Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.

legal form Limited Company
founding 1998 (1904/1906)
Seat Westhampnett, Chichester , West Sussex United Kingdom
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 
  • GermanyGermanyTorsten Müller-Ötvös
Number of employees 1,300 (2014)
Branch Automobile manufacturer

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. is a British automobile manufacturer in the tradition of Rolls-Royce , whose roots lie in the construction of electrical systems, cranes and the luxurious Rolls-Royce automobiles. The automotive industry has been part of the BMW Group since 2000 .

Company history

Company formation

FH Royce & Co. and CS Rolls & Co.

Henry Royce

In 1884 the engineer Frederick Henry Royce founded the company FH Royce and Co. together with Ernest A. Claremont to build and sell electrical systems. In 1894 this company was renamed Royce Ltd. transformed.

In 1902, Henry Royce replaced his first motor vehicle, a quadricycle , with a used French two-cylinder Decauville 10hp . The car was delivered by train. Royce personally picked up the vehicle. However, he failed to start the Decauville. He was so dissatisfied with the quality of the vehicle that he got permission from his company's board of directors to build three cars of his own design.

On April 1, 1904, Henry Royce drove without problems with the first finished prototype, a Royce 10 hp , as a test drive from the company premises in Manchester to his home in Knutsford, about 25 km away, and back.

Contrary to the legend that Royce wanted to create a particularly quiet vehicle with his first car, FD Nawell, a company neighbor of the Royce plant in Cooke Street, later recalled the test drives of the first Royce car: “Everybody knew when it was coming . " (Eng .:" Everyone knew when it [the car] was getting closer. ")

Royce kept one of the three prototypes himself, the second was driven by Claremont and the third was given to a major Royce shareholder, Mr. Henry Edmunds. Edmunds discussed the positive experience with the Royce 10 hp with his friend Claude Johnson, who was Charles Rolls' business partner . Johnson managed to interest Rolls in Royce and a meeting was arranged through Edmunds.

In January 1903, Rolls founded CS Rolls & Co. in Fulham, one of the first car dealers in Great Britain. His father loaned him the starting capital of £ 6,600. In 1904, when Rolls and Royce met, Rolls imported and sold Minerva (Belgium) and Panhard (France) luxury cars . Since the company was founded, he had been looking for a British car brand that he wanted to include in his range, but the vehicles of the time did not meet his high quality standards.

Royce and Rolls met for the first time on May 4, 1904 at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. At this meeting, Rolls also took a test drive with the brand new Royce 10 hp and was impressed by the quality of the vehicle. Without fixed contracts, Royce began series production of the Royce 10 hp , which was now marketed as the Rolls-Royce 10 hp with a few modifications : the radiator was given the typical "temple shape" and the nameplate was changed. In 1904/1905 17 vehicles of this model were built. The 20 hp was also developed during this period without a contract and built and sold in series as a Rolls-Royce (1904–1906: 37 units).

It was not until December 23, 1904 that a contract was stipulated that had been practiced "with a handshake" for months: CS Rolls & Co. was granted the sole sales rights for all vehicles that Royce Ltd. built. The vehicles were to be sold under the Rolls-Royce name . Rolls' business partner, Claude Johnson, was responsible for contract negotiations on the part of Rolls, and also for the subsequent coordination between sales and production of Rolls-Royce vehicles.

At the Paris Motor Show in December 1904, Rolls-Royce presented its model range for the first time as part of a trade fair.

Merger to form Rolls-Royce Ltd.

Rolls-Royce 10 hp (model 1905)

On March 15, 1906, CS Rolls & Co. and Royce Ltd. merged. to the company Rolls-Royce Ltd. based in Manchester . In November 1906, the first model of this joint company was presented at the Olympia Motor Show in London with the Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp, later known as the "Silver Ghost" (1906–1928: 6173 pieces). It cost £ 305 at the time. The vehicle gave the company a reputation for building the best automobile in the world.

In 1907 the business divisions at Rolls-Royce Ltd. reorganized and redistributed. The auto division was separated from the other divisions (e.g. electrical systems, etc.) by buying out CS Rolls & Co. from these other divisions.

Rolls has been the Technical Managing Director of Rolls-Royce since 1906 , with an annual salary of £ 750 plus a 4% premium for any profits in excess of £ 10,000. Rolls provided the financial backing for the partnership, while Royce provided the technical expertise. At the end of 1909 - his interest in the auto business had cooled - Rolls resigned as Technical Managing Director and became director without a portfolio.

On June 10, 1910, Charles Rolls became the first person to cross the English Channel on a non-stop, return flight. On July 12, 1910, at the age of 32, he was the first British man to die in an air accident. A new tail had been attached to his Wright Biplane two days earlier in France, which now broke off in flight. Rolls was so well known and honored at the time that Lord Montagu of Beaulieu interrupted his speech in the House of Lords to announce the death of Rolls. His partner Henry Royce is said to have never flown himself, including as a designer of aircraft engines.

Since 1911 the Silver Ghost wore the legendary " Spirit of Ecstasy ", a winged female figure , as a hood ornament.

Interwar period

Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp (1923) Pall Mall Torpedo Tourer with bodywork by Brewster

After the First World War, production of the Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp was resumed. This model remained on sale until 1925. From 1922 onwards, the Rolls-Royce 20 hp was offered as a further model , which, as a “small” Rolls-Royce, was primarily intended to appeal to self-propelled customers.

In 1921, Rolls-Royce began building chassis for the US market at its Springfield ( Massachusetts ) subsidiary . The bodies for these chassis manufactured by Rolls-Royce of America were mainly supplied by Brewster & Co. , a long-established body construction company in New York , which had been the brand's sole importer from 1914 and was taken over by Rolls-Royce in 1926. Merrimac also supplied more than 400 - largely standardized - open bodies . Production in the USA ended in 1931 during the economic crisis.

