.p. six-cylinder "• Goodwood " saloon, a very good-looking car that sells for £235. I had a special opportunity of examining this car when if was shown at the first " Television Motor Show" at Alexandra Palace last week, and I was impressed then with its sensible design and the comfort of its body. The newest Austin product is the " Conliay " cabriolet, shown on the Ten chassis. There is plenty of room in it and the hood can be left open at full or half-dropped positions. This car costs £182 10s. The New Ascot" Twelve has a 4-cylinder engine of 11.9 h.p., mounted on rubber, and looks excellent value at £210. Altogether a good display. Daimler are showing seven different models, of which perhaps the 15 h.p. is the most interesting, in that the power of the engine has been now increased to 17 h.p. Of the two examples shown I imagine the sports saloon at £475 will attract the most attention. Its lines are excellent. There is a Light Twenty with a 6-window saloon, a light straight 8 with a sports saloon (this is the car that has done 94 m.p.h. at Brooklands), and a decidedly impressive example of the 41 litre straight 8 with a limousine body by Hooper, costing £1,510. With the exception of the 15 h.p. there are no changes worth mentioning in the Daimler design for 1937. The chief exhibits on the Rolls-Royce stand are naturally the new Phantom III 12-cylinder, which made its first appear- ance last year. The engine of this, it will be remembered, consists of two banks of 6 cylinders each ; the treasury rating of this is 50.7 h.p. Minor improvements have been made throughout, but in general the car remains the same. It is shown in two types of limousine costing £2,605 and £2,650. The other exhibits are two limousines on the 20.25 h.p. 6-cylinder chassis, one by Thrupp & Maberly and the other by Park Ward, costing 11,572 and £1,767 respectively. In this chassis also there is no change to report. Rovers are showing their new 16 h.p. saloon and their new speed model, which is a 20 h.p., the remaining cars shown being a Ten, two Twelves and two Fourteens. Very little change has been made in the Rover chassis for this year, and what there is is chiefly in the line. The radiator guard has been brought a little further forwards and, as far as I can see, there is rather more room in the bodywork. The roof and the rear panel cantours of the Ten have been redesigned and the front door is now hung on the centre pillar. The prices of the cars Shown arc, tha-Ten-A248, the two Twelves 1285 and £295, the two Fourteens £305 and £315, the Sixteens 1345 and 1355. and the sports, a good-looking car finished in two shades of greed,: at £415. Vauxhall's new car, the chief exhibit, is their 25 h.p., which sells at the remarkably low price of £298. The 6-cylinder engine has a bore and stroke of 81-94 by 19L6, with a cubic capacity of 3215 c.c., and a very remarkabl' performiuice is claimed for it. The maximum speed- is stated to be 80 ' while the claimed acceleration is as follows. In top speed it takes 7 1/5 seconds to reach 30 m.p.h.'from 10 m.p.h., and 53/5 seconds on third speed ; 50 m.p.h. is reached in 16 seconds, using all gears. The Vauxhall independent suspension is used in front, and, in general, all the familiar features of the make are incorporated. The makers consider that this car is the fastest they have made since the famous " 30;98 " of distinguished memory. The chief exhibit of interest of the Lanehester stand is the new 18 h.p., which is shown with a saloon No. 581. The bore and stroke of its engine are now 72 by 105, which gives it a treasury rating of. just -under g0 h.p. The price complete of the ear shown is.£595. Another very interesting-looking ear, which I hope to try for report in The Spectator in a few days, is the 14 h.p. 6-cylinder " Roadrider." This has a bore and stroke of 00 by 90, with a wheel base of 8 ft. 7 ins., and sells as shown on the stand for £330. The 11 h.p. remains much the same as last year, and an example of it with a neat saloon body is shown. To experienced motorists, one of the main points of interest in the Morris display will be the fact that practically no alterations have been found necessary—or if they have the makers have not considered it worth while to mention them. A strict adherence to approved design is always, to my mind, the best advertisement any car can have. The entire range of the six Morris cars is shown from the £120 8 h.p. open tourer to the £280 25 h.p. saloon. The new features of the 8 h.p. include a spring steering-wheel, a carburettor silencer, a fume exhaust-pipe and needle bearing universal joints. The 10 h.p. and the 12 h.p. are fitted with a permanent jacking system, the accommodation in the rear compartment in the saloon has been improved and a new, type, of external oil filter, which can be easily dismantled for cleaning, has been adopted. Officially speaking, the centre of attraction on the Riley staiakii-nep. Monaco, which has been reintroduced after a lapse of a year. Bodywork has been considerably improved and there are six windows instead of four. For my part I consider the 14 litre Falcon, which I recently tried for The Spectator, of greater interest if only because it is more powerful. This chassis is shown with the Falcon and Adelphi saloons, the Lynx tourer and the two-seater Spright. Perhaps the most attractive-looking car on the stand is the 15 h.p. 6- cylinder Kestrel, which has what is called aero line coachwork. The new V8 Ninety is shown with a very agreeable saloon body finished in what looks like transparent green. , : All the Humber models, the Snipe, the Pullman, the 18 h.p. and the 12 h.p., are represented in the eight cars displayed. While it is not exact to say that the :bigger Humber is a new „ car, the engine's dimensions have been increased, bringing the capacity from 34 litres to just over 4 litres, and- the rated - h.p. to 27; and the 18 h.p. -has _now-: a 2-ilitre ingine.1 In. Other respects the design of the HUMber remains much the same as before, the two larger cars having:the even-keel front- . Wheel suspension, while the 12 h.p. is fitted -With -the normal type. The Snipe and 18 h.p. can be fitted with the de Nora-am- -vine quick-changing gear which was recently described in The Spectator, while the 12 h.p. uses the normal type. The display of cars is a notable one; the Snipe is shown as a Pullman limousine, the Pullman Sedanca de ville as a saloon, and as a sports saloon, the last being fitted with the de Normanville gear-box. The 18 h.p. is shown as a 4-window saloon with a division and as a particularly attractive grey foursome coupe, while the two 12 h.p. are the standard saloon, which has been reduced in price to 1258, and the Vogue, which is now sold for £298. The latter, it will be remembered, was what is called '7 inspired " by'Molvneux, the dressmaker. • B.S.A. again show their Scout front-wheel drive 10 h.p. car in six different forms. - There are no differences between this tear's and last. year's model except in detaiLand,also in a.slight increase in power. Steering has been greatly improved as I have been able to prove for myself, and, all things considered, I regard this car as one of the most interesting in the Show. One regrets: that the idea has not been; adapted to a larger machine. There is a stripped chassis; that very rare and-wel- come thing in these days, two 2-seaters, two 4-seaters, and a , coupe de luxe. The prices range from £150 10s. to £189. A' Point of interest is that for an extra five guineas twin car- burettors can be fitted to any model. : Ford has his usual impressive display at the Albert Hall; a_ display. _of _such_variety...this music by a band called the V-8 Shadow Symphony Or- : iiiestra,"1--that there. in some -danger- of the. principal per- forthers being overlooked. The new car this year is the 22 h.p. V8, of which several attractive examples are shown. The original 30 h.p. V8, the Eight and the Ten, are displayed in various forms. 4 As in tlie case of the.standard productions, the special coachwork shcivis signs. of steady progress. Among the problem, that have been studied more particularly since last -year is sound-isolation, and there are various ingenioui methods by which noise- is kept away from the inside of the body. In some cases much trouble has been taken to reduce as far as possible the noise caused by wind-rush---a problem as difficult of solution as any, one would imagine. Ventilation has also advanced a good. deal - and it may be taken that from now on the ordinary well-built closed car will be free from " draughts and always fresh. -Several; leaves seein to have been taken out of the American coachbuilders' book in- the matter of the disposal Of luggage, and throughout the special coachwork section you will see' quite remarkably neat methods of carrying considerable quantities of suitcases and other kWard things protected from the weather and withoUt detracting from The 'lines of the car. These lines, by the way, are perhaps the best we have seen since the insane craze for what was called streamlining reached its peak and began to subside. There are _ very few examples of absurd designs and, on the ,other hand, nearly all the English coachwork has returned to dignity. There is a certain lightness of touch even on the largest and heaviest cars, which is very pleasing to the eye. Park Ward show some attractive work on Daimler, Bentley and Rolls-Royce chassis, Of Which I thought the four-wiudg, :nv saloon on the Bentley the most interesting from the. con- structional point of view. The frame, usually made of wood, is in this case made of 22-guage aircraft steel. The company show a division window which is decidedly novel. When the winding handle is turned the window rises Eat with the rOof where it is concealed by a flap. It is extremely neat and one of its advantages is that it gives more leg-room. Barker and Company show. some fine examples of their best Work on one straight-8 44 litre Daimler chassis, on two Rolls-Royces and one Bentley. Of these, the touring limousine on the 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce is perhaps the most striking, bat the Sriorts on the 44 litre Bentley, painted in light yellow, a colour that will remind_ old nuttorista_Qf cheerful days long past, runs it very close. The limousine has a special 'compartment for golf -Clubs which is likely to be one of the most popular innovations in coachwork generally. • Hooper and Company, show -a very agreeable sports saloon on a 25 h.p. Rolls-Royce, finished in grey, and a cream-and- black " Sedanca " on a 40/50 chassis. The Burlington Carriage Company have fitted an Armstrong Siddeley with a Town Brougham of attractive design, and Martin Walter has an excellently designed cabriolet on a Daimler-light straight 8. I do.not think there are any more open cars than there were last year, but there are quite a number on various stands, and most of them are certainly viry alluring.":.:In-the medern open 4-seater you sit consider- ably lower down than in the old-fashioned type, and, with Proper screening, there is no reason why,.in any weather but a raging north-east gale,--the 'occupants' Should not be well , preteeted. *There is an '- all=weitber. "tourer on two small WOlseley chassis Which' will explain what I mein.. Vanden Plas show an interesting :example of the pillarlesa saloon on the new Alvis 4.3: litre. ,--Jt is a matter. for some surprise that this design has not progressed any faster. It is not of any great importance on a big car, but on a little one it makes all the difference in the world. There is every reason to be well satisfied with the trend of coachwork design as well as with the improved workmanship. In spite of the fact that punctures and bursts-seldom happen to modern cars, old-timers (perhaps for the good of their souls)- are generallYitill slightly obsessed' by their possibility,. , or, if you prefer it, suffer a distinct inferiority complex on the subject. A de,ad'tyre 'will immobilise the best car as completely if not as long as will a petrol-shortage. At every motor-show therefore I slink round to that part which .houses the tyres, beautiful, new, tightly blown-up, obviously good for a. year's driving, and feast lay eyes on them. It is a senseless procedure, but I like it. This year I-am specially taken with,the Dunlop show, where they have all kinds Of dark, gleaming tyres toeheer me up, including the new " Cruiser " cover and- the _" Sports," which has a ferocious-looking.tread. Here, too, you can see all the kinds of wheels Used, centre-lock; ordinary detachable, Magna and disc, Also a very intriguing pressure-gauge."

