In the context of its day, a Silver Ghost was a truly awe-inspiring sight. Today, it remains the most influential automobile from the earliest days of motoring. At a time when many had not seen ? let alone owned ? an automobile, here was a truly majestic creation.
Frederick Henry Royce was an incomparable engineer; the Silver Ghost offered the power and refinement of a six from the very beginning. More than that, its abundant torque and virtually silent operation astounded anyone fortunate enough to drive one.
If the performance of the Silver Ghost was startling, it was the legendary quality of the Rolls-Royce that made its owners happy and kept them coming back. The history of the automobile is littered with good products that failed in the market, and it was here that the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls made his contribution. A consummate marketer, he was also an automotive enthusiast, racecar driver and an aviator. Rolls understood the publicity that would follow from success in competition, and he set about promoting the new Silver Ghost in the world's most important automobile events.
The Tourist Trophy Race was one of the most prestigious events of the era and was won by Rolls and Royce in commanding fashion in 1906, when the pair beat their nearest competition by 27 minutes. This was followed by the famous 15,000-mile reliability run of 1907, where the original Silver Ghost finished the event and required only minor work to restore it to as-new specification. There was also the grueling Austrian Alpine Trials where the Silver Ghosts dominated their competition and plowed over Alpine passes that had proven impassable by lesser cars.
At the same time, Rolls demonstrated an early grasp of the concept of product placement. The company supplied cars to the British royal family and, in so doing, cemented the image of the marque among England's high society.
An original 'Alpine Eagle'-specification chassis, 50UG was fitted with the higher compression engine, higher speed gearing and 'D' rake steering and levers. The car was off test on September 3, 1921 and immediately sent to Hooper & Co. where a Touring Phaeton body was fitted. It was finished in ivory with a black chassis, under-fenders and wheels, as well as apple green leather.
According to noted Silver Ghost expert and author John Fasal, 50UG was built for Rolls-Royce of Bombay and shipped on board the S.S. 'Nankin' together with a Barker Cabriolet (126 AG) on November 4th, 1921 for the Calcutta Motor Show.
At the Motor Show, 50UG was acquired by H.H. the Maharajah of Charkhari. On March 31, 1926, factory records indicate that His Highness returned the car to the factory, where the car's stunning polished alloy Torpedo Phaeton coachwork was constructed by Barker and installed.
The car was discovered years ago, still in India and still wearing its period Barker polished alloy coachwork, showing approximately 10,000 miles on its odometer.
The prior owner acquired 50UG in 1990 and immediately commissioned D&D Restorations to undertake a complete restoration. The quality of the car was such that, during the restoration, no panel replacement was required. As a result, it required nothing more than a thorough polishing to restore it to its former luster. After completion of the restoration in 1995, the car was triumphantly shown at a number of events, where it never failed to win.
In early 2007, the late John M. O'Quinn acquired the Silver Ghost, and it joined his very large and diverse private automobile collection. In 2010 the car was put up for auction by RM Auctions.
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