Aalholm Automobile Collection

Aalholm Collection
12 August 2012
Lot 068

1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Roi des Belges Tourer

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kr.5,264,000 DKK | Sold

Denmark | Nysted, Denmark

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Chassis No.
1677
language

This lot will be sold with the following documents: Bill of Sale

Frederick Henry Royce was an engineer trained in the British electric power industry. He began tinkering with motor cars in 1902 and soon decided he could build a better car himself. Charles Stewart Rolls, 14 years Royce’s junior, was educated at Cambridge University. He became fond of bicycle racing and took to motor racing in 1899 with a De Dion-Bouton tricycle. Rolls’ friend, Henry Edmunds, a pioneer motorist and founder of the Royal Automobile Club, arranged for the two to meet over lunch in May 1904.

They hit it off very well, and Rolls took on the selling of Royce’s entire output. The first Rolls-Royce car was shown at the Paris Salon in December 1904. In 1906, Rolls cancelled all of his other franchise arrangements and the two men’s businesses were merged as Rolls-Royce Ltd.

Henry Royce set out to design a six-cylinder engine in 1906. He went back to basics and set two blocks of three cylinders on a common crankcase. Pressure lubrication was a forward-looking feature. Production began in 1907, the most famous of the genre being a silver Barker-bodied tourer built for Managing Director Claude Johnson. Christened “Silver Ghost”, its name was later appropriated for the entire 19-year model run of what was officially called the 40/50, from its horsepower rating.

Surviving records show that chassis 1677 was ordered on 25 April 1911, specified with a “Colonial” front axle and rear springs for extra ground clearance. The order called for a limousine-landaulet body with extra seating from H.J. Mulliner, for delivery to Calcutta for the Secretary to the Viceroy. The order appears not to have been consummated, because there is another order for “prompt” delivery, “as it stands”, on 6 June 1912, to H. Eric Trevanion, of Bayswater, London. The coachbuilder is listed as Hooper & Co.

When acquired by the Baron in the early-1960s, this Silver Ghost was fitted with the current, nice rendition of a Roi des Belges tourer, in dark blue with black mouldings coachlined in red. The seating is upholstered in buttoned red leather, and the car is nicely set off with contrasting red wheels and rims. The paintwork is generally good, and the brass is very nice, comprising BRC headlamps, side lamps and a correct bulb horn. An accessory windscreen is fitted for the rear seat passengers.

The engine and undercarriage are, apart from a few oil leaks, very presentable. One of the most desirable renditions of the Silver Ghost, the Roi des Belges tourer is the archetypal icon of its era.

Frederick Henry Royce var tekniker, uddannet inden for den britiske elektriske industri. Han begyndte at rode med motorbiler i 1902 og besluttede snart, at han selv kunne bygge en bedre bil. Charles Stewart Rolls, der var 14 år yngre end Royce, var uddannet ved Cambridge Universitet. Han blev glad for for cykelløb og gik i 1899 over til motorløb med en af De Dion-Boutons tricycles. Rolls' ven, Henry Edmunds, en af de første motorister og grundlægger af Den Kongelige Automobilklub, arrangerede et frokostmøde mellem de to i maj 1904.

De kom godt ud af det med hinanden, og Rolls overtog salget af Royce's samlede produktion. Den første Rolls-Royce blev udstillet i Paris Salon i december 1904. I 1906 opsagde Rolls alle sine andre franchise-aftaler, og de to mænds forretninger fusionerede under navnet Rolls-Royce Ltd.

Henry Royce begyndte at lave planer for en seks-cylindret motor i 1906. Han gik tilbage til grunddesignet og satte to blokke á tre cylindre sammen i et almindeligt krumtaphus. Tryksmøring var en fremsynet funktion. Produktionen begyndte i 1907, hvor den mest berømte i serien blev en sølvfarvet tourer med Barker-karosseri bygget af den administrerende direktør Claude Johnson. Den fik navnet “Silver Ghost”, som senere overtaget af hele den over 19 år løbende modelserie, som officielt blev kaldt 40/50'eren på grund af dens hestekræfter.

Bevarede kilder viser, at Chassis 1677 blev bestilt den 25. april 1911, udtrykkeligt med en “Colonial”-foraksel og bagfjedre for at opnå ekstra frihøjde. Bestillingen var på et limousine-landaulet karosseri med ekstra sæder fra H.J. Mulliner, med leverering til Calcutta til statholderens minister. Bestillingen ser ikke ud til at være blevet gennemført, for der findes en anden bestilling af “omgående” levering, “som den er”, den 6. juni 1912, to H. Eric Trevanion fra Bayswater, London. Den anførte karosseribygger er Hooper & Co.

Efter at være blevet overtaget af Baronen i begyndelsen af 1960'erne, blev denne Silver Ghost ombygget til den nuværende pæne fortolkning af en Roi des Belges Tourer i mørkeblå med sorte pyntelister med røde kantstreger. Sæderne er polstrede i rødt læder med knapper, og bilen fremstår pænt med kontrasterende røde hjul og fælge. Lakeringen er generelt i god stand, og messingen er meget pæn, herunder BRC forlygter, sidelygter og et korrekt horn. En ekstra rude er indsat til gavn for de bageste passagersæder.

Motoren og understellet er, når man ser bort fra et par olieutætheder, meget præsentable. Roi des Belges Tourer er en af de mest attraktive fortolkninger af Silver Ghost og et arketypisk ikon for sin periode.