British Motor Show at Olympia, London, 1936

British Motor Show at Olympia, London, 1936

Show Article

Thursday 28th January 1937

80 years ago

The prototype of the Rolls-Royce Wraith made its first test run. The first model of the postwar period the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith became the principal luxury sedan sold by Rolls-Royce in the decades following World War II.

Rolls Royce Wraith (1938)

Rolls Royce Wraith (1938)

Show Article

Friday 16th September 1938

78 years ago

George E T Eyston set a world land speed record of 357.5 mph driving the Thunderbolt powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce R-type V-12 aero engines.

Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt

Show Article

Tuesday 3rd January 1939

78 years ago

The experimental Rolls-Royce 'Big Bertha', a Wraith chassis with a straight-8 engine, was completed

Show Article

Saturday 14th October 1939

77 years ago

Appearing for sale in the classified ads in Autocar were a Jaguar 3.5-litre two-seater, £325; a 1935 Frazer-Nash-BMW Type 55/38 two-seater, £295; and a 1930 Rolls-Royce H. J. Mulliner 20/25, £2,255.

Show Article

Wednesday 12th June 1940

76 years ago

Edsel Ford telephoned William Knudsen of the US Office of Production Management (OPM) to confirm Ford Motor Company's acceptance of Knudsen's proposal to manufacture 9,000 Rolls-Royce-designed engines to be used in British and US airplanes.In May, Roosevelt had called on Knudsen, a former Ford executive who became president of General Motors in 1937, to serve as director general of the OPM, the agency responsible for coordinating government purchases and wartime production. Knudsen had barely settled in Washington when he received an urgent appeal from the British government: The Royal Air Force (RAF) was in desperate need of new airplanes to defend Britain against an expected German offensive. In two meetings in late May and early June 1940, Knudsen and Edsel Ford agreed that Ford would manufacture a new fleet of aircraft for the RAF on an expedited basis. One significant obstacle remained, however: Edsel's father Henry, who still retained complete control over the company he founded, was known for his opposition to the possible U.S. entry into World War II. Edsel and Charles Sorensen, Ford's production chief, had apparently gotten the go-ahead from Henry Ford by June 12, when Edsel telephoned Knudsen to confirm that Ford would produce 9,000 Rolls-Royce Merlin airplane engines (6,000 for the RAF and 3,000 for the U.S. Army). However, as soon as the British press announced the deal, Henry Ford personally and publicly canceled it, telling a reporter: "We are not doing business with the British government or any other government." In fact, according to Douglas Brinkley's biography of Ford, "Wheels for the World," Ford had in effect already accepted a contract from the German government. The Ford subsidiary Ford-Werke in Cologne was doing business with the Third Reich at the time, which Ford's critics took as proof that he was concealing a pro-German bias behind his claims to be a man of peace. As U.S. entry into the war looked ever more certain, Ford reversed his earlier position, and in May of 1941 the company opened a large new government-sponsored facility at Willow Run, Michigan, for the purposes of manufacturing B-24E Liberator bombers for the Allied war effort. In addition to aircraft, Ford Motor plants produced a great deal of other war materiel during World War II, including a variety of engines, trucks, jeeps, tanks and tank destroyers.

