1920 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50hp Robinson Continental Tourer
For Sale: This 31920 Ghost has lived a fascinating life over 100 years in three Continents, keeping its owners safe through many adventures, and appears to be absolutely ready for a few more.
Chassis: 26PE Registration: R-4890
Although not the first Rolls-Royce model, the landmark 40/50 Horsepower, better known as the Silver Ghost, introduced in 1906 was certainly the first to become a commercial success for the famous marque, earning the accolade of 'The Best Car in the World'. A combination of superb engineering, materials of the finest quality and unsurpassed production techniques ensured that every Silver Ghost was a machine of the highest calibre.
With Henry Royce’s impressively over-built 7,428cc side-valve, inline six-cylinder engine as the centrepiece, the Silver Ghost was a true engineering marvel and a great leap forward in automobile design. The magnificent engine was both incredibly strong but was also light thanks to the use of an alloy crankcase. Of course, the Ghost was more than just the engine; the chassis was similarly overbuilt to withstand virtually anything an owner could throw at it. Such was its strength that the vast majority of the 6,173 Silver Ghosts built over its 18 years in production not only survive but remain on the road, testimony to the brilliance of Sir Henry Royce’s original design.
#26PE was ordered by a Major Edward Fitzgerald of Mayfair in 1918 directly after the end of World War 1 and he had the chassis delivered directly to the famous Parisian Carrossier Henri Labourdette at Number 35, Champs-Elysees where the founder’s grandson, Jean-Henri, was commissioned to build a Salamanca Cabriolet body. The coachbuilder’s team of craftsmen and artisans had been severely depleted by the war so it was over two years before the completed car was delivered to its expectant first owner in Mayfair.
Four years later the Major arranged for the original body to be replaced by a Park Ward Touring Body as, we imagine, he found the enclosed rear Salamanca bodywork a little claustrophobic. Sadly the Major passed away in 1931 and 26PE was then shipped to Australia where it appears to have changed ownership until around 1952. At some point the original engine (M.157) was replaced with a flat-head Ford V8, however, in the 1960s a replacement period R-R engine was fitted. During the 1970s, the car changed hands with two further keepers and in 1982, 26PE returned to the UK without its body and in need of restoration. The rigours of the Australian climate had finished of the Park Ward bodywork but, conversely, had been kind to the chassis.
In 1984, bodywork guru, Tony Robinson, was commissioned to build and fit a rather elegant. Touring Body which the car still wears today. In 1991, the Ghost was sold at auction with the chassis and mechanical parts unrestored. Subsequently, a full chassis and mechanical restoration was undertaken by marque experts Allan Glew and Steve Penny prior to being shipped to South Africa where its owner Stuart Halsall was living. During its time in SA, it appears the car was well maintained and regularly used on tours including a 3,000km round trip from Cape Town to Natal.
In 2007, 26PE once again returned to the UK and, pleasingly continued to be regularly exercised at club events indeed, on one occasion, winning the 20-Ghost Club’s Alpine Trophy for the longest distance travelled in one year.
26PE is presented in fantastic condition with brilliant white coachwork, five matching wheels and a stunning tan leather interior and a black mohair hood. The stylish look of the Tony Robinson touring bodywork is complemented by a running-board toolbox, side-mounted spare wheel and period trunk. Absolutely delightful.
It’s over 100 years since this gleaming Ghost was delivered to our proud Mayfair Major and, during its long life on three Continents, has enjoyed many adventures. Looking at its remarkable condition today, it’s undoubtedly ready for a few more.
We have a letter from a Rolls-Royce Ghost specialist who has confirmed that they have the original engine and is happy to support an exchange should you wish to pursue this option.
Details of this would be provided with the sales pack.