The Rolls Royce owner's annual reunion took place in San Diego this year. This event is quite unique in the automotive world. The brand is perhaps the epitome of luxury on wheels, but further than that, it is a car built like no other. What started in 1906 continues today, making the best automobile on the road.
By the early twenties, Mr. Rolls and Mr. Royce delivered cars that excelled in engineering, reliability, and comfort. They used the best materials available, and a group of artisans assembled each vehicle. Rolls Royce cars were not for everyone as the cost was higher than other cars. In a short time, the cars became popular with royalty and the rich worldwide. Demanding customers, to say the least. I was able to check a few of these hundred years old cars at the meet. Not only that but riding in a Silver Ghost 1923 confirmed why these cars are so unique.
The engines have always been powerful and smooth. So quiet when running that you can barely hear them. So the "ghost" name came from the car moving in silence as a ghost does. The first Rolls Royce model 40/50 came with a seven-liter six-cylinder engine and was painted with aluminum paint. It look like it was made of silver. The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost is the longest-running model in history. You can still order one today.
Thanks to Doug and Mary White, who drove the car from Winston-Salem, NC, I had the experience of driving around town in their beloved Silver Ghost. A beautiful open-top example of a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer that they have been putting miles on it like it was a new car. The smoothness and quietness as we rode were surprising. The comfortable seat is better than many cars of today. The big car kept up with traffic, and I noticed that once in the higher gear, the powerful motor had plenty of torque to accelerate without a single hiccup. I have driven 100-year-old cars, and they felt old. The Rolls Royce on the other hand was amazing, considering a century of use.
Courtesy of Gerry Spahn, from the British maker, I also sample the new Silver Ghost. And If I thought that the 1923 car was terrific, I have no words to describe the latest version. The company continues with the premise of offering a special ambiance for the people in the car. Once inside, it is obvious you are in a different type of vehicle. The textures, the colors, the simple yet elegant dash, and the huge seats are beyond what we call a "luxury" car today. You are experiencing something different. And every car is custom made to order. Still assembled mainly by hand and with limitless resources to create unique interiors, the Silver Ghost continues to be at the top of the ladder for the most demanding customers. That you can even select the constellation of stars that feature on your headliner is quite a level of customization (requiring about 1500 perforations on the leather).
The exterior also remains true to its DNA. The prominent rectangular radiator grille remains as well as the iconic flying lady on top of the hood. If you could not find a color you like among the 40,000 to choose from, the company can willingly create a hue of your own. The Silver Ghost is a big car. When you are next to it, everything else seems to have shrunk. That is the only thing that I had to adjust to driving it. On a small windy road, the car lets you know that it is pretty wide, and the flying lady is way out in the front. In terms of performance, the car surpasses my expectations. The Silver ghost now has double the number of cylinders (V12) and a thousand percent more power (563 HP), making it drive effortless at any speed. You must remind yourself that there is a transmission because the shifting happens without any sensitive feel.
The latest technology works hard behind the scene in a new Rolls Royce. Only a few knobs and switches for your basic needs, which, once set, you probably never touch again. The car's rear space is perhaps the best place to be in this car. Once sitting there, you can completely isolate yourself from the world in the pure comfort of a massage chair and the best entertainment system on the market.
Owning a Rolls Royce goes beyond car ownership. The reunion shows the camaraderie and enthusiasm among the members to keep all the cars running regardless of vintage. They are part of the history of the brand. You could make hundreds of biography books with the owners and their stories. I suggest you find out more about the history of the marquee. You will then appreciate this icon in a special way.