Show Article

Wednesday 20th August 1941

75 years ago

Ford produced its last British private car until after the war. During World War II, the Dagenham plant turned out 360,000 vehicles and a new factory in Trafford Park, Manchester, that Ford opened at the request of the British government built 34,000 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines under license engines for the RAF. The Luftwaffe apparently bombed the factory a few days after it opened in May 1941, but it appears the plant was able to continue building engines because it was designed in two separate sections to minimize the effects of a bombing.

Ford workers are assembling Rolls-Royce Merlin engines during WWII

Ford workers are assembling Rolls-Royce Merlin engines during WWII

Show Article

Thursday 25th June 1953

63 years ago

A full-sized clay model of the proposed Lincoln Continental Mark II was completed. The Continental Mark II was a personal luxury car produced by the Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company in 1956 and 1957. Many aficionados of the automobile consider the Continental Mark II one of the classics of the postwar period. In its production, most of the car was hand-built to an exacting standard, including the application of multiple coats of paint, hand sanding, double lacquering, and polishing to perfection. The Mark II sold for around $10,000 or the equivalent of a new Rolls-Royce or two regular Cadillacs (at least until the $13,074 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham out-priced it in 1957). In spite of this, Ford estimated they still lost over a thousand dollars per car on the 3,000 that were built, some with factory-installed air conditioning. Initially, Ford accepted losses on the Mark II in return for the prestige with which it endowed its entire product line; but after going public, tolerance for such losses fell. Famous owners included Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, the Shah of Iran, and a cross section of the richest people in America.

Lincoln Continental Mark II

Lincoln Continental Mark II

Show Article

Thursday 24th December 1953

63 years ago

The first prototype Lincoln Continental Mark II was completed. The new Continental was not intended to be the largest or most powerful automobile; rather, the most luxurious and elegant American car available, designed to recapture the spirit of the great classics of the prewar period—with prices to match. The Mark II's inspiration was the celebrated V12-poweredLincoln Continental of the 1940s, among the most notable cars of that War-interrupted decade. The Mark II sold for around $10,000,[6] the equivalent of a new Rolls-Royce or twoCadillacs (at least until the $13,074 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham out-priced it in 1957). In spite of this, Ford estimated they still lost over a thousand dollars per car[7] on the 3,000 that were built.

Lincoln Continental Mark II

Lincoln Continental Mark II

Show Article

Tuesday 4th May 1954

63 years ago

The General Motors Board of Directors authorised the development of an ultra-luxury car, the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, under the direction of stylist Ed Glowacke and engineer Fred Arnold. The Eldorado Brougham was a hand-built, limited car derived from the Park Avenue and Orleans show cars of 1953-54. It featured the first appearance of quad headlights and totally unique trim. The exterior ornamentation included wide, ribbed lower rear quarter beauty panels extending along the rocker sills and rectangularly sculptured side body "cove" highlighted with five horizontal windsplits on the rear doors. Tail styling treatments followed the Eldorado pattern. This four-door hardtop with rear-hinged rear doors was an ultra-luxury car that cost an astonishing $13,074 — twice the price of any other 1957 Eldorado and more than the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud of the same year. It featured a stainless steel roof, self leveling air suspension, the first automatic two-position "memory" power seats, a dual four-barrel V-8, low-profile tires with thin white-walls, automatic trunk opener, cruise control, high-pressure cooling system, polarized sun visors, electric antenna, automatic-release parking brake, electric door locks, dual heating system, silver magnetized glovebox, drink tumblers, cigarette and tissue dispensers, lipstick and cologne, ladies' compact with powder puff, mirror and matching leather notebook, comb and mirror, Arpège atomizer with Lanvin perfume, automatic starter with restart function, Autronic Eye, drum-type electric clock, power windows, forged aluminum wheels and air conditioning.[8] Buyers of Broughams had a choice of 44 full-leather interior and trim combinations and could select such items as Mouton, Karakul or lambskin carpeting. There were serious difficulties with the air suspension, which proved troublesome in practice. Some owners found it cheaper to have it and replaced with conventional coil springs. The 1957 Eldorado Brougham joined the Sixty Special and the Series 75 as the only Cadillac models with Fleetwood bodies although Fleetwood script or crests did not appear anywhere on the exterior of the car,[12][13] and so this would also mark the first time in 20 years that that a Fleetwood-bodied car was paired with the Brougham name.[1][2][14] The 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham also marked the return of the Cadillac Series 70, if only briefly. Only 400 Eldorado Broughams were sold in 1957.

1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Concept

1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Concept

Show Article

Wednesday 2nd February 1955

62 years ago

The Chrysler Corporation legally made Imperial a separate marque, to better compete with its North American rivals, Lincoln and Cadillac, and European luxury sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 Adenauer and the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. The 1955 models are said to be inspired by Virgil Exner's own 1952 Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton show cars (which were themselves later rebodied to match the 1955-56 Imperials). The platform and bodyshell were shared with that year's big Chryslers, but the Imperial had a wheelbase that was 4.0 inches (102 mm) longer, providing it with more rear seat legroom, had a wide-spaced split eggcrate grille, the same as that used on the Chrysler 300 "executive hot rod", and had free-standing "gunsight" taillights mounted above the rear quarters, which were similar to those on the Exner's 1951 Chrysler K-310 concept car. Gunsight taillights were also known as "sparrow-strainer" taillights, named after the device used to keep birds out of jet-engines. Such taillights were separated from the fender and surrounded by a ring and became an Imperial fixture through 1962, although they would only be free-standing in 1955-56 and again in 1961-62. Two "C-69" models were available, including the two-door Newport hardtop coupe (3,418 built) and pillared four-door sedan (7,840 built), along with an additional "C-70" Crown limousine model (172 built). The "FirePower" V8 engine was Chrysler's first-generation Hemi with a displacement of 331 cu in (5.4 L) and developing 250 brake horsepower (186 kW). Power brakes and power steering were standard, along with Chrysler's "PowerFlite" automatic transmission. One major option on the 1955 and 1956 Imperials was air conditioning, at a cost of $535. Production totaled 11,430, more than twice the 1954 figure, but far below Lincoln and Cadillac. The Chrysler Corporation's luxury automobile brand between 1955 and 1975, with a brief reappearance in 1981 to 1983, and a second reapearance from 1990-1993.

