Regarded as ‘one of the best cars in the world’, this 1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer from the Motorious classifieds has captured our imagination big time. If you’re seeking a particularly special vehicle that will effortlessly turn heads, this magnificent slice of automotive heritage is the answer.
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It's rarer than almost any supercar, too. While it might not offer the same power-to-weight ratio as a Lamborghini Countach or Ferrari F40, it trumps them all with exclusivity. Only twenty of these specific Silver Ghosts are believed to exist.
Its splendid Roi-des-Belges bodywork was a popular styling choice for luxury motorcars in the early 1900s. Inspired by the design cues of a 1901 40hp Panhard et Levassor that was specifically built for Leopold II of Belgium, the Roi-des-Belges was offered as an option by many high-end manufacturers. However, no marque perfected the design quite like Rolls-Royce.
Under the 1911 Rolls-Royce’s impressively long bonnet rests a 7248cc six-cylinder engine, while the lustrous bronze headlamps continue to run on gas just as they did 108 years ago.
The name Silver Ghost was first used as a nickname for the 12th 40/50hp Rolls-Royce, registered AX 201. It was used as a demonstrator vehicle, and was liveried in aluminium finished with silver-plated fittings. As with the 1911 Tourer seen here, AX 201 also possessed Roi-des-Belges coachwork.
Rolls-Royce used AX 201 to increase brand awareness during the company’s earliest years. The publicity campaign was a huge success, with the car setting numerous long-distance trial records and proving impressively reliable.
Reception for AX 201 was so positive that journalists and members of the public alike soon began referring to all 40/50hp Rolls-Royces as the Silver Ghost – and so the name stuck, albeit unrecognised by the manufacturer itself until the New Phantom was introduced for the 1925 model year.
So what about this fine example? The car here, chassis number 1544, is recorded as undergoing factory evaluation on February 27, 1911, equipped with engine number 45S; build records and copies of which are on file. It was subsequently delivered through dealer A.B. Wardman, the name listed on its build records, to A. Harrison of Frodsham.
With no coachbuilder listed on the build records, Mr. Harrison likely commissioned the bodywork himself – a common practice with high-end vehicles of the time.
To the collector, this Rolls-Royce is nothing less than one of the greatest, pure, authentic, and original examples of the early Silver Ghost. The vehicle's importance is certainly increased when records dictate that so few original examples of the Roi-des-Belges coachwork have survived time's onward march. Get a closer look at the Rolls-Royce here.
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