Spirited Ecstasy: Ghost Story

After a 103-year hiatus, the Ghost model name has reemerged at Rolls-Royce. The original Silver Ghost was the first series-produced car from the factory at Derby, England, which was the primary Rolls-Royce facility until the Crewe factory became the company’s home in 1946. During a two-decade production span, the early Ghost established standards in quality, engineering, comfort, and elegance unmatched by the products of rival manufacturers. From its classic radiator shell—whose basic form remains a company hallmark—to its smooth, sophisticated powerplant and graceful body shape, the Silver Ghost embodies the essence of the Rolls-Royce marque.

Interestingly, only one officially recognized Silver Ghost existed until a year before the model was replaced. Named by Rolls-Royce’s then commercial managing director Claude Johnson for its aluminum paintwork and German silver-plated trim, that vehicle bore the famous AX 201 registration number. All others of its kind through 1925 were referred to as "40/50" Rolls-Royces. No showroom cream puff, AX 201 was used for regular transport, as well as durability runs, and survives in fine condition to this day.

Perhaps the most impressive proof of the Ghost’s durability came during World War I, when 40/50 chassis were fitted with crude armored coachwork and dispatched to the Middle East for use by the British forces there. The 40/50s adapted successfully to their wartime role, which was diametrically opposed to the more leisurely one for which they were designed. In fact, the legendary T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) is said to have remarked that his postwar dream was to have a "Rolls-Royce with enough tires and petrol to last me all my life."

The history of the original Silver Ghost proves that the luster of a classic, enduring motorcar extends far beyond paint and plating.

Only seven of the themed Continental GT Speed models will be made, and owners get to ride in a jet...
Lufthansa allows first-class fliers to drive a Porsche 911 or Panamera while waiting for wheels up...
These hard chargers from the world’s premier automotive masters are fast, furious, and the future…
Photo by James Lipman
Bentley proves that luxurious amenities and raw speed make fine bedfellows…
Unconstrained by convention, today’s top builders produce motorcycles that set new benchmarks…
The Range Rover Sport SVR is the first in Land Rover’s new ultrapowerful lineup…
Though its power is electronically limited, the bike still puts its road-going competitors to shame…
Vintage formula 5000 cars will make their debut at this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion...
Robb Report Spain named the 2015 GTA Spano supercar to 2015's Best of the Best...
The new specification for the Flying Spur V8 includes 20-inch alloy wheels for a sportier stance…