Imperial car brochure - 1955

Imperial car brochure - 1955

Show Article

Wednesday 8th May 1957

60 years ago

The 2,996th and final Lincoln Continental Mark II was produced. The Mark II sold for $10,400, the equivalent of a new Rolls-Royce or two Cadillacs (at least until the $13,074 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham out-priced it in 1957). In spite of this, Ford estimated they still lost over a thousand dollars per car on the 3,000 that were built. About 1,300 were sold in the last quarter of 1955 after the car's October debut at the Paris Motor Show; another 1,300 or so in 1956; and 444 in 1957, some with factory-installed air conditioning. Initially, Ford accepted losses on the Mark II in return for the prestige with which it endowed its entire product line; but after going public, tolerance for such losses fell. Famous owners included Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, the Shah of Iran, and a cross section of the richest men in America. Taylor's car was a gift from Warner Bros. studio, and was painted a custom color to match her distinctive eyes.The car was featured in the 1956 film High Society, starring Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Louis Armstrong.

Show Article

Thursday 24th September 1959

57 years ago

Rolls-Royce launched its new £8,905 Phantom V, powered by a 6,230-cc, 90-degree V8 engine with twin SU carburettors, coupled with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Notable Phantom V owners included Queen Elizabeth II and her mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Those owned by Elizabeth II were official state cars, adapted for that purpose with a flag staff and illuminated heraldic shield above the windscreen. Having been retired from active service in 2002, both are now on public display: one in the royal motor museum at Sandringham, and the other in the special garage aboard HMY Britannia in Leith, Edinburgh. The Governor of Hong Kong used a Rolls-Royce Phantom V for ceremonial occasions. It was removed from Hong Kong by the Royal Navy immediately following the handover to China on 1 July 1997. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, owned a Phantom V. Since his exile, the car has been kept in his royal residence in Tehran and is occasionally shown to the public among the other luxurious cars owned by the Shah, including a unique Rolls-Royce Phantom VI and a Phantom IV. King Olav V of Norway owned a 1962 limousine as a state car. Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito had Rolls-Royce Phantom V in presidential collection for representative purposes.[3] The car is now displayed at the Museum of Yugoslavia, Belgrade. The Republic of the Philippines owns one. The former First Lady,Imelda Romualdez Marcos used the Rolls-Royce Phantom V as her official car. Then Beatle John Lennon's Phantom V, a 1960s counter-culture icon, came from the factory finished in Valentines black, with Lennon commissioning the custom paint job atop it in the style of a Romany gypsy wagon (not "psychedelic" as often referenced).

Rolls Royce Phantom V

Rolls Royce Phantom V

Show Article

Wednesday 21st October 1959

57 years ago

The London Motor Show opened to the public- considered by many to be the greatest ever - as the news announcer said at the time, ‘There’s something for nearly every purse.' For the sporty type of chap there was the Sunbeam Alpine or the Austin-Healey 3000 and drivers with very understanding bank managers considered the Rolls-Royce Phantom V or the SP250 Dart and the Majestic-Major on the Daimler stand. For those buying their first new small cars, there were four main show attractions – five if you counted Citroen’s Bijou, a 2CV assembled in Slough and sporting a glassfibre two-door body. The Herald was comparatively expensive but it was well appointed and the Triumph badging set it at a class above the outgoing Standard 8/10 range. But the Herald not only featured a turning circle smaller than a London taxi, it was Italian styled transport for the sort of chap who pretended to like expresso coffee and French art house films. Meanwhile, the Anglia 105E was the first British Ford with a four-speed gearbox and electric (as opposed to vacuum) windscreen wipers as standard, although most show-goers were more impressed with the ‘Breezeaway’ rear windscreen- ‘The World’s Most Exciting Light Car’

Sunbeam Alpine (1959)

Sunbeam Alpine (1959)

Show Article

Sunday 31st July 1960

56 years ago

Armstrong Siddeley was a British engineering group that operated during the first half of the 20th century, ceased the production of motor cars. It was formed in 1919 and is best known for the production of luxury motor cars and aircraft engines. The company was created following the purchase by Armstrong Whitworth of Siddeley-Deasy, a manufacturer of fine motor cars, that were marketed to the top echelon of society. After the merge of companies this focus on quality continued throughout in the production of cars, aircraft engines, gearboxes for tanks and buses, rocket and torpedo motors, and the development of railcars. Company mergers and takeovers with Hawker Aviation and Bristol Aero Engines saw the continuation of the car production but the production of cars ceased in August 1960. The company was absorbed into the Rolls-Royce conglomerate who were interested in the aircraft and aircraft engine business and eventually the remaining spares and all Motor Car interests were sold to the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd who now own the patents, designs, copyrights and trademarks, including the name Armstrong Siddeley. The first car produced was a fairly massive machine a fairly massive machine, a 5-litre 30 hp. A smaller 18 hp appeared in 1922 and a 2-litre 14 hp was introduced in 1923. 1928 saw the company's first 15 hp six; 1929 saw the introduction of a 12 hp vehicle. This was a pioneering year for the marque, during which it first offered the Wilson preselector gearbox as an optional extra; it became standard issue on all cars from 1933. In 1930 the company marketed four models, of 12, 15, 20, and 30 hp, the last costing £1450. The company's rather staid image was endorsed during the 1930s by the introduction of a range of six-cylinder cars with ohv engines, though a four-cylinder 12 hp was kept in production until 1936. In 1933, the 5-litre six-cylinder Siddeley Special was announced, featuring a Hiduminium aluminium alloy engine; this model cost £950. Car production continued at a reduced rate throughout 1940, and a few were assembled in 1941. The week that World War II ended in Europe, Armstrong Siddeley introduced its first post-war models; these were the Lancaster four-door saloon and the Hurricane drophead coupe. The names of these models echoed the names of aircraft produced by the Hawker Siddeley Group (the name adopted by the company in 1935) during the war. These cars all used a 2-litre six-cylinder (16 hp) engines, increased to 2.3-litre (18 hp) engines in 1949. From 1949 to 1952 two commercial variants of the 18 hp cars were produced, primarily for export. The Utility Coupé was a conventional coupe utility style vehicle, while the Station Coupé was effectively a dual cab vehicle, although it still retained only two doors. However, it did have two rows of seating to accommodate up to four adults. From 1953 the company produced the Sapphire, with a 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine. In 1956, the model range was expanded with the addition of the 234 (a 2.3-litre four-cylinder) and the 236 (with the older 2.3-litre six-cylinder engine). The Sapphire 346 sported a bonnet mascot in the shape of a Sphinx with namesake Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire jet engines attached. The 234 and 236 Sapphires might have looked to some of marque's loyal customers like a radical departure from the traditional Armstrong Siddeley appearance. However, in truth, they were simply too conservative in a period of rapidly developing automotive design. If the "baby Sapphire" brought about the beginning of the end for Armstrong Siddeley, it was because Jaguar had launched the unitary-construction 2.4 saloon in 1955, which was quicker, significantly cheaper, and much better-looking than the lumpy and frumpy 234/236 design. The last model produced by Armstrong Siddeley was 1958's Star Sapphire, with a 4-litre engine, and automatic transmission. The Armstrong Siddeley was a casualty of the 1960 merger with Bristol; the last car left the Coventry factory in 1960.

Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire

Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire

Show Article

Wednesday 19th August 1964

52 years ago

The Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R was launched at a list price (including tax) of £1,994 The good-looking Vanden Plas Princess 4-Litre R of 1964 was created out of the short-lived collaboration between Rolls-Royce/Bentley and BMC. The ‘R’ of the name was shorthand for the 3909cc Rolls-Royce straight-six engine under the bonnet of a modified 3-Litre bodyshell. The 175bhp of the all-alloy unit meant that it was an easy car to drive – even without the extra refinement from the Borg Warner automatic transmission, power steering and servo-assisted front disc brakes.

Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R

Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R

Show Article

Friday 23rd October 1970

46 years ago

At the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, American Gary Gabelich attained a record 631.367 mph average speed in the Blue Flame, a rocket-powered four-wheeled vehicle. Momentarily achieving 650mph, Gabelich's vehicle was powered by a liquid natural gas, hydrogen peroxide rocket engine that produced a thrust of up to 22,000 pounds. Gabelich's achievement ended the domination of Craig Breedlove, the American driver who set a series of astounding victories in jet-powered vehicles during the 1960s, breaking the 400 mph, 500 mph, and 600 mph barriers in 1963, 1964, and 1965, respectively. The Blue Flame's land-speed record stood until 1983, when Briton Richard Noble raced to a new record in his jet-powered Thrust 2 vehicle. The Thrust 2, a 17,000-pound jet-powered Rolls-Royce Avon 302 designed by John Ackroyd, reached a record 633.468 mph over the one-mile course in Nevada's stark Black Rock Desert.

Blue Flame

Blue Flame

Show Article

Saturday 12th June 1971

45 years ago

The last Lincoln Continental Mark III was produced. The 1969 Mark III was created when Lee Iacocca, president of Ford Motor Company at the time, directed Design Vice President, Gene Bordinat, to "put a Rolls Royce grille on a Thunderbird" in September 1965. The Mark III was based on the fourth generation Lincoln Continental (1961-1969) and the four-door fifth generation Thunderbird introduced for 1967. With the Thunderbird "dying in the marketplace" Iacocca wanted to put the company's development investment to better use by expanding its platform over several models. The Mark III was intended to compete head-to-head with the top of the domestic personal luxury car market, Cadillac's heavily redesigned front wheel drive Eldorado. This placed it above the second tier premium personal luxury cars such as the Ford Thunderbird, Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado. As the Eldorado was built upon the Toronado frame, the Mark III's was based off the Thunderbird's. While the side-rail frame was identical to the Thunderbird's, the Mark III bore almost 300 lb (140 kg) more bodywork. Power was adequate from Lincoln's Ford 385 engine-based 460 cu in (7.5 l) 365 bhp (272 kW) V8. Introduced in April 1968 as an early 1969 model, the model was a remarkable commercial success because it combined the high unit revenue of a luxury model with the low development costs and fixed cost–amortizing utility of platform-sharing, in a car that was appealing enough to buyers that many units were sold. Iacocca said, "We brought out the Mark III in April 1968, and in its very first year it outsold the Cadillac Eldorado, which had been our long-range goal. For the next five years [Marks III and IV] we had a field day, in part because the car had been developed on the cheap. We did the whole thing for $30 million, a bargain-basement price, because we were able to use existing parts and designs." Iacocca explained that this transformed the Lincoln-Mercury Division from losing money on every luxury car (via low unit sales on high fixed costs) to a profit center, making the new Mark series as big a success as any he ever had in his career—a remarkable statement from an executive who led the programs for the original Ford Mustang and the Chrysler minivan family. Iacocca explained of the Mark series, "The Mark is [in 1984] Ford's biggest moneymaker, just as Cadillac is for General Motors. It's the Alfred Sloan theory: you have to have something for everybody [...] you always need a poor man's car [...] but then you need upscale cars, too, because you never know when the blue-collar guy is going to be laid off. It seems that in the United States the one thing you can count on is that even during a depression, the rich get richer. So you always have to have some goodies for them." The 1969 Continental Mark III was a spiritual successor of the limited-production, ultra-luxurious Continental Mark II produced by a short-lived Continental division of Ford Motor Company between in 1956 and 1957. The new Mark III was actually not the first model to use the designation, which had been used on a 1958-1960 Continental Mark III. Large and extremely extravagant even for its time, it did not sell as well as the iconic "tail-fin" Cadillacs it competed against. The new Mark III was built at the enlarged facility at the Wixom, Michigan assembly plant, home to subsequent generations of the model. In style, the Mark III was squarer and more upright than the Thunderbird, highlighted by an unashamedly rip-off Rolls-Royce style grill flanked by hidden headlights, with an ersatz Mark II spare tire bulge on on the rear.

Lincoln Continental Mark III brochure

Lincoln Continental Mark III brochure

Show Article

Monday 8th November 1971

45 years ago

William Klein Jr. (54), a chocolate manufacturer and noted collector of classic Rolls-Royce and Bentleys, died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, US.

Show Article

Thursday 12th June 1975

41 years ago

Production of the Chrysler Imperial came to an end. Imperial was the Chrysler Corporation's luxury automobile brand between 1955 and 1975, with a brief reappearance in 1981 to 1983, and a second reapearance from 1990-1993. The Imperial name had been used since 1926, but was never a separate make, just the top-of-the-line Chrysler. However, in 1955, the company decided to spin Imperial off as its own make and division to better compete with its North American rivals, Lincoln and Cadillac, and European luxury sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 Adenauer and the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.[1][2][3] Imperial would see new body styles introduced every two to three years, all with V8 engines and automatic transmissions, as well as technologies that would filter down to Chrysler corporation's other models.

Chrysler Imperial

Chrysler Imperial

Show Article

Saturday 24th January 1976

41 years ago

Carole Vico of Buffalo, New York won the grand prize, a new Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, on the US television game show “High Rollers”.

