1913 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Drive Limousine,
Lot 542
Formerly the property of the late Thomas Love,1913 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Limousine Chassis no. 1NA Engine no. 19B
Sold for £199,500 (US$ 331,031) inc. premium
Lot Details
Formerly the property of the late Thomas Love
1913 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Limousine
Coachwork by Fox & Bodman

Registration no. SW 275
Chassis no. 1NA
Engine no. 19B


  • The Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls, British gentleman adventurer, aviator, racing driver and astute businessman and Frederick Henry Royce, engineer and innovator, were indeed an indomitable partnership, creating a motoring legend with a reputation for unsurpassed excellence. It says much for the business acumen of Rolls that, despite his inborn desire for things to happen quickly, he tolerated the pedantic and at times frustratingly slow attention to detail of his mechanical genius partner. From this pedantic attention, the Rolls-Royce 40/50hp, 'The Silver Ghost', was to emerge and to earn for itself and the company the accolade "The Best Car in the World".

    In production from 1907, the Rolls-Royce 40/50hp, (only later named 'The Silver Ghost'), was powered by a 7,036cc, six-cylinder engine from 1907-1909, later enlarged to 7,428cc. The 40/50hp car passed every test to which it was subjected, whether in service as a formal town carriage in the Capital, sprint racing on Saltburn Sands or competing in the arduous Scottish Trials. Royce's uncompromising engineering standards demanded only excellence of his staff in Manchester and later Derby and no chassis was delivered until it had been rigorously tested. Rolls-Royce, unlike other contemporary manufacturers, steadfastly refused to build their own coachwork, taking the view that their speciality was engineering excellence and leaving the coachwork to the exclusive group of dedicated coachbuilders who had made the seamless change from carriage manufacture to motor car body building.

    Chassis no. 1NA was ordered in October 1913 and a deposit paid. Warland Rims, a Lucas dynamo and brass fittings were detailed in the specification. 1NA was on test in October/November 1913 and duly sold to Rolls-Royce agents L.C.Seligman of Renfrew St., Glasgow, who paid the balance of the invoice price of £827-8s-0d in January 1914. They were to commission respected coachbuilders Robertson of Glasgow to build landaulette coachwork for their customer, J.Neilson of Mollance, Castle Douglas. The car remained in Neilson's family until he died and c.1935 it passed to motor hirers and repairers, James Henderson of Cambridge St., Glasgow, who converted it into a garage hack. When Hendersons ceased trading in 1959 the old hack was bought by motoring historian and illustrator George A Oliver, who fourteen years later, in 1973, sold the vehicle to Thomas Love. So began a painstaking restoration, the coachwork being entrusted to Perth craftsman, John Bodman, to a design of Cyril Fox, both being 'of the old school'. Working drawings for the coachwork are on file along with photographs recording its construction. Meanwhile Thomas concentrated on the chassis and running gear, the result being rewarded by many satisfactory miles of long distance motoring in VCC, IVVCC and other events.

    1NA is now splendidly presented in maroon livery with black mudguards and furnished with black leather upholstery to the front and cloth to the rear with two occasional seats and the essential cocktail cabinet. The car is extravagantly fitted out in all respects, driving equipment including C.A.V. lighting to the front and diver's helmet rear lamps, offside-mounted spare rim and tyre, Rotax 'Clarion' bulb horn and a brass rear view mirror. Dashboard equipment includes an Elliott 0-60mph speedometer, fuel and oil pressure gauges. The revolving ventilators on the bulkhead presumably hark back to the original Robertson coachwork. A sliding glass division allows easy communication with the rear passengers, a facility also afforded by the remote chauffeur's instruction panel, a nice period feature. The rear doors feature railway carriage-style drop down windows and passenger grab slings assist the comfort of the rear passengers.

    1NA was dated by the VCC of GB in 1998 and awarded certificate no. 2209. It was last taxed to June 2004 and will no doubt now reward careful re-commissioning. This handsome Edwardian, now with impeccable provenance and continuous history, comes with a good history file, two old buff logbooks from 1925 and 1959, and Northern Ireland V5 and Swansea V5C documents. It comes also with Spirit of Ecstasy radiator mascot, town cap and that essential 1913 George V penny without which the new owner will labour in vain to commence the motor tour.

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