1906 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost: The birth of a legend

1906 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost: The birth of a legend

EngineInline 6Drive TypeRWDEngine locationFrontWeight1372 kg | 3025 lbTransmission3-step manualFront brakesDrum

One of the most remarkable vehicles of the British manufacturer – Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost, was the epitome of luxury and style, forever staying in the history of the automotive industry.

Source: Secret Classics

The history of the automotive industry has long exceeded 100 years. During this rather significant period for science and technology, the industry went through several eras, and approaches to vehicle construction have repeatedly changed and taken on new forms. But in automobile history, as in any other branch of human activity, there were milestones forever stuck in the memory of people. Such was the legendary 40/50 hp or the inimitable Silver Ghost. 

It all started with the first Rolls-Royce 10 hp model, the prototype of which appeared in 1903 when engineer Henry Royce from Manchester bought the French car Decauville 1903. He was so dissatisfied with its design and the technical specifications that built and sold the first car of his design to Charles Stewart Rolls. The wealthy gentleman liked it so much that by the end of 1904 a cooperation agreement was signed. The joined company was named Rolls-Royce producing luxurious vehicles for more than a century. Since then, the brand always strived to produce only “the best cars in the world” and succeeded!

The origins

Source: Autoreview

The twelfth chassis (#60551) of the six-cylinder 40/50 hp model debuted in 1906 and was built for the company’s Managing Director Claude Johnson. It was he who persuaded the company’s board to focus on a single high-end model, which soon earned the emotional title of “the best car in the world.” Johnson ordered the body from the London studio Barker & Co.:; the automobile was painted silver, and the fittings were covered with a layer of natural silver. Therefore, and also thanks to the silent operation of the new motor, the owner gave the vehicle, like a yacht, its name – “Silver Ghost”, which was stated on the plate on the body. Shortly after delivering the automobile, Claude Johnson entered it in the Scottish Reliability Trial and won the Dewar Cup. The car set the official record by driving 14 932 miles (24 030.73 km) without a single forced stop due to a malfunction. The result was widely publicized, and the semi-official nickname Silver Ghost stuck to the 40/50 HP model – although only Claude Johnson’s vehicle with the license plate AX201 carried such a name.

The first Ghost

Source: Magneto magazine

Interestingly, the British brand’s first models did not become a breakthrough in the field of auto construction. But the real success was achieved in 1906 when the 40/50 hp model was released. The first indicator 40 hp meant the “tax power” of the engine, calculated from the diameter of the cylinders and their number, and the second characterized the real power of the power unit. By the way, the new engine had six cylinders and a working volume of more than 7 liters, which, in conjunction with a power of 50 hp was a very impressive result, considering that this engineering solution was created more than 100 years ago. The technical platform also had a new crankshaft mounting system on seven bearings. This solution allowed to evenly distribute the weight of the engine and significantly reduce the noise emitted by it. The ignition problem was solved by installing two glow plugs on each of the six cylinders. The new model was introduced at the London Motor Show when the company’s engineers assembled a one-of-a-kind copy on chassis 60544. The legendary vehicle with a unique body received its epoch-making name – “Silver Ghost”. The vehicle, in addition to the attention-grabbing silver body, received surprisingly strong details. The test run of the car was over 24 000 kilometers, while the only malfunction was a broken fuel cock. However, thanks to the quality and high strength, Rolls-Royce automobiles have repeatedly received extremely positive reviews and recognition from the automotive community. According to unofficial statistics, 6 out of 10 Rolls-Royces ever produced are still on the move, and company representatives like to repeat that a Rolls-Royce cannot break, it simply stops functioning.

Did you know?

Source: Diecast Society

The Silver Ghost became legendary for its outstanding ride, reliability, and build quality. The first English armored vehicle, which participated in the First World War, was built on its chassis, and a significant part of the combat aircraft of that time was equipped with Rolls-Royce aircraft engines, the production of which was mastered in 1914.

For more interesting stories please visit our Car Library section.

1906 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost: The birth of a legend

EngineInline 6Drive TypeRWDEngine locationFrontWeight1372 kg | 3025 lbTransmission3-step manualFront brakesDrum

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