Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Remarkable cars picture encyclopedia - Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Alford & Alder Tourer
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Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Pictures
Rolls Royce Silver Ghost History
Henry Royce was embarking on largely uncharted territory when he set out to design a six-cylinder engine in 1906. In Britain, only Napier espoused the concept, and the vitality of longer crankshafts was of concern. Royce went back to basics and placed two sets of three cylinders on a common crankcase, set back-to-back such that the third and fourth pistons rose and fell together. Pressure lubrication was a forward-looking feature. Production began in 1907, the most famous of the genre being a silver Barker-bodied tourer built for Managing Director Claude Johnson. Christened "Silver Ghost," its name was later appropriated for the entire 19-year model run of what was officially called the 40/50, from its horsepower rating. The Autocar opined on its ghost-like behavior: "At whatever speed the car is being driven on its direct third there is no engine as far as sensation goes, nor are one's auditory nerves troubled…by a fuller sound than emanates from an eight-day clock."
Johnson's Silver Ghost took part in the 2000-mile Scottish Reliability Trial, winning a gold medal. He then subjected it to a further extended test, covering 15,000 miles in repeated London-Glasgow journeys, after which it was disassembled and examined for wear. All parts were found to be within tolerances, exceptional for that stage in the development of the motor car. The car still exists, now restored, and it is estimated it has covered nearly 600,000 miles.
The lengendary London-Edinburgh model resulted from a 1911 challenge by archrival Napier. Napier's distributor Selwyn Francis Edge entered a 65-hp car in an RAC-observed run from London to Edinburgh, driven entirely in high gear. Rising to the challenge, Rolls-Royce responded with a nearly standard Silver Ghost chassis clad in attractive, lightweight tourer bodywork. Higher compression and a larger carburetor were the only mechanical modifications.
The Rolls easily outshone the Napier on fuel consumption, and in a timed run at the Brooklands track, it bested its rival, 78.26 to 76.42 miles per hour, driven by Ernest Hives, who later would become the Rolls-Royce chief engineer. The same chassis, with a single-seat body and high ratio axle, was clocked at 101.8 mph in the flying mile at Brooklands the following year. The fame of its achievements and the aesthetics of the close-coupled tourer body resulted in production of a small number of similar models in ensuing years. Not surprisingly, the London-Edinburgh style has become a favorite with collectors. In 1911, the press began referring to Rolls-Royce as the "Best Car in the World," but it was several years before the company adopted the slogan in advertising.
One of the most severe tests for motor cars before World War I was the Austrian Alpine Trials. The extremely steep grades on the mountain passes were guaranteed to take their toll on both the cars and their drivers. In the 1912 Trials, a Silver Ghost failed the demand of an incline and only when the passengers had left the car and helped by pushing it, did the car get underway again. Rolls-Royce was shocked and immediately set out to identify the reasons for the car's failue, since Silver Ghosts had been tested on equally steep inclines in Scotland. Rolls-Royce had not taken into account the lower atmospheric density of the high Alps. The solution to the challenges was known as the "Continental" model, which had a taller radiator for better cooling, a larger carburetor and the addition of a lower ratio forth gear for better hill climbing. On the return to the Austrian Alpine Trials in 1913, Rolls dominated the rally with a top speed of 80 miles per hour.
By 1923, an increase in engine displacement from 7 to 7.5 liters, dual magneto and coil ignition, larger rear drum brakes, four-speed transmission and a sturdier frame were incorporated to handel the heavier coachwork of the period.
The Silver Ghost remained in production through 1925, with electric lights and self-starter made standard in 1919 and four-wheel brakes late in 1923. Progress at other prestige makes like Hispano-Suiza, however, resulted in the Ghost becoming an anachronism, so when a revised overhead-valve model was introduced in May 1925, it was given a new name: New Phantom.
In 1920, Rolls-Royce, Ltd. opend a manufacturing plant in Springfield, Massachusetts and founded Rolls-Royce of America, Inc. The growing market in the US for Rolls-Royce automobiles and the heavy US import duty on foreign-made vehicles justified this new venture. The first chassis were completed in 1921 and each had custom coachwork from one of several independent coachbuilders located in the US. One of these was the Merrimac Body Company in Merrimac, Massachusetts whose was marketed as the "Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work". 1703 Silver Ghosts were made at Springfield between 1921 and 1926 when production ceased.
Years of Production: 1906 to 1926