By the mid-1920s, Rolls-Royce automobiles were already a myth; it was associated internationally with celebrities, nobility, glamor and wealth. The German automobile magazine Der Herrenfahrer - Das Blatt vom Auto und other conveniences in life , first published in autumn 1924, dedicated a multi-page series of photos to Rolls-Royce under the title “The King's Car”. The photos showed, among other things

In November 1931, Rolls-Royce bought competitor Bentley for £ 125,175 , which had filed for bankruptcy in July of the same year. The Bentley brand had become known as a manufacturer of expensive sports cars. Rolls-Royce cultivated this reputation by offering sportier models than Bentley, the large Phantom sedans only as Rolls-Royce, and most models as both Rolls-Royce and Bentley, with these dual models being essentially only distinguished by grille, The hood ornament and the brand logos were different.

Henry Royce died on April 22, 1933.

In 1938, the Wraith, the last new model before the start of World War II, was presented. Shortly after the start of the war, production of this variant derived from the Rolls-Royce 25/30 hp - as with the other models - was already discontinued.

Rolls-Royce engines before the Second World War were partly equipped with a gas exchange control using a Knight slide in order to achieve particularly smooth running.

After the Second World War

Relocation of automobile production to Crewe

Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith (1955), body: Pullman limousine

In 1946 automobile production was relocated to Crewe . In the same year, the first new development after the war was presented with the Silver Wraith , while the Phantom III was not offered again. The Silver Dawn , offered from 1949 , was aimed primarily at the American market and was intended as a "self-drive vehicle". An automatic hydramatic transmission from General Motors was available as an option. The Silver Dawn was the first Rolls-Royce model to be offered with a factory body. The Silver Wraith, on the other hand, was also available from 1952 with an extended wheelbase and a partition to the driver.

1950 appeared with the Phantom IV the successor to the representation sedan. With the 5675 cm³ eight-cylinder engine, the Phantom was "sufficiently" motorized.

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud presented in 1955 was identical to the Bentley S presented at the same time , after the previous models had already increasingly converged technically. The displacement of the six-cylinder engines had grown increasingly in recent years and rose from 4,257 cm³ (1946) to 4566 cm³ (1951) to now 4,887 cm³. In the revised Silver Cloud II , which was offered from 1959, a 6,230 cm³ V8 engine was used. This engine, at that time the largest passenger car engine in Europe, was also introduced in the new Phantom V in the same year and was only offered in conjunction with the 4-speed Hydramatic transmission.

A V8 engine with 6250 cm³ was used from 1959, which was enlarged to 6.75 liters displacement in 1970 during the production of the Silver Shadow I. This engine basis was used in the Bentley until 2009, where this unit was further developed and turbocharged and even met the current emission standards. A 6.75-liter engine was also developed for the current Phantom in order to preserve the long 6¾-liter tradition.

The Silver Shadow , presented in 1965, became the brand's stylistically defining model in the following years. The horizontal double headlights were also adopted from the technically related Cabrio Corniche . With its disc brakes on the front wheels, the Silver Shadow also documented technical progress. The Silver Shadow remained in the program as Silver Shadow II until 1980 with small changes . Originally, the Silver Shadow model was supposed to be called Silver Mist , as a coherent further development of the name Silver Cloud . However, this name would not have been suitable for the German market.

Bankruptcy and Takeovers

On February 4, 1971, Rolls-Royce filed for bankruptcy after the development of the Rolls-Royce RB211 , a three-shaft engine for the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar , led to financial difficulties. The British government made great efforts in taxpayers' money to prevent the collapse of the company through nationalization.

Split of automobile and engine production

In 1973 the engine manufacturer was separated from the automobile manufacturer. Since 1973 the automobile manufacturer has operated under the name Rolls-Royce Motor Cars , while the engine manufacturer has been renamed Rolls-Royce plc after reprivatisation in 1987 . was reorganized. The trademark rights to the name Rolls-Royce went to the engine manufacturer. Vickers received the automobile plant and a license to use the Rolls-Royce brand , but no ownership rights to the brand.

Takeover by Volkswagen

In 1997 Vickers wanted to sell the automobile manufacturer again. Everything spoke in favor of BMW , as they were already supplying engines for Rolls-Royce and Bentley . However, BMW was outbid by Volkswagen (VW).

VW paid 1.44 billion marks for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and received the factory in Crewe, the rights to the Rolls-Royce radiator and the hood ornament (" Spirit of Ecstasy "), but not the naming and trademark rights for Rolls -Royce. VW had failed to get Rolls-Royce plc. to negotiate the trademark rights. And after this “brand gap” had been discovered, it was already too late: BMW had already secured the rights. VW also didn't know the true depth of the technical links between BMW and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

VW thus owned the factory and the rights to the radiator and hood ornament, but not the rights to the Rolls-Royce name . It was therefore agreed to separate Rolls-Royce and Bentley from 2003; Volkswagen kept Bentley, the factory and the expertise of the employees. VW boss Ferdinand Piëch later said: "We [...] primarily only wanted Bentley."

As a result, at the end of 2002, after 56 years, the last Rolls-Royce rolled off the assembly line at the Crewe plant.

Incorporation into the BMW Group

BMW took over the right to use the Rolls-Royce brand for 120 million marks, negotiated a transfer of ownership with VW for the rights to the radiator and hood ornament and started a completely new beginning. However, Rolls-Royce plc, which is located in Derby and responsible for aircraft engine construction, remains the owner of the name Rolls-Royce . Vickers ran into economic difficulties only shortly after the sale of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and the separation of the Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands.

