'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB
Lot 234
1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer
Sold for £550,300 (US$ 735,562) inc. premium

Lot Details
'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB 'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930),1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer  Chassis no. 64 AB
'The Rolls from Rajputana' Formerly the property of His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, G.C.S.I. (1849-1930)
1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer
Registration no. EL1208
Chassis no. 64 AB
*First owned by Indian royalty
*Known subsequent ownership
*Extensively restored in recent years
*Coachwork in the style of Cann & Co
*The ultimate in Edwardian motoring

Footnotes

  • 'The directors were obviously as impressed with the car as the public were when they first saw it displayed... the company's future, based upon Royce's intuitive design genius and the uncompromising standards of workmanship he set, clearly lay in the rapidly expanding area of luxury cars...' – Edward Eves, 'Rolls-Royce, 75 Years of Motoring Excellence'.

    Although the 40/50hp model would in any event have earned its 'The Best Car in the World' sobriquet (actually first used by the Pall Mall Gazette in November 1911), Rolls-Royce's decision to drop all other types only served to focus attention on what would become known as the 'Silver Ghost'. Prior to 1908, when it relocated to a new factory in Derby, the company founded by engineer Frederick Henry Royce and entrepreneur the Honourable Charles Stewart Rolls had manufactured a variety of models at its Manchester premises. Cars with two, three, four and six cylinders were made, and even an abortive V8, before Managing Director Claude Johnson's decision to concentrate on the range-topping 40/50hp. The latter had first appeared at the 1906 London Motor Show and became known as the 'Silver Ghost' the following year when chassis number '60551' was exhibited wearing silver-painted tourer coachwork by Barker & Co.

    The heart of the Silver Ghost was its magnificent engine, a 7,036cc (later 7,428cc) sidevalve six equipped with seven-bearing crankshaft and pressure lubrication. A sturdy chassis comprised of channel-section side members and tubular cross members was suspended on semi-elliptic springs at the front and a 'platform' leaf spring arrangement at the rear, though the latter soon came in for revision. The transmission too was soon changed, a three-speed gearbox with direct-drive top gear replacing the original four-speed/overdrive top unit in 1909. In the course of its 20-year production life there would be countless other improvements to the car, one of the most important being the adoption of servo-assisted four-wheel brakes towards the end of 1923.

    After a successful 2,000-mile trial under RAC supervision, the factory demonstrator - chassis '60551', 'The Silver Ghost' - was entered in the 1907 Scottish Reliability Trial, completing the 15,000-mile run with flying colours to set a new World Record. From then on the car's reputation was assured, not the least in North America where the wide-open spaces placed a premium on reliability and comfort. Royce's uncompromising engineering standards demanded only excellence of his staff in Manchester and later Derby, and no chassis was delivered until it had been rigorously tested.

    Rigorous testing continued to be undertaken publicly too in the interests of promoting sales, the next such enterprise being chief test driver Ernest W Hives' legendary journey in September 1911 from London to Edinburgh using top gear only. Rivals Napier had just completed a similar stunt, and Rolls-Royce felt obliged to rise to the challenge. Hives' Silver Ghost averaged a remarkable 24.32 miles per gallon over the 400-mile journey and on its completion was taken to the Brooklands racetrack where it was timed at 78.26mph. That car, chassis '1701', incorporated under-slung cantilever rear springs and an engine upgraded with increased compression ratio and a larger carburettor, while the lightweight sports-tourer 'torpedo' coachwork was by Holmes & Co of Derby. Orders for replica London-to-Edinburgh models poured in.

    The Silver Ghost remained in production in England until 1925, 6,173 being completed at the Manchester and Derby factories, and until 1926 at Rolls-Royce's Springfield plant in the USA where a further 1,703 were made, the longest production run of any model from this celebrated company.

