Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Landaulette
The legendary Rolls-Royce model first introduced in 1906 was not initially referred to as the “Silver Ghost” but rather the 40/50, referring to its 40 taxable and 50 true horsepower output. The first 40/50 to bear the name Silver Ghost was actually the 13th chassis of the series built and featured an aluminum body by Barker with silver-plated exterior fittings and a sliver-plated brass plate bearing the name “Silver Ghost.” The dramatic name stuck, and Silver Ghosts became known not only for their incredible reliability but also for their virtual silence and uncannily smooth, almost vibration-free operation.
The aforementioned 13th chassis became a demonstration car for Rolls-Royce, and it was first put to the test in a 2,000-mile trial under the supervision of the Royal Automobile Club. During this test, the car recorded fuel economy better than 20 mpg on the road between London and Glasgow—quite astounding considering the size of the vehicle with such a large displacement engine (7,036 cc). Next, the car entered the Scottish Reliability Trials. Unfortunately, the Rolls had to make an unscheduled stop at 629 miles caused by a faulty petrol tap shaking shut. The car continued to run flawlessly day and night following the trials, resting only on Sundays, until 15,000 miles had been covered; thus, 14,371 miles were travelled without an involuntary stop, setting a new world record. The car was then dismantled under the supervision of the R.A.C., with all parts reported “as new.” In short, a Silver Ghost simply did not wear out, especially when compared to its contemporaries, and it went on to become one of the longest-running automotive models until it was succeeded by the Phantom, with production spanning 1906 to 1925 in England and American production continuing until 1926 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
40/50 hp, 7,428 cc L-head inline six-cylinder engine with cylinders cast in two blocks, three-speed manual gearbox, live front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live axle rear with cantilever leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 143.5"
Source: RM Auctions