Rolls Royce logo.
Rolls-Royce. (England) 1904 to date.
Manchester electrical engineer Henry Royce built a batch of three Decauville-inspired 10hp twin-cylinder cars under his own name in 1904; Lord Llangattock's surprising son, the Hon. C. S. Rolls was looking for a light car of quality to sell alongside the Continental imports in his West London motor agency; the two combined to create a motoring legend.
After producing sound two-, three- and four-cylinder models of 10, 15 and 20 hp, not quite so good sixes of 30 hp and a dreadful V-8 (the "Legalimit"), in 1906 Rolls-Royce launched the immortal 40/50 hp six, known from 1907 as the "Silver Ghost". Even though its design was sound rather than original, it was built with Royce's consummate devotion to the highest engineering ideals.
The Ghost survived until 1925 (joined in 1922 by a 20 hp) and was supplanted by the ohv New Phantom, a transitional design which gave way to the more comprehensively revised Phantom II in 1929. That year the 20 hp grew up into the 20/25, succeeded in 1936 by the 25/30 (which developed into the Wraith in 1938). The Phantom III of 1936-39 was a magnificent V-12 of 7341cc, often marred by clumsy coachwork, and whose engine, with hydraulic tappets, was prohibitively costly to overhaul.
Post-war Rolls-Royce moved from Derby (where they had been based since 1908) to Crewe, and restarted production in 1947 with the Silver Wraith, followed in 1949 by the Silver Dawn, first Rolls-Royce to have standardized steel coachwork. The six-cylinder engine line continued until 1959, followed by a 6231cc V-8, used both on the Silver Cloud and Phantom V models (the Phantom IV had been a 16-off 5675cc straight-eight). Integral construction and all-round independent suspension came with the 1965 Silver Shadow, direct ancestor of today's costly and magnificent Corniche and Camargue models.
(Vintage European Automobiles)
All Rolls Royce cars produced between 1904 and 1939 were supplied as chassis only and therefore all models of the era had bodies which were individually designed and built by independent specialist coachbuilders.
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