When the 40/50 horsepower “Silver Ghost” debuted in 1907 it was the most advanced motorcar money could buy. Centered on Henry Royce’s impressive 7,428cc side-valve inline-six, the Silver Ghost was an engineering marvel. The cylinder block was built incredibly strong but was also light weight thanks to the use of an alloy crankcase. Competitors of the day suffered reliability issues due to their long, flexible crankshafts, but Royce’s engine had a crank that was shorter and stronger and was supported by seven large main bearings. Precise machine work and hand-polishing ensured near silent, smoke-free operation – a characteristic that was virtually unheard of for the time. Features such as pressurized oiling, fixed heads to eliminate leaks, and a twin ignition system via magneto or distributor were advancements that established the Silver Ghost as the standard of the world for motorcars. Particularly when compared to other machinery of the same period, the Silver Ghost is a true marvel of sophisticated engineering and build-quality, capable of delivering near silent operation and a luxurious experience for passengers. The Ghost performed extremely well and earned an impeccable reputation thanks to its well-publicized performance in reliability trials around the world. In spite of a high cost of entry, sales were strong enough to warrant a second assembly plant in Springfield, Massachusetts where many of the later US-Market cars would be built. Approximately 7,800 were built over a 20 year span, many of which survive today as validation of the Ghost’s reputation.
The majestic 1912 Silver Ghost featured here is a finely presented“parallel bonnet” example, chassis number 2232E. Handsome and proven, this motorcar has benefited from a long line of enthusiastic owners. The rich history of 2232E began when it was first ordered by G. Douglas Ashby and specified with a Thrupp & Maberly Torpedo touring body, with London-Edinburgh features, and was ordered with brass accessories. It was subsequently sold to John de Kaye who then sold it to the British Admiralty where it served war duty. Following the war and its government service, the car passed through several owners, including the Duke of Sutherland, and more recently the respected Silver Ghost enthusiast Millard Newman, in 1987. Throughout its life, it wore several bodies, as it was not uncommon for Ghosts to change coachwork when they changed ownership. Also, as a testament to the strength and durability of the Silver Ghost chassis, it is quite often the case that a chassis will outlast more than one body, as is the case with this example, when it was acquired by Mr. Newman. In 1988, it was fitted with its current and striking“Roi des Belges” or “Tulip Phaeton” body by Wilkinson, a style made popular the early 1900s by Barker and very appropriate for this period. It is important to note the fact that because so few Ghosts survived with their original coachwork, later rebodies are a widely accepted practice. While it is a later rebody, the car offered here is fully accredited by all major Rolls-Royce societies and is totally welcomed by the Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club, Rolls-Royce Enthusiast Club and the Silver Ghost Association.
It is currently presented with excellent cosmetics, in an attractive duo-tone cream yellow with butterscotch wings and outlining. The blackwall tires and black wire wheels give a purposeful and elegant touch. A full top provides weather protection for touring, and it is nicely detailed throughout with proper spring gaiters, beautiful wood work and plenty of glorious brass accessories and body fittings. It is offered with original build documentation, as well as an array of archival information from the Rolls-Royce Foundation. Thanks to the care it has received by its most recent owner, it is now very well sorted, as well as being a proven and well-respected tour car. Not just a driver’s car, it was shown as recently as 2011, where it took part in the highly respected Elegance at Hershey Concours d’Elegance. Few brass-era cars can match the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost for its charm, presence and outstanding reliability. This is a marvelous opportunity to acquire a desirable “parallel bonnet” Ghost with striking coachwork, that is ready for serious touring.