The Silver Ghost established Rolls-Royce's claim of making “The Best Car in the World,” a reputation that lasts to this day and makes the name Rolls-Royce one of the most recognized trademarks in existence.
Originally this model’s chassis was simply called a 40/50 and began life at Royce's Manchester, England works. After 1908, it was produced at the Derby factory, which is still in use for aviation engine production. Then, between 1921 and 1926, it was made in Springfield, Massachusetts in the USA.
The name The Silver Ghost originally christened chassis no. 60551, emphasizing its ghost-like quietness. Other cars were given their own individual appellations, but the phrase Silver Ghost was picked up by an enamored press, turning it into the name of an entire automotive series instead of just one specific car.
This model began with a new side-valve, six-cylinder, 7000 cc engine with the cylinders cast in two units of three each and were originally fitted with a four-speed overdrive transmission. Then, when engine displacement was increased to 7400 cc in 1909, a three- speed transmission was fitted, later changed to a four-speed transmission in 1913. Two spark plugs were fitted to each cylinder, with each set fired by a trembler coil (later an ignition coil and distributor) and magneto.
Continuous development of the engine allowed power output to be increased from 48 brake horsepower to 80 brake horsepower at 2,250 rpm. Electric lights were fitted to the cars, replacing older technology oil or acetylene lamps, and the substantial chassis had rigid axles and leaf springs on all corners. Early cars had only brakes on the rear wheels with a transmission brake acting on the drive shaft. Later cars had a dual-brake system on the rear wheels with front brakes finally appearing on the English cars in 1923 and American cars soon after.
Production of the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost ceased during World War II but, because of their durability and reliability relative to their peers, its chassis and engine were successfully used in a range of armored cars made famous by Lawrence of Arabia's exploits in the deserts of the Middle East. Following the war, the decision was made to start production of an identical car in the United States, and Rolls-Royce of America opened a factory in Springfield, MA.
Despite continuous improvements made by the Rolls-Royce automotive company, by the early 1920s the performance and quality of some of its competitors started to approach that of the Silver Ghost, and sales began to decline. The car was replaced by the new Phantom (today referred to as a Phantom I) in 1925 in Great Britain and in 1926 in the United States.
In all, a total of 7,874 Silver Ghosts were produced from 1907 to 1926, including 1,701 built in the Springfield, MA plant. Remarkably, it is estimated that nearly 1,500 of them survive today.
Rolls-Royce motorcars are renowned for their engineering, beauty and history of each individual car. Few other marques have such comprehensive and complete ownership records or details about the engines, chassis and bodies fitted to them. This marvelous Silver Ghost Pall Mall Tourer is no exception and shares decades of fascinating stories of a passionate and well-renowned owner and avid tourer.
This Pall Mall body was built at Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Works in England and was fitted to the long wheel base chassis, offering luxuriously expanded space for passengers and luggage.
Not only was it lovingly maintained by its former owner but also by Steve Littin of Vintage and Auto Rebuilds. Steve recently readied this Ghost for the 2020/2021 touring season by completing the following:
• carburetor rebuild
• new clutch lining and Cardan shaft
• sphere re-machined
• major engine work including fitting new rings/valves
• complete engine and chassis inspection
• an overdrive fitted for rpm reduction and increased highway speeds
The polished cream exterior gleams, and the burgundy wings guarantee that this tourer will stand out in a crowd, while the supple brown leather and burnished wood accents add to its authenticity and style. This Pall Mall also has a functioning cutout valve on the exhaust system and comes with Rolls-Royce tools as well as assorted general tools, a trunk, headlight covers, front and rear tonneau covers, locking tool boxes and a parking cap . . . all with its famous Flying Lady at the helm.
It has been toured all over the world by its former owner, who was a prominent member of the Silver Ghost Association and a chief judge with the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, featuring Silver Ghosts. This lovely vehicle and its last owner won awards from the RROC for successfully completing tours throughout the US, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia and participated in the SGA Wholly Ghost Tour in 2019.
Described recently as one of the most significant cars ever built, the Silver Ghost was produced from 1907 through 1926. Many unique examples of this automobile remain on the road today and are used extensively by their owners . . . a testament to their resilient design and construction.
With its classic appearance, this sporty Pall Mall Tourer will give many more years of spirited travel, whether touring with the SGA or driving the open roads so enjoyed by its former owner.