Rolls-Royce built the famous Silver Ghost from 1907 until 1926 and few can argue with its supremacy as the "Best Car in the World" before The Great War of 1914-18.
The combination of beauty, speed, silence, reliability, longevity and comfort were unmatched and in the minds of many, remains so to this day.
On that magnificent chassis, one style of coachwork stands out as the most unique and graceful of all: the mahogany skiffs by the Paris coachbbuilding firm of Henri Labourdette.
Inspired by racing boats, Labourdette pioneered the radical skiff body design on a Panhard et Levassor in 1913.
By the end of that year he had built two on Silver Ghosts.
Layers of rich mahogany joinery were fastened to an ash framework with flush copper rivets to create a lightweight torpedo body with exceptional strength and very low wind resistance for the period.
Brightly varnished and lacking doors of any kind (step plates and adjustable handles were used to get over and into the body like a boat), the sleek and graceful motorcars appealed to the top down, wind-in-your-face, sporting set with large resources of cash.
Although Labourdette may be best known for his work on Hispano-Suiza in the twenties, the Silver Ghost Alpine Skiff is considered by many to be his finest and certainly one of the most beautiful Rolls-Royce ever built.
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