Model history

From chassis manufacturer to vehicle manufacturer

Chassis manufacturers and coachbuilders

In 1903, Henry Royce began to manufacture chassis consisting of a frame, engine, gearbox, axles, brakes and wheels. These chassis were then brought to bodybuilders who put the body - body, seats, interior trim, dashboard, windshield wipers, etc. - on.

This restriction to chassis production was by no means unusual, because in the period before the Second World War it was common for buyers of luxury vehicles to purchase a motorized chassis from the vehicle manufacturer, which was then supplied by a specialist body construction company with a body designed according to the customer's wishes was provided. The structure for the first Royce chassis (Royce 10 hp) was made by John Roberts in Hulme.

It also happened that the superstructure of a used vehicle was dismantled and replaced with a new one. This old structure was often refurbished and rebuilt.

Basically, it was up to the chassis customer to choose a body manufacturer. Nonetheless, there were coachbuilders who were chosen particularly frequently by Rolls-Royce customers, such as Hooper & Co. Coachbuilders , Park Ward , and Mulliner . Perhaps the most exclusive coachbuilder for Rolls-Royce chassis was the Hooper carriage company, founded in 1805, which, for example , supplied the carriages for Queen Victoria for over 60 years . Hooper had a number of ruling monarchs on his customer list. Other body manufacturers who regularly clad Rolls-Royce chassis included: a. Barker , Charlesworth , Lancefield , Mayfair , James Young , Offord & Sons, and Rippon . Numerous chassis were provided with different bodies one after the other. Some companies, such as Southern, specialized in cladding older chassis. Foreign body manufacturers also manufacture bodies for local customers. One of them was B. Brandone in Cannes .

The separation of chassis and body manufacturers means that only the chassis number (central document: Rolls-Royce Chassis Card) is decisive for correct identification of a Rolls-Royce, not the body shape.

Body builder owned by Rolls-Royce

In 1921, Rolls-Royce opened a chassis plant in the USA and shortly afterwards also its own body manufacturer. The US chassis were provided with bodies by both the US subsidiary Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work and other companies.

In 1925, Rolls-Royce acquired Brewster, the leading US company in body construction. The company, founded in 1810, was sold again in a management buy-out in 1934 due to falling sales figures in the wake of the global economic crisis .

In 1933, Rolls-Royce took a stake in the coachbuilder Park Ward, founded in 1919 . Park Ward became the body builder of choice for Bentley customers. Rolls-Royce took over the company entirely in 1939.

1959 was HJ Mulliner in London (not to be confused with the coachbuilder Arthur Mulliner from Northampton , who also built Rolls-Royce chassis) by Rolls-Royce. In 1760 Mulliner began building horse-drawn carriages. In 1900 the car body business was started. Mulliner also built the two-seater body for Henry Royce's private Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp (Silver Ghost) in the early 1920s. But it was not until 1928 that bodies for Rolls-Royce chassis were manufactured on a regular basis.

In 1961, Rolls-Royce merged the Park Ward subsidiary with the newly acquired company HJ Mulliner & Co. to form Mulliner Park Ward . The shops were brought together in the factory in Willesden. Mulliner Park Ward handcrafted the bodies for vehicles such as the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud , Rolls-Royce Phantom V and Bentley Continental .

In 1991 the coachbuilder Mulliner Park Ward was closed, which also led to the discontinuation of production of the Phantom models. Today the name is only a marketing term for special versions of Bentley models.

Manufacture of final assembled vehicles

From 1946 Rolls-Royce began to deliver complete cars with production bodies. However, the business with custom-made bodywork continued at Park Ward and later also at HJ Mulliner. The body parts for the series bodies were supplied by Pressed Steel , whereby not only sheet steel but also aluminum was used. The first Group vehicle of this new vehicle production was the Silver-Wraith sister model Bentley Mark VI , which was then marketed as the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn .

In 1996 - still under Vickers management - Rolls-Royce got its own body shop. The contracts with Pressed Steel were terminated. This manufacturing facility later became the property of VW and now manufactures parts for Bentley.

After the takeover by BMW, the production responsibilities were reorganized. Various components of the Phantom are produced at the BMW Group's German locations, such as the V12 engine from the Munich plant. The Rolls-Royce tradition of supplying body parts was also resumed; today the entire body comes from the aluminum competence center at BMW's Dingolfing plant . The aluminum body in space frame construction is welded together by hand at the BMW plant in Dingolfing and delivered to Goodwood, where it is painted.

Model overview


Timeline of the Rolls-Royce models from 1904 to 1939
Type engine Royce Ltd. Rolls-Royce Ltd.
1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s
2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0
Upper class 2-, 3-, 4-cylinder 10 hp , 15 hp , 20 hp
6 cylinder 20 hp "Twenty" 20/25 hp Bentley logo.svg 25/30 hp Bentley logo.svg Wraith Bentley logo.svg
Phantom II Continental
30 hp 40/50 hp "Silver Ghost" 40/50 hp Phantom I. Phantom II
Phantom I (USA)
12 cylinders Phantom III
Armored car 6 cylinders Armored car

Bentley logo.svgModel served as the basis for the Bentley 3½ liter , 4¼ liter and Mark V models