Show Article

Wednesday 1st September 1976

40 years ago

Percy Shaw (86), inventor of Cats Eyes, died. There are several stories about how he came up with the idea. The most famous involves him driving down the difficult road (Queensbury Road, part of the A647 with a very steep drop to one side) from the Old Dolphin public house in Clayton Heights to his home in Halifax, when a cat on a fence along the edge of the road looked at the car, reflected his headlights back to him, allowing him to take corrective action and remain on the road. In an interview with Alan Whicker, however, he told a different story of being inspired on a foggy night to think of a way of moving the reflective studs on a road sign to the road surface. Further, local school children who were taken on visits to the factory in the late 1970s were told that the idea came from Shaw seeing light reflected from his car headlamps by tram tracks in the road on a foggy night. The tram tracks were polished by the passing of trams and by following the advancing reflection, it was possible to maintain the correct position in the road. In 1934, he patented his invention (patent No. 436,290 and 457,536), based on the 1927 reflecting lens patent of Richard Hollins Murray. A year later, Reflecting Roadstuds Ltd was formed to manufacture the devices. Sales were initially slow, but approval from the Ministry of Transport and the blackout in the Second World War gave a huge boost to production and the firm, located near Shaw's home in Boothtown, grew in size making more than a million roadstuds a year, which were exported all over the world. A later patent added a rainwater reservoir to the rubber shoe, which could be used to wash the glass "eyes" when a car drove over the stud. Such a success was the invention of the "cat's eye" that he was rewarded with an OBE for services to exports in the birthday honours list in 1965. He became eccentric in later life, removing the carpets and much of the furniture from his home, and keeping three televisions running constantly (respectively tuned to BBC1, BBC2 and ITV, all with the sound turned down) with a fourth BBC2 in colour. One luxury was his Rolls-Royce Phantom. He never married and he died from cancer and heart disease at Boothtown Mansion, Halifax, where he had lived for all but two of his 86 years. Despite rumours of a personal fortune, his personal estate was admitted to probate in December 1976 at a value of £193,500. He was an agnostic, but his funeral was held at Boothtown Methodist Church, and he was cremated in Elland. In 2005, he was listed as one of the 50 greatest Yorkshire people in a book by Bernard Ingham.

Percy Shaw

Percy Shaw

Show Article

Monday 22nd November 1976

40 years ago

Rock ’n’ roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested for drink-driving after putting his Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow into a ditch near Elvis Presley’s Graceland.

Show Article

Sunday 18th May 1980

37 years ago

Hunt House in Paulerspury, England, home of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club and the Sir Henry Royce Foundation, opened.

Show Article

Tuesday 8th July 1980

36 years ago

The Bentley Mulsanne was introduced in Paris, France. The name "Mulsanne" is derived from Bentley's motorsport history, which included five victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1924 and 1930 — the 'Mulsanne Straight' being the stretch of the Le Mans racecourse where cars reach their highest speeds. The Mulsanne shared the traditional 6.75 L (6750 cc/411 in³) Rolls-Royce V8 with aluminium alloy cylinder heads. Two SU carburettors were replaced by Bosch fuel injection on all cars from 1986. All Mulsannes use a 3-speed automatic transmission. The Mulsanne was based on the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Silver Spur introduced at the same time and would be the basis for all Bentley models until the 1998 introduction of the Arnage.

Bentley Mulsanne

Bentley Mulsanne

Show Article

Thursday 25th September 1980

36 years ago

Richard Noble in his 17,000 lb thrust Rolls-Royce Avon 302 jet powered Thrust II achieved a speed of 263.92 mph at Greenham Common, Berkshire – the highest land speed attained in Great Britain.

Thrust II

Thrust II

Show Article

Thursday 10th March 1983

34 years ago

The Land Rover One Ten was announced at the Geneva Motor Show. Specially commissioned for the show, the Rolls-Royce Camargue Beau Rivage ("Beautiful Shore") built by Hooper and Co was sold within two hours of being displayed to the public.

Show Article

Tuesday 4th October 1983

33 years ago

After nearly 20 years of domination by Americans, Briton Richard Noble raced to a new one-mile land-speed record in his jet-powered Thrust 2 vehicle. The Thrust 2, a 17,000-pound jet-powered Rolls-Royce Avon 302 designed by John Ackroyd, reached a record 633.468 mph over the one-mile course in Nevada's stark Black Rock Desert, breaking the 631.367 mph speed record achieved by Gary Gabelich's Blue Flame in 1970. Previous to Gary Gabelich there was Craig Breedlove, the American driver who recorded a series of astounding victories in jet-powered vehicles during the 1960s, breaking the 400 mph, 500 mph, and 600 mph barriers in 1963, 1964, and 1965, respectively.

Thrust 2

Thrust 2

Show Article

Saturday 29th June 1985

31 years ago

Jim Pattison purchased the custom-painted Rolls-Royce Phantom V limousine that had belonged to John Lennon for $2,229,000. Lennon had purchased the car in 1966 and asked a friend to paint the car with a period-typical psychedelic design pattern. The auction sale price was 10 times Sotheby's initial estimate.

John Lennon's Rolls-Royce

John Lennon's Rolls-Royce

Show Article

Thursday 7th March 1991

26 years ago

Rolls-Royce's "Project 90" concept car, a mock-up of a future Bentley coupé, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The full size styling mock-up of a two door coupe, had neither an engine or running gear fitted. Rolls-Royce received most favourable comments and their exhibit was considered to give a glimpse of the future for Bentley motor cars.To a certain degree “Project 90” was a milestone for the 1991 introduction of the Bentley Continental R.

Rolls-Royce's

Rolls-Royce's "Project 90" concept car

Show Article

Tuesday 17th December 1991

25 years ago

The last Rolls Royce Phantom VI was completed, a Mulliner Park Ward laudaulette that was later sold to His Majesty Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan of Brunei. Based on the Phantom V, the Phantom VI had a re-styled fascia (dashboard) and was powered by an engine derived from the current Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Most of the coachwork was created by Mulliner Park Ward, usually in limousines form, though a few landaulettes were made. The Phantom VI was the last Rolls-Royce with a separate chassis. It featured coil springs in front, leaf springs and live axle in rear, and drum brakes on all four wheels. The car was powered by a 6,230 cc (380 cu in) 90 degree V8 with a bore of 104 mm (4.1 in) and stroke of 91.5 mm (3.60 in) with twin SU carburettors, coupled to a 4-speed automatic gearbox. In a 1979 upgrade, engine capacity was increased to 6,750 cc (412 cu in), a 3-speed automatic gearbox with torque converter was substituted, and separate front and rear air conditioning units were provided.[1] Inclusion of the engine from the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit in 1982 increased engine displacement once more, to 6,750 cc. A total of 374 Phantom VIs were made. Unlike the Rolls-Royce Phantom V, they were never sold in the United States, due to United States Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration design legislation.[citation needed] Design of a Phantom VII based on the Silver Shadow's body was discussed in the 1970s, but plans were scrapped. No prototypes were built.

