Saturday, 6 February 2016

104-year old 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

World Record Price at Goodwood Festival of Speed
for this 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

One Pre-WWII Vintage car that will not be at Cronulla on Sunday 20th March 2016 is this 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost that sold recently at auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK for an astonishing £4,705,500, making it the most expensive Rolls-Royce ever sold at auction.

In a salute to British motoring opulence and craftsmanship this magnificent time capsule came complete with ivory and silver fittings, silk door panels and china tea service.  

Unique: This 104-year-old Silver
 Ghost Rolls-Royce has sold
for a 
world-record price of £5million

[click to enlarge]
While it only manages just six miles to the gallon and has a top speed of only 60mph.

This 104-year-old Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost has zoomed into the world record books, selling at auction for almost £5million following a fierce bidding war amongst wealthy collectors.

It was originally purchased for £1,000 in 1912 (almost £93,000 in today’s money) but has now gone under the hammer for £4,705,500.

Unique: This 104-year-old Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce has sold for a world-record price of £5million after a furious budding war at Bonhams

In great nick: The six-cylinder, 
7.3-litre car comes with perfect provenance
and is still purring smoothly after 104 years.
[click to enlarge]
Through the roof: The lengthy auction saw two enthusiasts duelling for the pristine car as the bidding went up in increments of £100,000, smashing past the £2million estimate

In great nick: The six-cylinder, 7.3-litre car comes with perfect provenance and is still purring smoothly, doing about 15 miles to the gallon.

What it lacks in gadgetry, the British-made classic more than compensates for with an extraordinary level of luxury that leaves its modern-day counterparts looking a little unsophisticated.

Interiors were chosen to resemble luxurious
US Pullman Railway carriages
[click to enlarge] 
It's gleaming interior fittings are made of silver and ivory, while the door panels are embroidered silk, with brocade tassels attached to silk window shades for privacy.

The sale took place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex on
Friday. Auctioneers had expected it to sell for around £2million and were
astonished when the bidding between two rival collectors topped £4million.

James Knight, from Bonhams auctioneers, said: ‘There were three serious bidders, then one of them dropped out at £2.3million and we thought it would end there.

Travelling in style: The design chosen by its original owner echoed the luxurious 'Pullman' Railway carriages pioneered by American George Pullman.

Luxurious: The elegant passenger 
compartment complete with 29
beveled glass windows.
Luxurious: The elegant passenger compartment (left) complete with 29
beveled glass windows and the stylish steering wheel.

But then another bidder entered and the bidders were dueling.

It went up in increments of £50,000, and then £100,000, and then back down to £50,000.

It went on and on and on and was the longest car sale ever witnessed by most enthusiasts.

It was pure theatre. Everyone was very respectful but when the price reached a milestone, like £3million, there was an intake of breath. The bidders were dueling and when the hammer came down there was spontaneous applause.

Mark of history; a plate on the
firewall bearing the vehicle's 
chassis production number of 1907
It was fitting because the car is celebrating her centenary. The car was commissioned by Rolls-Royce connoisseur John M. Stephens, who also bought the first Silver Ghost the luxury car-maker produced in 1906.

The body was built by former royal carriage-maker Barker’s of Mayfair,
which had previously built coaches for King George III and Queen Victoria.

The car even had an early speedometer – an important addition given that a 20mph speed limit was introduced in 1912. Unlike most car enthusiasts of his time, Mr Stephens, from Croydon, South London, asked the makers not to include a glass division window between the driver and the passengers as he wanted to drive it himself rather than rely on a chauffeur.

The car’s distinctive cream and green design echoed the luxury ‘Pullman’ Railway carriages of the time, and it was known as a Double Pullman Limousine.

Footwell mark: The body was built 
by former royal carriage-maker 
Barker’s of Mayfair
But it was nicknamed ‘the Corgi Silver Ghost’ in the 1960s after the toy-maker based its Silver Ghost toy car on this model.

Mr Stephens’s car is believed to be the only one of its kind to survive with its full interior and bodywork, as many Rolls-Royces from the era were converted into ambulances during the First World War.

Auctioneer Bonhams said: ‘It is a statement of refinement, grace and gentility that for many defines the qualities and the Edwardian period in which Rolls-Royce established the unsurpassed reputation it still enjoys today.’

The rear passenger compartment.
Nil compliance for seat belts in 1906
The identity of the anonymous telephone bidders has not been revealed but sadly Bonhams has confirmed the car will now be leaving Britain once more.

The vehicle left Britain in 1992 after it was bought by a US-based enthusiast. A Texas lawyer bought it from him in 2007 for £1.9million and kept it until 2009, when he was killed in a crash in a different car.

The Rolls was then sold once again before the latest seven-hour auction, which saw more than 80 cars go under the hammer for a combined £22million.

Astonishingly, the Silver Ghost was not the most expensive lot. That honour went to a 1929 ‘Blower’ Bentley single-seater racing car, which sold for £5,042,000, the highest price ever for a British car at auction. In 1932, fighter pilot and Le Mans winner Sir Henry Birkin set a 137mph speed record in the Bentley, described as the 'Concorde' of its time.

Pre-WWII Vintage Car & Bike Show

Show Date: Sunday 20th March, 2016
Location: Cronulla Mall, Cronulla

Free entry for all events

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