1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E
Lot 328
1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer
Registration no. KT 2059 Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E
Sold for £268,060 (US$ 357,880) inc. premium

Lot Details
1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer  Chassis no. 1905E Engine no. Y48E
1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Tourer
Registration no. KT 2059
Chassis no. 1905E
Engine no. Y48E

Footnotes

  • Although the 40/50hp model would have earned its 'The Best Car in the World' sobriquet in any event, Rolls-Royce's 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 Johnson's 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 car's reputation was assured, not the least in North America where the wide-open spaces placed a premium on reliability and comfort.

    Chassis number '1905E' is listed in 'The Edwardian Rolls-Royce' by John Fasal and Bryan Goodman. Originally bodied by Salmons & Sons and then re-bodied by Barker & Co, on both occasions as a landaulette, the car later carried a tourer body of unknown make before being re-clothed with the current coachwork, which was fitted in 1980.

    Accompanying copy chassis cards record the first owner as Colonel J B Winch of Boughton Place near Maidstone, Kent. A note concerning the re-bodying by Barker is dated 20.2.19. Messrs Fasal and Goodman list a Mrs Ernest Hills and a Major W T Pitt, both in Kent, as owners, the latter acquiring the car in 1959. The Rolls-Royce is also recorded as having spent some time in Australia.

    '1905E' was pictured in Holland in 1968 during a PAC (Pioneer Automobile Club) tour and again in 1980 on the VCC Rally at Micklefield, High Wycombe. At some time in the 1990s the car was sold to one N W Newman, who sold it on to Marco Stoffel in the early 2000s.

    In the summer of 2004 the car was driven by Marco and Sue Stoffel on the 'Ghosts to Coasts Rally', a 4,000-mile tour that crossed the USA from Annapolis to Monterey. Around 35 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts participated in event, which celebrated the company's 100th anniversary. The current vendor purchased the car in 2012.

    '1905E' is finished in green with bare aluminium bonnet and black wings. The interior is upholstered in green leather, well worn and deep buttoned, while there are seat covers for use in inclement weather. Other noteworthy features include a clock; Lucas twin-gauge switch box; running board-mounted spare wheel; CAV headlights; and nickel-plated radiator and windscreen pillars. The car benefits from a recent engine rebuild, incorporating new cylinder blocks, carried out by Classic Restorations of Alyth, Perthshire.

Saleroom notices

  • The recently-completed engine rebuild incorporates the original cylinder blocks, not new ones, as printed in the catalogue. We are most grateful to past VCC president Stewart Skilbeck for this information. During Major Pitt's ownership the car was extensively rallied in Veteran Car Club events, consistently winning the Club's premier Annual Awards and was surely the most extensively used Edwardian Ghost in the 1960s/70s attending almost all Main Events. On Pitt's death in 1977 the Silver Ghost , along with his 1913 Alfonso Hispano-Suiza, was bequeathed to The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain and both cars were subsequently offered for sale by tender to members of that club - the essential criterion for a successful bid was a commitment to use the cars in the spirit of the late Major. Jack Woolley successfully bid for the Silver Ghost and continued to use the car in the spirit of the late Major for many years driving thousands of miles to attend events. During his ownership the current period coachwork - a significant improvement on the non-original tourer body previously fitted - was located in the quaint motor emporium/village garage of Norman Cox in Barton-on-Humber, Lincolnshire, and fitted to this car.
Activities
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