Rolls Royce Phantom VI

Rolls Royce Phantom VI

Show Article

Friday 20th May 1994

23 years ago

The Rolls-Royce Flying Spur was introduced, as the fastest vehicle the brand had ever made. Its top speed was 140 mph and it flew to 60 mph in seven seconds flat with the help of the 6.75-liter turbocharged V8 under the hood. The only catch? The base price was $225,000.

Rolls-Royce Flying Spur - 1994

Rolls-Royce Flying Spur - 1994

Show Article

Tuesday 7th March 1995

22 years ago

The Bentley Azure convertible was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show. Production only crept to a start, with a mere nine examples finished in the first year – in 1996, after full production had started, no less than 251 Azures were finished.Pininfarina assisted in the two-year process of turning the Continental R into a full four-seater convertible, and also built the shell and soft-top at their factory in Italy, largely from parts sourced in the UK. Final assembly was then carried out at Crewe. A roll-bar was never considered, which necessitated extensive reinforcing of the chassis. At 210 in (5,340 mm) in length and 5,750 pounds (2,610 kg) in weight, the Azure often surprised onlookers with its size and bulk, intended to both convey a sense of "presence" and allow for comfortable seating of four adult passengers. Power came from the company's stalwart 6.75-litre V8, featuring a single, intercooled Garrett turbocharger and producing in the region of 360 hp – Rolls-Royce and Bentley did not yet give official power numbers at the time of the Azure's introduction. By the time production began in earnest, new engine management from Zytek meant a slight power increase to 385 hp (287 kW; 390 PS) at 4,000 rpm and 750 N·m (553 lb·ft) of torque at 2,000 rpm; power was routed to the rear wheels via a modified, General Motors sourced, four-speed automatic transmission. With a zero to sixty miles per hour time of 6.3 seconds (0–100 km/h in 6.5 s) and a top speed of 241 km/h (150 mph), the Azure was very fast for a car of its size, weight and poor aerodynamic profile. Owing to the limited space and workforce at Bentley's Crewe factory, the Azure's thick, powered convertible top was designed and manufactured by Pininfarina, which significantly added to the vehicle's cost. New in 1995, the Azure was priced at $347,645 – $36,355 more than the Continental R on which it was based. From 1999 through the end of production, the Azure was also available in "Mulliner" trim, which added special bespoke trim and additional equipment and allowed the buyer the option for further customisation during the build-process; pricing varied by car, as equipment could be significantly different from one to the next depending on customer requests. One of limited editions included '2000 Symbolic Edition', an only 4-made Mulliner commission.

Bentley Azure convertible - 1995

Bentley Azure convertible - 1995

Show Article

Thursday 5th March 1998

19 years ago

The Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph, produced from 1998 to 2002, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The Silver Seraph replaced the Silver Spur, which ended production in 1997. All Seraphs were hand-built at the Rolls-Royce factory in Crewe, England, which stopped making Rolls-Royce models in 2002 but continued with Bentley. The car had a base price of £155,175 in the UK and $220,695 in the US.

Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph

Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph

Show Article

Monday 30th March 1998

19 years ago

German automaker BMW bought Rolls-Royce for $570 million. But the deal was not smooth and has a very interesting story behind it. In 1998, owners Vickers decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The most likely buyer was BMW, who already supplied engines and other components for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, but BMW's final offer of £340m was beaten by Volkswagen's £430m. A stipulation in the ownership documents of Rolls-Royce dictated that Rolls-Royce plc, the aero-engine maker would retain certain essential trademarks (the Rolls-Royce name and logo) if the automotive division was sold. Rolls-Royce plc chose to license not to VW but to BMW, with whom it had recently had joint business ventures. VW had bought rights to the "Spirit of Ecstasy" bonnet (hood) ornament and the shape of the radiator grille, but it lacked rights to the Rolls-Royce name necessary to build the cars. Likewise, BMW lacked rights to the grille and mascot. BMW bought an option on the trademarks, licensing the name and "RR" logo for £40 million, a deal that many commentators thought was a bargain for possibly the most valuable property in the deal. VW claimed that it had only really wanted Bentley anyway. BMW and VW arrived at a solution. From 1998 to 2002 BMW would continue to supply engines for the cars and would allow use of the names, but this would cease on 1 January 2003. From that date, only BMW would be able to name cars "Rolls-Royce", and VW's former Rolls-Royce/Bentley division would build only cars called "Bentley". The Rolls-Royce's Corniche ceased production in 2002.

Show Article

Friday 5th June 1998

18 years ago

Volkswagen AG announced it had won the takeover battle for the ownership of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd, beating off competition from BMW AG.

Rolls Royce log

Rolls Royce log

Show Article

Sunday 28th May 2000

17 years ago

The longest parade of Rolls-Royce cars on a public highway took place, when 420 took part in a 2-mile procession on the A55 outside Chester in Cheshire.

Show Article

Friday 30th August 2002

14 years ago

The last ever Rolls-Royce built at the Crewe factory in Cheshire, the home of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars since 1946, rolled off the production line. The unique two-door, Silver-Storm-coloured, convertible Rolls-Royce Corniche, had a specially designed interior based on that of the famous 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. All last-of-line Rolls-Royce series models, including, therefore, the last ever Crewe-built Rolls-Royce, were badged with the distinctive red interlocked ‘R-R’ of the original Rolls-Royce motor cars.

Rolls-Royce Corniche covertible

Rolls-Royce Corniche covertible

Show Article

Tuesday 31st December 2002

14 years ago

After 71 years together the world’s most famous car marques – Bentley and Rolls-Royce – separated. Rolls-Royce left Crewe and became part of BMW AG, while Bentley, still owned by Volkswagen AG, remained at the historic Cheshire site.

Show Article

Wednesday 1st January 2003

14 years ago

BMW AG assumed the rights to use the Rolls-Royce marque. As promised, the first owner of the new Rolls-Royce Phantom took delivery of his motor car just after midnight on this day. The enthusiastic owner decided to immediately take his new motor car on a marathon journey. His Phantom was flown to Australia and then driven from Perth to Sydney - a total journey of 4,564 miles across the continent. The trip was completed using some of the most remote roads in the world - without a single hitch and, at one stage, returned a remarkable 23.7 miles per gallon over 580 miles at an average speed of 75mph.

