1921 Rolls-Royce 45/50hp Silver Ghost Salamanca Cabriolet Coachwork by Park Ward Registration no. LE 4721 Chassis no. 182 AG Engine no. 0313
Although the 40/50hp model would have earned its The Best Car in the World sobriquet in any event, Rolls-Royces decision to drop all other types only served to focus attention on what would become known as the Silver Ghost. Prior to 1908, when it relocated to a new factory in Derby, the company founded by engineer Henry Royce and entrepreneur the Honourable Charles Rolls had manufactured a variety of models at its Manchester premises. Cars with two, three, four and six cylinders were made, and even an abortive V8, before Managing Director Claude Johnsons decision to concentrate on the range-topping 40/50hp. The latter had first appeared at the 1906 Motor Show and became known as the Silver Ghost the following year when chassis number 60551 was exhibited wearing silver-painted tourer coachwork by Barker. The heart of the Silver Ghost was its magnificent engine, a 7,036cc (later 7,428cc) sidevalve 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 springs at the front and a platform leaf-spring arrangement at the rear, though the latter soon came in for revision. The transmission too was soon changed, a three-speed gearbox with direct-drive top gear replacing the original four-speed/overdrive top unit in 1909. In the course of its 20-year production life there would be countless other improvements to the car, one of the most important being the adoption of servo-assisted four-wheel brakes towards the end of 1923. After a successful 2,000-mile trial under RAC supervision, the factory demonstrator - chassis 60551, The Silver Ghost - was entered in the Scottish Reliability Trial, completing the 15,000-mile run with flying colours to set a new World Record. From then on the cars reputation was assured, not the least in North America where the wide-open spaces placed a premium on reliability and comfort. Factory records show that 182 AG was finally tested at Park Wards Willesden works on 17th June 1922. The first owner is recorded as a Mr Jacquet and the favoured coachwork was the then most fashionable Salamanca Cabriolet. The latter provided the most versatile accommodation, offering fully open, closed or part-open configurations accordingly to the demands of the weather. In fully closed form it was indeed a snug vehicle and in the case of this car provides the rear passengers with very private accommodation. The original build sheets specified two spare wheels, Lucas lighting, mechanical lifts to windows, concealed tool boxes below the running boards, a folding foot rail in the rear compartment, ladies and gents companion trays and the occasional rear seats to be concealed. The car went to the USA in 1930 and had two owners in Maryland and Pennsylvania before returning to the UK in the early 1970s. Upon its return it participated successfully in the 1973 Alpine Commemoration Rally and during the immediately preceding seven years of private ownership was driven each year to the R-REC Annual Rally. 182 AG was selected as one of the 12 cars to take part in the Queen Mothers 100th Birthday Celebration Parade and in 2002 took part in the Queens Golden Jubilee Tribute at Windsor Castle. The car has been fastidiously maintained in good working order and is handsomely presented in green livery with deep-buttoned red leather upholstery. It features twin side-mounted spare wheels, two-piece opening windscreen, magnificent Lucas lighting, driver's mirror and nickel-plated brightwork throughout. The car comfortably accommodates six passengers and with an engine capacity of 7.4 litres and Rolls-Royces traditional top gear flexibility, has the ability to maintain station comfortably in modern traffic. The current owner bought the Silver Ghost at Bonhams Sale at the R-RECs Annual Rally at Towcester Racecourse in June 2002 (Lot 321) and has continued its careful maintenance. An original Ghost folding luggage rack and black Brexton trunk have been fitted, giving plenty of space for luggage when touring. Indeed, 182 AG has proved to be an extremely reliable touring car, having been driven with four up and their luggage for seven days over 1,000 miles from the South of England to Ireland where it participated in and was awarded 1st Prize in its class at the Gordon Bennett Rally. Other tours have included many parts of the UK and France. Fully equipped for home and continental touring, and a joy to drive, this is surely one of the most elegant Rolls-Royce Salamancas to be offered on the open market in recent years. The car is currently licensed and MoTd (to September 2008) and comes with old-style logbook and Swansea V5 registration document.