Timeline of the Rolls-Royce models since 1945
Type Body versions independent nationalized Vickers VW BMW
1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0
Upper class limousine Silver Dawn Bentley logo.svg Silver Cloud I, II, III Bentley logo.svg Ghost
Long wheelbase sedan Silver Cloud I, II, III Bentley logo.svg Ghost EWB
Coupe Wraith
Convertible Dawn
Luxury / upper class limousine Silver Wraith Silver Shadow I, II Bentley logo.svg Silver Spirit I, II, III Bentley logo.svg Silver Spirit IV Bentley logo.svg Silver Seraph Bentley logo.svg phantom phantom
Long wheelbase sedan Silver Wraith LWF Silver Shadow EWB Bentley logo.svg Silver Wraith II Bentley logo.svg Silver Spur I, II, III / Flying Spur Bentley logo.svg Silver Spur IV / Silver Dawn II / Park Ward Bentley logo.svg Park Ward Bentley logo.svg Phantom EWB Phantom EWB
Representation limousine Phantom IV Phantom v Phantom VI
Coupe Silver shadow Bentley logo.svg Corniche Bentley logo.svg Phantom Coupe
Convertible Silver shadow Bentley logo.svg Corniche I, II, III, IV Bentley logo.svg Corniche V Bentley logo.svg Phantom Drophead Coupe
SUV Station wagon Cullinan

Bentley logo.svgModel was also offered as a Bentley or was the basis for it

  • Based on Bentley development
  • With BMW engine or BMW technology
  • Models

    In the course of almost 110 years of company history, Rolls-Royce has produced a large number of different models, with only chassis and then complete vehicles being offered until 1949.

    Year of construction (s) Surname particularities
    1903-1904 Royce
    10 hp
    3 Chassis (prototypes / factory car, no free sale)
    One of these prototypes (body / body by John Roberts in Hulme) was presented to Charles Rolls by Henry Royce. The quality convinced Rolls and led to the collaboration with Royce.
    1904-1906 Rolls-Royce
    10 hp
    17 Chassis / price: £ 395/2-cylinder engine with 3-speed gearbox, displacement: 1904–1905 1800 cc, 1906 2000 cc.
    The Royce 10 HP is marketed as the Rolls-Royce 10 HP with minor modifications (e.g. from serial chassis no. 2 with the famous radiator) .
    1904-1906 20 hp 37 Chassis / Price: £ 650/4-cylinder engine:
    1905: 3600 cm³ displacement with 3-speed gearbox, 1905/1906 4000 cm³ displacement with 4-speed gearbox (4th = overdrive)
    1905-1906 15 hp 6 Chassis / Price: £ 500/3 cylinder 3089 cc engine, 3 speed gearbox.
    On the one hand, the engine did not run as smoothly as Henry Royce wanted, on the other hand, because of its technical design, the 15 HP had few parts in common with the other models. Therefore, the model was withdrawn from the range after a short time.
    1905-1906 30 hp 40 Chassis / Price: £ 890/6 cylinder engine with 6177 cc displacement,
    4-speed gearbox: first Rolls-Royce with 4-speed gearbox, 4th gear as overdrive.
    1905-1906 V8 Two vehicle body types: Legal Limit or Legal Limit and Landaulet par excellence
    Parts manufactured for three chassis, but only two chassis assembled / 90 degree V8 engine with 3535 cm³ displacement,
    transmission: 3 forward gears, 1 reverse gear (= first Rolls-Royce with Reverse gear).
    1906-1925 40/50 hp This chassis was known colloquially and by the press as " Silver Ghost " - a name that Rolls-Royce did not use for the chassis series itself, but only for a single vehicle.
    Manufactured in GB and USA: 6173 GB, 1703 USA / 6-cylinder engine with 7036 cm³ displacement, and from 1909 7428 cm³.
    Transmission: 4 forward gears, 1 reverse gear / wheelbase 3442 mm.
    1914-1918 First
    world war
    120 40/50 hp chassis received tank superstructures from a specialist company, and this is how the Rolls-Royce Armored Car was created .
    1922-1938 HP
    Rolls-Royce self-drive models:
    • 1922–1929: 20 hp "Twenty" / wheelbase 3277 mm / 2885 chassis
    • 1929–1936: 20/25 hp / wheelbase 3277 from 1930: 3353 mm / 3827 chassis, best-selling Rolls-Royce model between the world wars
    • 1936–1938: 25/30 hp / wheelbase 3454 mm / 1201 chassis
    1925-1939 Phantom models Rolls Royce Chauffeur Models:
    • 1925–1929: 40/50 hp phantom / wheelbase 3638 mm or 3822 mm / chassis built in GB and USA: 2269 GB, 1243 USA
      Successor to the 40/50 hp, which had the same frame and many identical parts as its predecessor. To distinguish it, the “new” 40/50 hp chassis was given the additional designation “Phantom” by the factory.
    • 1929–1936: Phantom II / wheelbase 3657 mm or 3810 mm / 1680 chassis The
      last chassis, the development of which was completely under the control of F. Henry Royce himself, from the first draft to completion.
    • 1936–1939: Phantom III / wheelbase 3606 mm / 727 chassis
      First Rolls-Royce chassis with V12 engine, displacement: 7,338 cc.
    1938-1939 25/30 hp
    Wraith I.
    Wheelbase 3454 mm / 491 chassis
    The Wraith-I chassis was a modified version of the 25/30 hp chassis.
    The role of the self-propelled models was assigned to the Bentleys (mainly in the form of sports versions).
    1939-1945 Second
    world war
    The chassis production was discontinued.
    1946-1959 Silver
    The pre-war Wraith chassis was technically revised and offered in variants. The modified Wraith chassis was renamed "Silver Wraith" to distinguish it from the pre-war Wraith. It was the last major chassis series that received almost exclusively the body from body builders:
    • 1951–1959: Silver Wraith LWB / long version (LongWheelBase) / wheelbase 3378 mm / 639 chassis
    • 1946–1959: Silver Wraith / basic version / wheelbase 3226 mm / 1244 chassis
    1949-1955 Silver Dawn First complete vehicle from the Rolls-Royce brand