Show Article

Sunday 5th January 2003

14 years ago

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited revealed the all-new, 6.8-litre, V12 Rolls-Royce Phantom at the company’s new manufacturing plant and head office at Goodwood in West Sussex. This was the first Rolls Royce model made under the BMW ownership. The Phantom shares about only 15% of its parts with other BMW models and is sold separately from the BMW range. The vehicle's unique instrument panel has no tachometer. Instead it has a power reserve dial that indicates how much of the engine's power is not being used and available to the driver. Rear doors are rear-hinged, a style commonly referred to as suicide doors, but called 'coach doors' by Rolls-Royce. Because of the rear-seating position in relation to the rear inner-door handles, buttons are mounted on both C-pillars which operate hydraulic motors in order to close the rear doors. An electronic lock prevents the doors from being accidentally opened when moving. The car automatically brakes to a walking speed if a coach door remains open when driving off. When front or rear doors are opened, umbrella compartments built into the rear doors are accessible. The factory supplied umbrellas are Teflon coated so they, and the compartment in which they are stored, dry out faster. The traditional Spirit of Ecstasy ornament has an automatic electronic retraction mechanism to prevent theft and protect pedestrians in the event of an accident. It may also be retracted by the driver at the touch of a button, or when the alarm is armed. The ornament base contains a sensor that detects movement, and will retract it if someone tampers with it. The "RR" logos on each of the wheel hubs are independent bezels in order to always remain upright while the wheel is rotating. Final assembly, including all body-, paint-, wood- and leatherwork, was completed to each customer’s individual specification. The introductory base price was £250,000 in Britain and $300,000 in the United States.

Rolls Royce Phantom (2003- )

Rolls Royce Phantom (2003- )

Show Article

Tuesday 13th January 2004

13 years ago

Employees at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrated the completion of the 500th Phantom to be built at their Goodwood home.

Show Article

Wednesday 8th September 2004

12 years ago

The one thousandth Rolls-Royce Phantom was built to customer order at the company’s manufacturing plant in Goodwood, England. To mark the occasion, 1,000 balloons were released from the company’s central courtyard with Rolls-Royce employees looking on. The 1,000th Phantom was finished in black, with black leather interior and Elm Cluster wood veneer.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Show Article

Saturday 5th February 2005

12 years ago

A special Rolls-Royce Phantom was bought at a charity auction in the USA for $800,000 - more than double the normal price. It was built at Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood especially for the Naples Winter Wine Festival in Florida and auctioned to raise money for children’s homes in America and Russia. This Phantom was designed specifically to appeal to the tastes of wine lovers. The exterior was a rich Burgundy colour and the interior fitted with the finest leather in a deep moccasin colour. The headliner was cashmere and all wood surfaces featured cross-banded figured Mahogany. A ‘cluster of grapes’ motif was used on the interior and exterior - most notably as a sterling silver inlay on each of the Mahogany-veneered door cappings. The most intriguing custom features included a ‘mini wine cellar’ built into the floor of the boot and a cigar humidor in the glove compartment. This was the only car built to this particular specification.

Show Article

Sunday 7th January 2007

10 years ago

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled its new Phantom Drophead Coupé at the Detroit Motor Show. Production of the new car started at Goodwood in the summer of 2007. The two-door, four-seat convertible was a less formal interpretation of classic Rolls-Royce design. Using the lightweight rigidity of an all-aluminum spaceframe, it married modern technology to a sleek, streamlined convertible body.

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Show Article

Monday 22nd January 2007

10 years ago

The last surviving starter from the inaugural Formula One World Championship race, the 1950 British Grand Prix, Toulo de Graffenried (92), died in Lausanne, Switzerland. He participated in 23 World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 13 May 1950, and scored a total of nine championship points. He also participated in numerous non-Championship Formula One races. De Graffenried began his racing career in 1936, driving his own Maserati voiturette. Some of his most memorable results came at his home track: the challenging, cobbled, street circuit at Bremgarten near Bern. He won the 1949 British Grand Prix, a year before the FIA World Championship began. In that inaugural year de Graffenried contested five of the season's seven races, with mixed results. He continued to drive in occasional races over the next six years, with his best finish being fourth place at the 1953 Belgian Grand Prix. Following his retirement from racing, de Graffenried managed his car dealership in Lausanne, featuring Alfa Romeo, Rolls-Royce and Ferrari automobiles. He also acted as stunt double for Kirk Douglas during the filming of The Racers. Later, he became a common figure at Formula One events during the 1970s and 1980s as the corporate ambassador for Phillip Morris' Marlboro cigarette brand. In recognition of his win at the first British Grand Prix, de Graffenried made his last appearance at the wheel of a racing car during the 1998 celebrations of Silverstone's 50th anniversary at age 84.

Toulo de Graffenried

Toulo de Graffenried

Show Article

Tuesday 30th January 2007

10 years ago

The first Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé destined for the US was bought at a charity auction held during the annual Naples Winter Wine Festival in Florida for $2 million.

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Show Article

Friday 20th July 2007

9 years ago

Rolls-Royce delivered the first five customer Phantom Drophead Coupés ($443,000). The platform is based on the 2003 Rolls-Royce Phantom and has styling heavily derived from the 100EX, a concept car unveiled to celebrate the company's centennial in 2004. Several Drophead Coupés were featured in the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Show Article

Monday 3rd December 2007

9 years ago

The world’s oldest-surviving Rolls-Royce, numbered 20154, became the most expensive veteran car on record when it fetched more than £3.5 million at a London auction. The two-seater, 10-bhp car, the fourth-ever car produced by the Rolls-Royce factory in Manchester in 1904, was sold by Bonhams to an anonymous British collector in London.

World's oldest surviving Rolls Royce

World's oldest surviving Rolls Royce

Show Article

Tuesday 4th March 2008

9 years ago

Italian super sports car giant Lamborghini unveiled its new Gallardo Coupe LP560-4 and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars revealed its new Phantom Coupé at the 78th International Geneva Motor Show.

Rolls Royce Phantom Coupé

Rolls Royce Phantom Coupé

Show Article

Saturday 12th January 2013

4 years ago

The 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow used by Freddie Mercury until his death in November 1991, sold at auction for £74,000 to a Russian businessman. The 62,000-mile classic Rolls-Royce which had a guide price of just £9,000-£11,000 featured grey leather, wood trim, electric windows, automatic gearbox, a car phone and radio cassette player and a 6.75-litre V8 engine. It was sold as part of the Coys auction at Autosport International.

Freddie Mercury's 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

Freddie Mercury's 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

Show Article

Friday 18th January 2013

4 years ago

Calling it the "car Charles Rolls would choose to drive", Rolls-Royce announced the 624 hp Wraith as a model that would "indulge a passion for innovation, engineering and adventure". The vehicle was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and had base price of £229,128 in the United Kingdom. The name Wraith came from an old Scottish word meaning Ghost or Spirit, a name it shared with the 1938 model by the original Rolls Royce company.

RollsRoyce Wraith

RollsRoyce Wraith

Show Article

Friday 18th January 2013

4 years ago

Calling it the "car Charles Rolls would choose to drive", Rolls-Royce announced the 624 hp Wraith as a model that would "indulge a passion for innovation, engineering and adventure". The vehicle was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and had base price of £229,128 in the United Kingdom. The name Wraith came from an old Scottish word meaning Ghost or Spirit, a name it shared with the 1938 model by the original Rolls Royce company.

Show Article

Back