On this day in auto history – April 12th

Mon 12th Apr 2021

It was on this day in 1926 that one of the most significant but under-heralded figures in British motoring history - Claude Johnson - passed away suddenly at the age of 61.

Having been the first secretary of the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) Johnson’s association with Charles Rolls saw him occupy a senior position in the burgeoning Rolls-Royce company. Years later, Johnson would famously described himself as “the hyphen” in the illustrious marque’s name.

Following the unexpected death of Rolls in 1910, it was Johnson who took de facto control of the company and he was instrumental in persuading an ailing and increasingly temperamental Henry Royce to loosen his grip on production control and concentrate purely on design projects.

Utilising his immense business acumen and promotional flair,  it was Johnson who dreamed up the iconic ‘Silver Ghost’ moniker and Rolls-Royce flourished to quickly become a template for driving luxury and engineering excellence.