    This magnificent Derby-built Silver Ghost, chassis number '64AB', was ordered in 1913 by His Highness the Maharana Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur. Right from the start, the Maharajahs of India (the honorific means 'Great King') had been enthusiastic Rolls-Royce customers, but the ruler of Udaipur rejoiced in the title of 'Maharana' - 'King of Kings' - which set him in a class apart. Born in December 1849, Fateh Singh Bahadur was descended from a dynasty that had ruled territory in the state of Rajputana (now Rajasthan) on and off for some 1,400 years. With his capital in the beautiful city of Udaipur - the 'Venice of the East' - Fateh Singh governed an area around half the size of France, so his hubris in refusing to attend the Delhi Durbars of 1903 and 1911 - held by the British to mark the succession of an Emperor of India - is perhaps understandable. However, his refusal in 1921 to receive the Prince of Wales, sending his son instead, was seen as an affront too far; he was deposed by the British but allowed to retain his title, with effective power passing to his son, Bhupal Singh.

    Constructed on the colonial (high ground clearance) chassis, the Maharana's Silver Ghost had been first tested on 27th January 1914, and was completed with 'torpedo' coachwork by Hooper & Co, London-based carriage makers to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII and arguably the finest of all British coachbuilders. After the Maharana was deposed, the Rolls-Royce went to Lahore in West Pakistan where it was owned by a Mr R J Baker. The Ghost was later taken to Scotland (at date unknown) where it belonged to one John Kerr, and by 1975 was in South Africa owned by Dirk du Toit of the eponymous dynasty of racing drivers. In 1979, the car returned to the UK where it remained in the ownership of Mr R E May of Abingdon until the late 1990s.

    The original Hooper body had been replaced in 1941 with a Maythorn limousine body, and Mr Du Toit fitted an open-top tourer body from a 1930s Studebaker. A decade ago, when the Silver Ghost was acquired by its current owner - Mr Terry Lister of the Lister chain of motor dealers - a 'last nut and bolt' rebuild was commissioned, the work being entrusted to some of the most respected craftsmen in the industry. Commencing in September 2009, Steve Penny of Banbury constructed a new body in the style of Cann & Co of Camden Town, while in 2012 the car was sent to renowned coach-trimmer, Gary Wright of Milton Keynes for a complete re-trim together with a new hood, carpets, tonneau cover, etc. Over the same period the engine was overhauled by Ed Watson in Mr Lister's workshop at his home. The original cylinder blocks were relined, and new pistons, piston rings, and white-metal bearings fitted, while the original crankshaft was tested and reused.

    The gearbox, rear axle, and braking system were all stripped, cleaned and reassembled, and the wheels refurbished and powder-coated. The radiator was rebuilt around a new core, and all nickel silver components re-plated. Correct T.A.W. front sidelights were sourced from the USA and rebuilt, and an Elliot speedometer and mileometer obtained from A J Glew, who also supplied the 'London-to-Edinburgh' works-type reserve fuel tank. All lamps were refurbished and re-wired.

    Mr Lister founded his company as a single showroom when in his mid-thirties and is now in his mid-seventies. Run by his son, the Lister company owns more than 50 dealerships, sells more than 70,000 cars and turns over more than £1bn annually. A highly knowledgeable collector, Mr Lister also owns an 8-Litre Cricklewood Bentley, a 1930s Derby Bentley, and a 1990s Bentley Continental. His opinion of the Silver Ghost concurs with that of the late Alan Clark, the famous political diarist and motoring enthusiast. Owner of several Ghosts, Clark said it was 'the greatest road car of all time and the nicest of them all to drive on a fine day if you are not in a hurry'.

    The rebuild of Silver Ghost '64AB' was completed around four years ago but, alas, in the meantime Mr Lister had split the Achilles tendon in his right leg. This injury makes the car, with its rear-wheel drum brakes, painfully difficult to drive, hence the decision to sell it.

    Offered with a V5C Registration certificate, FIVA passport, South African dating documents, and restoration invoices totalling in excess of £100,000, this magnificent Silver Ghost represents the ultimate in Edwardian motoring.
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