    After the war, Rolls-Royce began developing its own factory standard body (called “Standard Steel” or “Standard Steel Body”). This first developed series of vehicles used a modified Silver-Wraith chassis, which was fitted with the standard steel body at the factory so that complete vehicles could be delivered. The resulting first complete vehicle was not marketed as a Rolls-Royce, but as a Bentley ( Bentley Mark VI 1946–1952).
    No in-house body production: Rolls-Royce did not manufacture the body parts itself, but bought them from Pressed Steel (later renamed Pressed Steel Fisher).
    After the production process of the Bentley Mark VI was under control, it was marketed as the export model Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn (1949–1953 was only offered for export). The differences to the Bentley were minor (RR radiator with RR emblem, modified bonnet and changed instrument layout).

    • 1949–1955: Silver Dawn / wheelbase 3048 mm / 64 chassis + 693 with standard steel body
    1950-1992 phantom Series production of the exclusive representative limousine was resumed. The body of the Phantom models was mostly handcrafted by Park-Ward.
    • 1950–1956: Phantom IV / wheelbase 3683 mm / 17 + 1 chassis
      This chassis (technical basis of the Silver Wraith) was only intended for members of ruling aristocratic houses or heads of state (superstructures for 16 of the 17 chassis from Hooper).

    The technical basis of the Phantom V and VI was the Silver Cloud. The chassis received their structure as hand-hammered bodies mainly from Park Ward or Mulliner Park Ward. Variants:

    • 1959–1968: Phantom V / 3683 mm wheelbase / 516 chassis built
    • 1968–1992: Phantom VI / 3683 mm wheelbase / 374 chassis built
    1955-1966 Silver
    After the test run of the Bentley Mark VI and Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, a standard steel body was offered for the new Silver Cloud from the start of production. Variants:
    • 1955–1959: Silver Cloud :
      • Long version: 36 chassis + 86 with standard steel body /// Basic version: 121 chassis + 2117 with standard steel body

    Sister version Bentley S1

    • 1959–1962: Silver Cloud II :
      • Long version: 81 chassis + 218 with standard steel body /// Basic version: 107 chassis + 2311 with standard steel body

    Sister versions Bentley S2 and from it developed Bentley S3

    • 1962–1965 / 66: Silver Cloud III :
      • Long version: 47 chassis + 207 with standard steel body /// Basic version: 328 chassis + 2227 with standard steel body
    1965-1977 Silver
    Shadow I.
    The Silver Shadow was the first Rolls-Royce to have a self-supporting body, independent wheel suspension all around, automatic level control and disc brakes on all four wheels.
    The Rolls-Royce tradition of chassis production with subsequent body construction was thus ended.
    Compared to its predecessors, the elimination of a separate chassis offered better conditions for a spacious passenger cell, better access to a trunk with considerable storage capacity - and the height and weight of the car could be reduced.
    The body parts were still not manufactured in-house, but supplied by Pressed Steel.

    Top model: Silver Shadow floor pan and body design by Pininfarina:

    • 1975–1991: Camargue / 525 vehicles as Rolls-Royce and a copy that was delivered as a Bentley at the customer's request

    Sister version Bentley T1 and from it developed Bentley Corniche

    1971-1996 Corniche

    From 1971: Special 2-door variant: Chassis: Silver Shadow, Body: Mulliner Park Ward (mostly handcrafted):

    Sister versions: Bentley Corniche (1971–1984), Bentley Continental (1984–1994)

    1977-1980 Silver
    Shadow II
    • 1977–1980: Silver Wraith II / long version (version of the Silver Shadow II extended by 10 cm) / 2145 vehicles
    • 1977–1980: Silver Shadow II / basic version / 8425 vehicles

    Sister version Bentley T2

    1980-1995 Silver
    • 1980–1989: Silver Spirit I :
      • 1982–1988: Silver Spur Sedan / special long versions / extended 14 = 1 vehicle, ext. 36 = 16 vehicles, ext. 42 = 84 vehicles
      • 1981–1989: Silver Spur I / standard long version (10 cm extended version of the Silver Spirit) / 6238 vehicles
      • 1980–1989: Silver Spirit I / basic version / 8129 vehicles
      • 1984: Silver Spur Centenary / limited special version / 25 vehicles free sale, one vehicle for the factory museum
    • 1989–1993: Silver Spirit II :
      • 1989–1993: Silver Spur II / standard long version (10 cm extended version of the Silver Spirit) / 1658 vehicles
      • 1989–1993: Silver Spirit II / basic version / 1152 vehicles
    • 1993–1994: Silver Spirit III :
      • 1993–1994: Silver Spur III Touring Sedan / Special long version (wheelbase 3772 mm) After the production of the premium representation model Phantom (1992) was discontinued, a replacement was needed, which was provided by the Touring Sedan (as some believe insufficiently) .
      • 1994–1995: Flying Spur / Turbo standard long version / wheelbase 3161 mm / 134 vehicles (first Rolls-Royce model with turbocharger)
      • 1993–1994: Silver Spur III / standard long version / wheelbase 3161 mm / 430 vehicles (number = including touring sedans)
      • 1993–1994: Silver Spirit III / basic version / wheelbase 3061 mm / 211 vehicles
    1995-1998 New
    Silver Spirit
    (BMW engine)
    From 1994, the models in the series received an engine that had been developed in cooperation with BMW. This model range is also known as the "New" range, since the names of the vehicles began with "New":
    • 1995–1998: New Silver Spur Touring Sedan / special long version / wheelbase 3772 mm
    • 1995–1998: New Silver Spur / standard long version / wheelbase 3161 mm / 507 vehicles (number = including touring sedans)
    • 1995: New Silver Spirit / basic version / wheelbase 3061 mm / 122 vehicles (discontinued in favor of the "Silver Dawn")
    • 1994–1998: New Silver Dawn / basic version / wheelbase 3061 mm / 237 vehicles

