1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Landaulette  Chassis no. 89 CW Engine no. J 190

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Lot 320
1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Landaulette
Registration no. R 3716 Chassis no. 89 CW Engine no. J 190

Sold for £ 122,500 (US$ 163,453) inc. premium
1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Landaulette
Coachwork by Arthur Mulliner Ltd. of Northampton

Registration no. R 3716
Chassis no. 89 CW
Engine no. J 190


  • In production from 1907, the Rolls-Royce 40/50hp, (later named ‘The Silver Ghost’), was powered by a 7,036cc six-cylinder engine from 1907–1909, enlarged for later models to 7,428cc. The 40/50hp car passed every test to which it was subjected, whether in service as a formal town carriage in England’s capital city, 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. The Silver Ghost remained in production in England until 1925 and at the Springfield Works, U.S.A., until 1926, the longest production run of any model from the celebrated Rolls-Royce company.

    89 CW was ordered by Herbert Fitch of Maidenhead in August 1916 in anticipation of an early end to hostilities. The complete deposit was paid in August 1919 and Mulliners of Northampton were instructed in June of that year to build the coachwork for this car. Although originally the Order Sheet specified cabriolet coachwork it is self-evident that by 1919 Mulliners had been instructed to build the open-drive landaulette coachwork the car now carries. Herbert Fitch finally took delivery of the car on 9th July 1920 and the date of first registration is recorded as 21st January 1921, presumably under the new licensing provisions of that time. Like so many Rolls-Royces this Silver Ghost was first registered with Derby County Council with the appropriate prefix letter R. References to Rolls-Royce maintenance of 89 CW up to 1936 are on file, however the car’s subsequent history is not fully recorded. It has however been in enthusiast ownership since at least the 1970’s, having been owned by R-R.E.C. stalwarts Michael Sapsford and later Harry Smith, prior to acquisition by the present owner. In 1987 it took part in the R-R.E.C. Pearl Jubilee Rally at Courteenhall, celebrating that year 80 years of the Silver Ghost, acquiring a Certificate of Merit at that event. This year of course the Centenary of the Silver Ghost is celebrated. Interestingly this car featured more recently as Queen Mary’s car in the television documentary programme, The Lost Prince.

    Surely one of the most elegant formal Silver Ghosts retaining its original coachwork, 89 CW has, over the last thirty years or so, acquired a wonderful patina during its cherished ownership. The rather Edwardian-style coachwork, constructed by Mulliner’s master craftsmen, is liveried in maroon and black and upholstered in black leather to the front with black carpets and beige pleated and buttoned cloth upholstery to the rear. The luxuriously appointed rear compartment is fitted with pull-down blinds to the side windows and division and railway carriage-style drop-down windows, two each side, provide for passenger comfort. Two occasional seats are provided in the rear with a fitted cocktail cabinet, complete with decanters and glasses. Further passenger comforts and facilities are provided by map pockets in the rear, two vanity sets, one with a fitted clock, a flower vase and holder and a speaking tube for communication with the chauffeur. A two-piece sliding glass division provides for easier communication front to rear. 89 CW is generously equipped with a two-piece, double opening, Auster front windscreen, side curtains to the driver’s compartment, two rear-view mirrors, Lucas lighting, a Boa Constrictor horn, practical luggage rack, opera lamps for the convenience of the rear passengers and Wefco leather spring gaiters. Attractive period accessories include a Palmer tyre gauge and oil can, while the near-side running board accommodates a tool box with a Pratts two gallon petrol can mounted above. In short, here is a beautifully presented motor car, probably in very much the condition that it would have appeared in perhaps after two or three years of use following despatch to Herbert Fitch in 1920.

    This most handsome Silver Ghost comes with a suitably embossed R-R.E.C. leather car binder containing copies of Factory order and build sheets, MoT certificates for the last 20 or so years, photographs of the car prior to restoration, old tax discs, old style green log book from 1978 and a Swansea registration document. 89 CW comes also with its Spirit of Ecstasy radiator mascot, current road fund licence and recently issued MoT certificate.

Saleroom notices

  • We are advised that the present coachwork, which carries H J Mulliner coach plates, may have been fitted in the 1950's.
1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Landaulette  Chassis no. 89 CW Engine no. J 190
1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Landaulette  Chassis no. 89 CW Engine no. J 190
1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Landaulette  Chassis no. 89 CW Engine no. J 190
1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Landaulette  Chassis no. 89 CW Engine no. J 190
1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open-Drive Landaulette  Chassis no. 89 CW Engine no. J 190
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