's Great British Cars – Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

Sun 26th Aug 2018

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
The Silver Ghost, so named because of its distinctive silver paint job and its beautifully quiet engine, which some said the car appeared like a ghost. The car is regarded, quite rightly, as the very first supercar, and responsible for sparking an era of classics.

When we look at the history of cars over the past 100 years, it is hard to grasp that the very first Silver Ghost was actually built way back in 1907. Rolls Royce had produced four chassis’ for the Olympia car show in 1906, but it was the brainchild of Rolls-Royce’s Managing Director, Claude Johnson who suggested that the new 40/50 hp should be fitted with an open-top Roi-des-Belges body. This striking look combined with the famous silver made it hard to ignore.

As to be expected by Rolls-Royce, the Silver Ghost broke all sort of speed records, at a time when cars were seen to be unreliable, and the UK’s road network deemed to be primitive at the very least.

The Silver Ghost was named the best car in the world by Autocar in 1907, and is still being talked about 110 years later. Though the car was only affordable for the very rich, it endured 20 years in the limelight was still being coveted well into the 1920s.

With the advent of World War One, many Ghost were fitted with armoured bodywork and were used in the Middle East for battles with the Turks, legend has it that Lawrence of Arabia used one on his exploits.

After enjoying a long and historic run, the Silver Ghost was superseded by another classic, when the Phantom 1 arrived on the scene. In it’s 21 year UK production it is estimated that a total of 7,876 Silver Ghosts made it to the road.

Years of manufacture: 1906-1926 
Price when new: £998 
Price now: £10million-plus
Engine: 7,036cc 6cyl petrol, 48bhp
Top speed: 60mph