    Separated as a model with its own name:

    1998-2002 Silver
    New vehicle series that was still developed by Rolls-Royce under Vickers ownership, but was manufactured under VW management from 1998.
    For the first time, the body was also manufactured in-house for this vehicle (for the other models, the body shells were manufactured and supplied by Pressed Steel Fisher).
    • 2000–2002: Park Ward / long version / length 5640 mm / 127 vehicles
    • 1998–2002: Silver Seraph / basic version / length 5390 mm / 1570 vehicles
    • 2000–2002: Corniche / convertible version / length 5405 mm / 374 vehicles
    2003-2017 phantom First Rolls-Royce model series from BMW planning and production
    The traditional name Phantom is used again (Phantom I 1925 / in order this model series is Phantom VII):
    • since 2006: Phantom Limousine EWB / Extended Wheel Base / long version / wheel base 3820 mm / length 6090 mm
    • since 2003: Phantom sedan / basic version / wheelbase 3570 mm / length 5840 mm
    • since 2008: Phantom Coupé / Coupé version / wheelbase 3320 mm / length 5612 mm
    • since 2007: Phantom Drophead Coupé / convertible version / wheelbase 3320 mm / length 5609 mm

    Model revision / affects all four variants:

    Motor for all phantom types: BMW N73 (V12 / 6749 cc / 338 kW @ 5350 min -1 )

    since 2009 Ghost Self-propelled model range:
    • since 2011: Ghost Limousine EWB / Extended Wheel Base / wheelbase 3465 mm / length 5569 mm
    • since 2009: Ghost sedan / basic version / wheelbase 3295 mm / length 5399 mm

    Engine for both types: BMW N74 (V12 / 6592 cm³ / 420 kW @ 5250 min −1 )

    since 2013 Wraith Self-propelled model series based on the Rolls-Royce Ghost
    The traditional name Wraith is used again (first Wraith 1938 - this model series actually Wraith II):
    • since 2013: Wraith / Coupé version (basic version / sedan Rolls-Royce Ghost) / wheelbase 3110 mm / length 5270 mm

    Engine: (V12 twin turbo / 6.6 liters / 632 PS)

    since 2018 phantom "Architecture of Luxury" aluminum space frame
    "The quietest automobile in the world"
    Engine: V12 twin turbo / 6.75 liters / 571 hp
    from 2018 Cullinan "Architecture of Luxury" aluminum space frame
    "First SUV of the brand"
    Engine: V12 twin turbo / 6.75 liters / 571 PS

    Until 1998, Rolls-Royce refused to provide information on engine performance and, at least in England, contented itself with the fact that there was "sufficient" performance. In Germany, a performance specification has always been part of the vehicle registration document, even though this information was only based on personal estimates by the respective TÜV test engineer.

    Current models

    Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe at the IAA 2007
    Rolls-Royce Cullinan at the Geneva Motor Show 2019

    In 2003, BMW presented the first self-developed Rolls-Royce after the takeover. The Phantom model also has a newly developed 6.75 liter V12 engine.

    The interior was revised in 2005 and, among other things, supplemented by the "Division Wall Package". In addition to the already generous features such as an umbrella in the door, a DVD and TV entertainment system that can be folded out of the headliner is now also available as standard. In addition, if the driver orders the optional cutting disc, they can talk to the driver using a folding module. As before, most vehicles leave the factory with very individual extras beyond the standard equipment.

    Production of the Phantom Drophead Coupé started in summer 2007 . The convertible version of the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the 100EX , was the first concept study after the takeover of Rolls-Royce by BMW . The open two-door model is based on an aluminum space frame and has four seats. The engine is taken over by the closed phantom. The price starts at around 440,000 euros.

    Another model went into production in November 2009, the Ghost . At 5.40 m in length, the Ghost is slightly smaller and, with an announced purchase price of around 200,000 euros, cheaper than the Phantom model series.

    BMW calculated about 1,000 sales per year in 2002 - only a third of the record sales year 1978, in which 3,357 vehicles were sold. Sales started sluggishly. In 2003 about 300 cars were sold; In 2005 there were 796 copies. In 2009, the originally targeted sales figures of 1002 vehicles were achieved. In 2010, the market launch of the Ghost increased sales to 2,711 vehicles.

    In 2011, the record year 1978 was exceeded: 3,538 vehicles were sold, which corresponds to an increase of 31%. The most important model was the Ghost with 2,720 sales. 818 vehicles of the considerably more expensive Phantom were sold, of which 537 were sedan and 281 were coupé (including convertible).

    Special bodies

    Body type Sedanca de Ville

    1934 Sedanca de Ville: The roof over the driver's area is removable

    In the Sedanca de Ville body shape , the driver's compartment is equipped with a removable roof, while the passengers sit in a closed passenger compartment. This vehicle form is intended as a pure city car, hence the name part "de Ville". From the livery of the driver it was possible to see the rank of the passengers. Right of way was regulated at the royal courts on official occasions, which is why the open driver's area was helpful.

    The name Sedanca is a combination of Sedan (from Latin sedere = to sit) and the name of Count Carlos de Salamanca , the Rolls-Royce importer for Spain, who was the first to order this type of vehicle.

