1923 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Pall Mall 5-Passenger Touring  Chassis no. 332XH
Lot 345¤
Subject of a $165,000 restoration, single family ownership since 1934,1923 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Pall Mall Tourer Chassis no. 332XH Engine no. 2R157
Sold for US$ 233,200 inc. premium
Lot Details
Subject of a $165,000 restoration, single family ownership since 1934
1923 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Pall Mall Tourer
Coachwork by Rolls-Royce Custom Coachworks

Chassis no. 332XH
Engine no. 2R157
Body no. M482
7,431cc L-head inline six-cylinder engine
Single Rolls-Royce Carburetor
4-speed manual transmission
Live front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and live rear axle with platform cantilever rear suspension
Rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes

-Known history from new
-Single Family ownership since 1934
-Recent $165,000 well documented restoration
-Desirable open coachwork
-Excellent for show or tours

The 40/50hp Silver Ghost

Soon after it started Rolls-Royce adopted a single model policy, concentrating all its efforts, engineering and development on the 40/50hp six-cylinder series known by the name of its earliest successful example, the Silver Ghost. But while Rolls-Royce stayed with a single model designation the Silver Ghost was anything but static in engineering, design or features.

The Silver Ghost was rugged, powerful, strong and quiet. It would cruise all day, swallowing up long distances in comfort and silence. At the same time its quiet and relaxed low speed operation was ideally suited to restrained and elegant duty under limousine and town car coachwork. The Silver Ghost proved to be so suitable that, in addition to the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby, Rolls-Royce set up production facilities in the United States in 1920, choosing Springfield, Massachusetts for its access to suppliers and for the ample supply of skilled craftsmen trained in the armories and machine tool factories of the Connecticut River valley and New England.

The first Springfield Silver Ghosts were assembled from kits of parts brought from England but the Springfield works steadily added American vendors for accessories and electrical systems and expanded its manufacturing capabilities. After a few years even managers from Derby were rating the Springfield built Rolls-Royce automobiles the equal of Derby-built cars. Some of them even rated the Springfield product to be better.

Updated features and mechanical refinements were first applied to Derby-built Rolls-Royces, then added to the Springfield-built cars so the American product was late to get such improvements as four-wheel brakes. On the other hand, many of the American components were better than those available in the U.K. and the Springfield-built Rolls-Royces soon featured American-made Bosch magnetos and coil ignition, Bijur generators and starters and American-made wire wheels.

Several external attributes of the Springfield cars were unique, particularly the tubular bumpers and drum-style headlights. All were bodied with American-built coachwork, sometimes by Brewster but mostly, at least during the Silver Ghost era, provided by a number of coachbuilders which worked to open orders for cataloged bodies from Rolls-Royce and which were then identified only as made by Rolls-Royce Custom Coachworks. The American coachwork was frequently distinguishable from its British counterparts, being visually lighter, less formal and more suited to being used by owner-operators.

The Motorcar Offered

An East Coast car since new, 332XH was originally delivered as a Pall Mall to F.E. Campbell of Larchmont Manor, New York on March 19, 1923. Campbell retained the car until April 9, 1930 when records indicate it passed to its next owner, a C.B. Halsey of New York City. By the early 1930s, Mr Halsey had seemingly fallen on hard times as the car was repossessed by a bank and sold to N.W. Starr of Waterbury, Connecticut in October of 1934.

Retained by the family and heirs of Mr Starr since his purchase, 332XH was restored in Woodridge, NJ in the late 1960s with the work completed in 1970. For the next two decades the car was actively shown at AACA and RROC events achieving National First Place and Senior Status in 1971 with the former and tying for International First Place in the Late Ghost Class in 1972 with the latter. As with many New Englanders in their 50s and 60s, 332XH spent some time in Florida before returning to the Northeast in the late 1990s.

After decades of active use and successful display, 332XH was once again sent into the shop in 2005 for a complete and thorough restoration. The car was completely disassembled, refurbished, replated or repainted, and rebuilt. Mechanically the entire drivetrain was meticulously redone to standards one would have expected from the pickiest of shop foreman at the Springfield factory. A tabulation of the 46 pages of receipts and invoices reveals a total of nearly $165,000 was spent before the final product rolled out of the shop in 2007.

It is every bit the spectacular, elegant, refined automobile which characterizes the Springfield-built Rolls-Royce. Right hand drive, as all the Springfield Rolls-Royces were until 1925, it is finished in light yellow with black fenders and a brown leather interior and a beige cloth top, side curtains and top boot—the same color scheme with which it found so much success on the show circuit decades prior. Its equipment and body features include dual sidemounted spare tires with rear view mirrors, wide whitewall tires, centerlock wire wheels in black to match the fenders, Bausch & Lomb drum headlights, and tube bumpers. Hardly used and not shown since its restoration, the paint shows very well and the nickel plating shines brightly. Under the hood, the big straight six is very well turned out and nicely detailed, with the brass fixtures gleaming brightly. Mechanical work has paid off as the motor springs to life with easy and a brief drive proved the car to be easy to shift through the gears.

Complete with its left front door mounted tool kit—most of which are original to the car, its original owner's manual, both its mascot and town radiator caps, and a full set of side curtains this Pall Mall is certainly one of the most usable and enjoyable examples of the Silver Ghost round. A brilliant motorcar with which to show or tour, it will undoubtedly be welcome at the next RROC, AACA, or CCCA event. Plus, with the recent release of another film version of The Great Gatsby, who wouldn't want a yellow Rolls-Royce in which to spend the summer touring around?

Without reserve

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, the early history of this car has been transposed with that of serial number 322XH. The offered example, chassis no. 332XH, was delivered new through J.S. Inskip to George Krouse of Passaic, New Jersey on June 8th, 1923. Mr Krouse kept the car through the early 1930s at which point he hit hard financial times, along with the rest of the world no doubt, and the Rolls was repossessed by a bank. From the bank, the Rolls was acquired by the Meyers family and stored in New Jersey. Edward C Meyer, Jr commissioned the restoration of the car in Woodbridge, New Jersey in the late 1960s. Please also note that the engine number is 21-157.
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¤ Without reserve
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