1908 Rolls Royce 40/50


Early Motor Cars Edwardian 1904-1915

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The image you see is a scan which may show some slight distortion of line, fill, colour or text when you expand it. The prints themselves have no distortions.

Originally named the 40/50 hp the chassis was made at Royce’s Manchester works, moving to Derby in 1908. In 1907 Claude Johnson, Managing Director of Rolls-Royce, ordered a car as a demonstrator. Chassis no. 60551, registered AX 201, was the 12th 40/50 hp to be made. Named the “Silver Ghost” for its ghost-like quietness, it was an open-top Roi-des-Belges body by coachbuilder Barker (as in this print). The car prepared for the 1907 Scottish reliability trials and another 15,000-mile test including driving between London and Glasgow 27 times. The aim was to raise public awareness and show the reliability and quietness of the new car. This was risky: cars then were unreliable, and roads poor. The car set off with press aboard and broke record upon record. After 7,000 miles (11,000 km), the service cost was a negligible £2 2s 7d. The reputation of the 40/50 was established. AX201 was sold in 1908 and recovered by the company in 1948. Since then, it has been used for publicity. In 1991, the car was restored by SC Gordon Coachbuilders Luton, and P&A Wood, London, UK. In 1984, the car was photographed whilst in storage in Luton by precision model makers Franklin Mint. In 2004 it was owned by Bentley Motors and by 2006 it was considered the most valuable car in the world according to Motor Trend Magazine in the US (see page); in 2005 its insured value was placed at US$35 million.

Additional information

Dimensions 47.5 × 34.5 cm