Although its 40/50 hp model would have earned The Best Car in the World sobriquet in any event, Rolls-Royce's decision to drop all other models only served to focus attention on what would become known as the Silver Ghost.
Premiering at the 1906 Olympia Motor Show, this striking model acquired its evocative name the following year when chassis number 60551 was exhibited wearing silver-painted tourer coachwork by Barker.
The heart of the Silver Ghost was its magnificent engine, a 7,036 cc (later 7,428 cc) sidevalve six equipped with seven-bearing crankshaft and pressure lubrication. A sturdy chassis composed of channel-section side members and tubular cross members was suspended on semi-elliptic springs at the front and a platform leaf-spring arrangement at the rear, although the latter soon came in for revision.
It was Rolls-Royce's Silver Ghost that solidified the company's reputation for producing reliable vehicles that were precisely engineered and delivered with exceptional attention to detail. The Silver Ghost remained in production in England until 1925 and at Rolls-Royce's Springfield plant in the USA until 1926, the longest production run of any model from that celebrated company.
This striking Rolls-Royce Mann Egerton has a fascinating history. Chassis 109 MG was delivered new to Prafulla Nath Tagore, Raja of Calcutta, India in 1921. At that time, there were pockets of wealth in India that allowed the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost to be used by maharajas and big game hunters.
According to his great-grandson, Prithvi Nath Tagore, Raja Tagore had several luxury marques in his fleet, and this was one of his favorites. It was used often by the family, including for weddings. Visit https://vintagemotorcarsusa.com to read the younger Mr. Tagore’s letter to Vintage Motor Cars, and look at the photo gallery here for for a look into this Rolls’ early life.
Also visit https://vintagemotorcarsusa.com for a detailed description written by John Fasal, Silver Ghost historian and author, and a photo of the 1921 RR 40/50hp #109 MG as delivered to Mr. P.N. Tagore in 1921.
The vehicle was later purchased in 1989 by an American who brought the car from India to the U.S. It then reportedly went to Frank Cooke, where the body and engine were removed from the chassis and it was completely restored.
The car was toured from the 1990s through about 2012. At that time, a new top, interior and tires were installed. The car was then used sparingly until just recently as the owner was unable to drive it much.
This lovely Ghost has been test driven and thoroughly serviced recently, and its gas tank has been cleaned and the carburetor rebuilt. The engine runs strong; a compression check shows 60 psi in each cylinder. The 2-wheel brakes stop the car well, and the car travels down the road with no hesitation or sign of overheating.
Rolls-Royce's search for perfection created a car that is still known for reliability and excellence 100 years after being introduced. While not a show car, this striking vehicle still looks great and will give the new owner many years of touring fun.