It was the last pre-war Rolls-Royce produced in Derby, as post-war cars of this brand left the new factory in Crewe. The successor to the 25/30 Wraith was ranked lower in class than the brand’s iconic models but certainly not inferior in popularity.
Source: Classic Trader
The 30s were the most challenging times, especially for the producers of luxury goods, particularly automobiles. The market was relatively small, and the demand for hand-assembled vehicles dropped drastically. In addition, the mass production opponents began to crowd out the luxury automakers, which had to deal with the technologically advanced mass production competitors. Manual assembly was undoubtedly good, but without innovative ideas, it was impossible to hold out. However, the legendary British brand still succeeded. The 1938 release was remarkable, featuring many startling new features according to the automobile fashion of the 30s. This pre-war model was a unique creation of the British automaker, the representative of a comparably compact series that completed the line of refined and larger models such as the Phantom III. As its name suggested, it was exceptionally quiet, offering a smooth and soundless ride. The contemporary press and auto enthusiasts gave the model hot and positive feedback, emphasizing its refined and expensive design and outstanding quiet ride. Surprisingly light, it took no effort to achieve a 75mph speed with this quiet “Wraith.” By the way, recently, the legendary model celebrated its 80th anniversary.
Source: Pre-War Cars
The end of the 30s was marked by the wild popularity of the brand’s aircraft engines. But not everything was all rosy. The disturbing wave of the mass-produced industry was threatening the hand-assembling manufacturers, making it clear that not everyone would survive the period of technological advancement. Thus, it was decided to send the company’s chief engineer, William Robotham, to the USA to study innovative technologies. As a result, he returned with ideas that saved the brand from ruin. The main feature was the rejection of the production of all parts within the company because outsourcing was much cheaper and faster. The company’s chief engineer determined that only in this way was it possible to increase the number of produced automobiles and sales. As a result, Wraith was born in 1938 – the long-awaited of the “ghosts.”
Source: Pre-War Cars
Of course, the automobile turned utterly different compared to the massive cars of the past: this was a new model, more compact than the Phantom III. This vehicle was often described as a smaller Phantom III, the most pleasant of all Rolls-Royces. The 1938 model received a newly welded chassis, a new light-alloy six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 4257 ccs, and the best performance from the entire brand line. The Wraith was also the last Rolls-Royce to be built in Derby, as the brand’s post-war cars were made at the new Crewe factory. As a successor to the 25/30, it ranked lower than the Phantom III and, therefore, cost £1100 less than its expensive counterpart. The Rolls-Royce 25/30th’s inline 6-cylinder engine was upgraded, increasing the new model’s power to 126 hp. The 136″ (3450 mm) wheelbase chassis was the first for Rolls-Royce to be made by welding instead of traditional riveting. Of course, the outbreak of WWII ceased the production of civil automobiles. However, the company’s technologies served an excellent service on the battlefield: the company switched to manufacturing the Merlin aircraft engines. During the post-war period, the production of civilian automobiles resumed. Remarkably, Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II proudly owned one of those glorious pre-war Wraiths. The automobile was revived as the Silver Wraith in 1946, continuing the traditions of the legendary British brand.
Source: Ride in Royalty
A selection of car names was another story for the brand. The British manufacturer took almost all the names of its vehicles from the “underworld” to mystify and emphasize their quiet, graceful and elegant ride. Wraith was picked up in 1938 as a continuation of 40/50 hp (Silver Ghost), meaning “ghost” or “spirit” in Scottish.
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