Lot 120

Monterey 2022

1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Roi des Belges by Wilkinson

Offered from Masterworks of Design


$522,000 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
Engine No.
US Title
  • An extremely sought-after Brass “parallel bonnet” Silver Ghost
  • Very handsome and imposing coachwork in a classic style
  • Originally delivered to Australia; fascinating history
  • Accompanied by Rolls-Royce Foundation build and ownership documentation

The Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP, famously known as the Silver Ghost, was the car upon which the company’s outstanding reputation for proven engineering and superb quality was built. In production for an astonishing 19 years with constant gentle refinement but few major changes, it was as fine an automobile at its conclusion as at its beginning, noted for its exceptionally smooth power. Enthusiasts today covet it in all its generations, but none more so than the early pre-World War I cars, affectionately known as “parallel bonnet” models for the traditional design of their hood. These examples have the grand appearance one immediately visualizes upon the mention of the Silver Ghost name, and have been preferred by buyers for generations, especially those fitted with open coachwork.


Tom C. Clarke’s Rolls-Royce in the Sunburnt Country and John Fasal and Bryan Goodman’s The Edwardian Rolls-Royce note delivery of chassis number 2006 with a landaulette body to James M. Niall, a successful entrepreneur in the wool industry who maintained homes in both London and his native Melbourne, Australia. It seems that the Silver Ghost was exported to the latter, as subsequent Australian owners are recorded well into the 1920s; in the late 1920s the car was owned by Barton’s Safety Coach Service and for hire in Canberra! In 1958 the car, still with a limousine body of apparently local manufacture, was acquired by Maurice R. Markoff, a Rolls-Royce hobbyist in Melbourne, for whom a new tourer body was built.

In 1965 Mr. Markoff advertised the completed restoration in the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club publication, and shortly after sold the car to James Leake of Muskogee, Oklahoma. A very prolific buyer and seller of vintage automobiles in this era, Mr. Leake was at heart a collector, in particular of his beloved Silver Ghosts, and acquired numerous fine examples, some of which he kept for many years. Chassis number 2006 was one of these, which he maintained for over two decades before selling it when his private collection was dispersed in November 1987.

The car was then acquired by an owner in Denmark, and in 1989 the present body, a handsome duplicate of the famed Barker Roi des Belges, was produced by the respected modern British coachbuilding shop of Wilkinson. The body shows gentle use throughout but is still quite impressive in its deep red livery with burgundy striping, a wonderful accent to the lavish and correct use of brass trim throughout, including Lucas Autolite headlamps and King of the Road side and tail lamps. Significantly the car is still equipped with its numbers-matching engine, number 7W, stamped with both that number and the original chassis number, as noted in the aforementioned reference texts.

This would be an ideal Silver Ghost to recommission gently and enjoy on extended tours, such as the famous long-distance rallies held by the Silver Ghost Association. It boasts a fascinating provenance and distinctive appearance, both sure to endear it to all who encounter it.