Looking at the clumsy double tops I wonder: What were they thinking?
When electrical engineer F. H. Royce joined forces with well-known motoring sportsman the Hon. C. S. Rolls to form Rolls-Royce Motors in 1905, it took them two years to hit their stride with the 40/50 HP model, now commonly called the “Silver Ghost.”
Rolls promoted the marque in trials and road races, while Royce, a mechanical genius, developed the 10 HP twin, then the 15, the 20 and 30 HP models, and finally the 40/50, introduced in 1907.
The heart of the Silver Ghost was its magnificent engine, a 7,036-cc (later 7,428-cc) side-valve six equipped with seven-bearing crankshaft and pressure lubrication. A sturdy chassis comprised of channel section side members and tubular cross members was suspended on semi-elliptic leaf springs at the front and a “platform” leaf spring arrangement at the rear, though that was soon revised.
The transmission was soon changed too, a three-speed with direct top replacing the original four-speed and overdrive in 1909. In the course of its 20 years in production, there would be countless other improvements, one of the most important being servo-assisted, four-wheel brakes toward the end of 1923.
Dating from the final year of Silver Ghost production, chassis number 104 EU was originally bodied by Hooper & Co. as a saloon/limousine and delivered to first owner W.G. Player of Player’s Cigarettes (think R.J. Reynolds). Other owners in the accompanying file included Paddon Brothers in 1927, Mrs. Lloyd-Thomas in 1938 and Johnson Matthey of London’s Hatton Garden jewelry center in 1940.
During WWII, the 1925 Silver Ghost was converted into a wrecker and subsequently restored in the 1960s by the now-defunct firm of Williamson and Inchley of Englefield Green, Surrey, who rebodied it in the style of a Hispano-Suiza Scaphandrier four-door tourer.
Acquired by its late owner in 1977 it has been fastidiously maintained and comes with a complete service record with 28 years of tax discs. “104 EU” is well known in Ghost circles, having participated in the Alpine Trial, 20 Ghost Club Tour of Japan, and Silver Ghost Association tours of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.