1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG
Lot 347
1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria
Coachwork by Grosvenor of London Registration no. BF 4733 Chassis no. 58YG
Sold for £74,300 (US$ 116,264) inc. premium

Lot Details
1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria  Chassis no. 58YG
1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Victoria
Coachwork by Grosvenor of London

Registration no. BF 4733
Chassis no. 58YG

Footnotes

  • 'The directors were obviously as impressed with the car as the public were when they first saw it displayed... the company's future, based upon Royce's intuitive design genius and the uncompromising standards of workmanship he set, clearly lay in the rapidly expanding area of luxury cars...' – Edward Eves, 'Rolls-Royce, 75 Years of Motoring Excellence'.

    Although the 40/50hp model would in any event have earned its 'The Best Car in the World' sobriquet (actually first used by the Pall Mall Gazette in November 1911), 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 Frederick Henry Royce and entrepreneur the Honourable Charles Stewart 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 London 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 & Co.

    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. 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. The Silver Ghost remained in production in England until 1925, 6,173 being completed at the Manchester and Derby factories, and until 1926 at Rolls-Royce's Springfield plant in the USA where a further 1,703 were made, the longest production run of any model from this celebrated company.

    Copy build sheets on file show that this Derby-built Silver Ghost F-Type, chassis number '58YG', was delivered to the order of Regent of Japan (later Emperor) Hirohito. (A photograph on file shows the Prince Regent in the rear seat). First son of Crown Prince Yoshihito (the future Emperor Taisho), Hirohito had been formally proclaimed Crown Prince and heir apparent in November 1916. In 1921 he became the first Crown Prince of Japan to travel abroad, visiting Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the United Kingdom in the course of a six-month tour of Europe. It is almost certain that the order for the Silver Ghost resulted from his visit to the UK. On his return to Japan, Hirohito became Prince Regent, ruling in place of his father who had become mentally ill. He acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on 25th December 1926 following his father's death.

    '58YG' was delivered with the C-type steering column and a higher final drive ratio to take advantage of the lightweight coachwork fitted, and remained in Japan until 1987 when it was imported into the USA by J D Bambling. At that time the 'Ghost was a rolling chassis, minus bodywork. It was subsequently sold to the immediately preceding owner and brought back to the UK where its restoration began. This process involved a full rebuild of all components and the sensible addition of front brakes from a later 'Alpine Eagle' model. New Blockley three-stud tyres were fitted. Constructed by an unknown Australian coachbuilder in the 1980s, the body was purchased at Sotheby's Hendon sale in 1995 and is known in Rolls-Royce circles as 'The Maharajah'. New leather seating and a leather hood were added and the car completed in 2002 in time for a friend's wedding, where its appearance must have upstaged the bride and groom.

    The current vendor purchased the Silver Ghost in December 2009 and since his acquisition the car has benefited from extensive works carried out by marque specialists A J Glew of Draycott, Gloucestershire to bring it up to first class order (see bills on file). Offered with VCC dating certificate, current road fund licence and V5 document, '58YG' represents the ultimate in Vintage motoring.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the Rolls-Royce does not have a VCC dating certificate as catalogued.
Auction information

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combination
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There after
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    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
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    Work +44 20 7468 5805
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