The partnership between
Charles Rolls and Henry Royce has provided the world with almost 100
years of automobile engineering design and perfection. Even today, Rolls-Royce
is considered to be the standard by which excellence is judged and represents
the ultimate in class, quality and style. In addition, Rolls Royce is
the most recognized name in the world.
With just a few exceptions, all Rolls Royce motorcars start off
with the name Silver. This word has everything to do with tradition
nothing to do with color. The word after Silver tells you which
particular Rolls Royce was manufactured. Everyone has heard of
the most famous Rolls-Royce – it is called the Silver Ghost. The Silver Ghost
was manufactured from 1906 to 1927. For a short time, Rolls-Royce operated
a manufacturing plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Rolls-Royces
manufactured there are referred to as “Springfield Silver Ghosts”,
or for a shorter version, “Springfield Ghosts.”
Some of the models that followed the Silver Ghosts are the Phantom,
Wraith, 20/25 HP, Silver Wraith, Silver Dawn, Silver Cloud, Silver
Shadow, Silver Spirit, Silver Spur and the Silver Seraph. Rolls
Royces are named
after things that are quiet.
Before 1971, the convertibles were referred to as whatever model
they were and then the letters “DHC” (drop head coupe) followed.
For example, Rolls Royce Silver Cloud DHC. Starting in 1971, all convertibles
assumed the name “Corniche”. This name is derived from an
area near Nice, France where the Grand Corniche road winds spectacularly
around the Mediterranean.
More than six out of ten of all Rolls-Royce Motor cars built
are still roadworthy. The oldest known Rolls-Royce still on the
road is the 1904
10hp owned by Mr. Thomas Love Jr. of Scotland. Even today, every
Rolls-Royce engine is completely hand built.
Grille and Mascot
The Rolls-Royce radiator grille is made entirely by hand and eye - no measuring
instruments are used. It takes one man, one day to make a Rolls Royce radiator,
and then five hours are spent polishing it.
" The Spirit of Ecstasy" is certainly the most attractive and best
known motor car mascot in the world. Designed by Charles Robinson Sykes, she
has adorned the radiators of Rolls-Royce motorcars since 1911.
This is the story of Eleanor Thornton, who was employed as a secretary to Lord
Montagu, editor of the illustrated magazine "The Car" and a pioneer
of automobiles in England. Lord Montagu commissioned sculptor and close friend,
Charles R. Sykes to create a special mascot for his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.
The small statue illustrated a young woman in fluttering robes having placed
one forefinger to her lips and was christen “The Whisper.”
The Rolls-Royce Company was becoming increasingly concerned at the tasteless
mascots appearing on all too many British cars, including Rolls-Royces and after
seeing Lord Montagu’s mascot, commissioned Charles Sykes to create a mascot.
In February 1911 he presented to Rolls-Royce the "Spirit of Ecstasy",
which was easily recognizable as being a variation on the theme of "The
Whisper". The similarity was hardly coincidental because the model for both
had been the lovely Miss Thornton, whose liaison with Lord Montagu remained a
secret for a decade or more because both partners acted with the utmost discretion.
The mascot has become as much an instantly recognized feature of the Rolls-Royce
motorcar as the famous radiator and the interlocking RR’s. Rarely, however,
is the correct term "Spirit of Ecstasy" used - detractors remark this
was only done at the factory in Crewe. The name "Eleanor" is widespread
and Americans speak of the "Silver Lady" or the "Flying Lady".
The Rolls Royce Owner’s Club (www.rroc.org) is open all who would like
to enjoy the experience of owning a Rolls-Royce motorcar or even just to admire