    Rolls-Royce Armored Car

    Rolls-Royce 1920 Pattern Mark 1

    At the beginning of World War I, all Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP chassis were requisitioned by the British Army. The chassis were given a tank structure and the engines were modified to 80 HP. The first three test vehicles reached the front on December 3, 1914, and Rolls-Royce Armored Cars were in regular use from April 1915 .

    The 4.7 ton vehicle reached a top speed of 72 km / h in favorable road conditions. In 1917 production was stopped after a total of 120 vehicles, because Rolls-Royce was to concentrate entirely on aircraft engine construction.

    During the First World War, the armored cars were first used in France on the Western Front. However, they turned out to be unsuitable in the local area because they constantly got stuck in the mud. As a result, the armored cars were mainly used in Africa. After the First World War, the British Army handed 13 vehicles over to the Irish government forces. This she used in the Irish Civil War (1922-1923) against the IRA .

    At the beginning of the Second World War, 76 of these vehicles were still in use. In 1941 they were withdrawn from the Africa front because of the outdated armor.

    Production facilities

    Manchester (1903-1908)

    The Royce plant on Cooke Street in Manchester was the first production facility for Royce and Rolls-Royce automobiles, but as production grew it proved to be too small.

    Derby (1908-1941)

    The Rolls-Royce factory on Nightingale Road, Derby, officially opened on July 9, 1908. The factory premises also had a test track.

    Springfield, Massachusetts (1921-1934)

    In 1921, Rolls-Royce began producing chassis in the USA . For this purpose there was a branch in Springfield , Massachusetts . A total of 1,703 Silver Ghosts were produced there until 1926 and 1,243 Phantom I from 1926–1931 .

    Crewe (1946-2002)

    To meet the demand for Merlin aircraft engines, Rolls-Royce built a new factory in Crewe. Construction began in May 1938; the first engines were delivered in 1939.

    In 1941 the production of civilian vehicle chassis at Rolls-Royce was discontinued because of the Second World War. After the war, vehicle production was no longer started in Derby and instead relocated to Crewe. Aircraft turbines were now being built at the Derby plant.

    The vehicle production halls today belong to the VW Group and are used for the production of the Bentley brand.

    Goodwood (since 2003)

    Rolls Royce vehicles at Turkmenistan Independence Day 2011

    After BMW bought the trademark rights to Rolls-Royce, the company needed a new production facility. For future production, BMW bought a plot of land about 10 kilometers northeast of Chichester in West Sussex near Goodwood House and the Goodwood Circuit , after which the plant is named. Initially, a factory for 380 employees with a production capacity of 1,000 vehicles per year was planned. BMW hired the architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw , who had also coordinated the Eden Project . The aim was to integrate the building complex into the landscape as well as possible. For this purpose, Grimshaw created a system that was built deeper and equipped with a 35,000 square meter grass roof. As a result, the buildings can hardly be seen from the street.

    In 2003, Rolls-Royce production started at the newly built Goodwood plant. On the one hand, the most modern high-end technology is created in the plant, on the other hand, emphasis is placed in certain departments on classic body-building tradition with manual work.

    Final assembly and customization also takes place at the Goodwood plant. After VW took over the Crewe plant and the employees there for the manufacture of Bentley vehicles , a new team of highly qualified craftsmen (saddlers for leatherworking, cabinet makers for woodworking etc.) had to be set up in Goodwood. The workforce now consists of 800 people who produce around 18 automobiles a day (as of February 2016).

    BMW intends to make further use of its know-how for the production of high-quality vehicle interiors. In the future, vehicles from the Mini brand, which also belongs to BMW, are to be fitted with high-quality interiors in Goodwood .



    Rolls-Royce cooler in the shape of a temple

    At the Annual Manchester Motor Show in March, Abel Blackburn & Co. from Cleckheaton presented their “Norfolk” car model. Presumably Henry Royce also attended this show. The Norfolk had a radiator grille that inherits a peculiarity of the architecture of Greek temples, especially the Parthenon : Since the columns look like they are sunken, the columns are bent outwards slightly; Due to this slight swelling, the temple appears stable and straight, which is why the Rolls-Royce radiator grille is built with the help of this effect. This Norfolk grill looked very similar to the later Rolls-Royce cooler. The first Rolls-Royce temple radiator was not manufactured until August 1904. A principle of Henry Royce makes this inspiration seem entirely possible: "A good way to proceed was to take the best and improve it". (Eng. "A good practice was to take the best and improve it".)

    The historical view of the trade press: "With respect to the Royce (of Rolls-Royce) radiator grille, historians have noted the general similarity in design with the little-known Norfolk car of the time". (Eng .: With regard to the Royce grille, historians have noted that it is basically identical to the design of the Norfolk cars of the time.)

    Rolls-Royce presented the model range at a trade fair for the first time in December 1904 at the Paris Motor Show. The cooler was presented in the elaborately built classic Greek temple shape.

    The tympanum cooler has also been a registered trademark of Rolls-Royce since 1974.

    Brand emblem

    In January 1905, CS Rolls & Co. published the first catalog of Rolls-Royce automobiles. The intertwined RR emblem was seen for the first time on the cover picture. The color was initially red.

    In 1933 Henry Royce gave instructions to permanently change the font color of the letters "RR" in the Rolls-Royce symbol from red to black. This change came due to numerous complaints from high-ranking customers (including the Prince of Wales) that the red did not harmonize with some car colors. Black was chosen because it seemed suitable for all colors. The myth that this color change was made due to the death of Henry Royce (1933) contradicts the given facts.

    In 1979, 225 special models of the Silver Shadow II series with an emblem in red font were sold for the 75th anniversary of the company's founding . In 1995, the 25 special models of the Corniche S had the emblem in red.

    Hood ornament "The Spirit of Ecstasy"

    The idea for the hood ornament as such is attributed to Lord Montagu, who screwed a Christophorus, the patron saint of motorists, onto his radiator as early as 1899. Until then, no manufacturer had used hood ornaments. Since 1911, adorns the grill of most Rolls-Royce, the winged hood ornament Spirit of Ecstasy (a few vehicles, such as the British royal family, are provided with other mascots).

    Henry Royce himself rejected hood ornaments and did not use hood ornaments for his personal cars. In his opinion, they disrupted the line of the vehicle and the driver's field of vision. Still, they were very popular at the time.

    The editor of The Car , Lord John Walter Edward-Scott-Montagu, had the sculptor Charles Sykes designed a hood ornament for his private Rolls-Royce. The model for the figure was Lord Montagu's lover, Eleanor Velasco Thornton . The idea became popular and took off, so Lord Montagu arranged for Rolls-Royce (while Henry Royce was in the hospital) to hire the sculptor to create a hood ornament. Rolls-Royce called it the Spirit of Ecstasy .

    At the end of the 1920s, the superstructures had become lower and lower. Royce now commissioned a kneeling version of the figure, which in turn modeled Charles Sykes. This kneeling version no longer disrupted the driver's field of vision as permanently. The kneeling version was used in the Silver Wraith and as the last model in the Silver Dawn until after the Second World War. Then the standing version was used again, but in a smaller form compared to the original from 1911.

    The figure was made in the Sykes studios until 1948, when Rolls-Royce took over its production itself. The lost wax process was continued until 1950. With his discontinuation, the figure's individual signatures were also abolished.


    • Edward Eves: Rolls-Royce: 80 years of motoring excellence. Orbis Books, London 1985, ISBN 0-85613-647-6 .
    • Peter Pugh: The magic of a name. Icon Books, Duxford 2001 (Vol. 1-2).
    • Klaus-Josef Roßfeldt: The history of the Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands. Brinckmann, Sonsbeck 1981.
    • Klaus-Josef Roßfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley. All types. History - data - facts. BLV-Verlag, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-405-13741-1 .
    • Klaus-Josef Roßfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles. From the beginning of the century into the new millennium. Roßfeldt, Schwerte 1998, ISBN 3-00-004434-5 .
    • Jonathan Wood: Spirit of excellence. Königswinter: Heel, 2003, ISBN 3-89880-106-3 .
    • Peter Mansfeld, photos: Ian Berry, Reinhart Wolf: Rolls-Royce: An Empire on four wheels. In: Geo-Magazin. Hamburg 1980,9, pp 112-132. Informative experience report. ISSN  0342-8311

    Web links

    Commons : Rolls-Royce  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Contact Rolls-Royce. Retrieved June 23, 2020 (American English).
    2. Rolls Royce Cars In: , accessed January 22, 2017
    3. a b RREC: The Three Royce Prototype Cars: 1904
    4. RREC chapter Early car manufacture in Manchester ( Memento of March 8, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
    5. ↑ Course of the accident + photos
    6. Aero
    7. The gentleman driver was published by Almanach Kunstverlag, Berlin. Quoted here from issue 1, 1924, p. 4ff
    8. Sultan Ibrahim is meant here.
    9. ^ Encyclopedia of the Automobile. Weltbildverlag, 1994, p. 355.
    10. Roger Gloor: Post-War Car - Passenger Cars 1945-1960. P. 320
    11. Niels Klußmann, Arnim Malik: Lexikon der Luftfahrt , p. 447. ISBN 3-540-49096-5 ( preview in the Google book search, accessed on February 3, 2011)
    12. Ulrich Viehöver: ROLLS-ROYCE - Fighters and Sieger In: Focus Magazin, No. 32 (1998) , August 3, 1998.
    13. Heinz Horrmann: You may speculate about a merger In: Die Welt , August 1, 1998.
    14. The Rolls-Royce Photo Archive In:
    15. dark force: The Coach Builders
    16. RRAB
    17. Coachbuilder
    18. Chassis register ( Memento of the original from September 4, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
    19. ^ A b Brewster & Co In:
    20. RROC ( Memento of the original from October 6, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
    21. THE NEW ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM. Retrieved October 6, 2017 .
    22. Huffington Post - ( January 14, 2011 memento on the Internet Archive )
    23. BMW Annual Report Archived copy ( Memento from January 19, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
    24. thisisderbyshire: The day Rolls and Royce opted to make horseless carriages in Derby
    25. ^ Rolls-Royce factory goes green (Eng.) The Telegraph; Retrieved November 27, 2011
    26. ^ Autocar UK
    27. No. 37 Abel Blackburn  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
    28. RREC chapter Down to business ( Memento of March 8, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
    29. Dark Force: Some Interesting Facts
    30. Darkforce: Rolls-Royce 20 hp
    31. content4reprint: A Brief History Of Rolls-Royce
    32. rollsroyceclub: Tee One Topics (page 51) ( Memento from September 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.1 MB)
    33. Jump up hemmings: Sir Frederick Henry Royce
    34. ^ British Cars ( Memento of December 23, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
    35. Automobil + Motorrad Chronik, issue 2/1980, p. 8.
    36. rrsilvershadow: Rolls-Royce Corniche S
    37. carsablanca: Spirit of Extasy - The story behind the hood ornament ( Memento from September 19, 2009 in the Internet Archive )

    Coordinates: 51 ° 24 ′ 31 ″  N , 0 ° 46 ′ 21.4 ″  W.