Year : 1923
Make : Rolls-Royce
Model : Springfield Silver Ghost
Coachbuilder : Brewster
Body Type : Tilbury Landaulette
Colour : Black and Dark Blue
Trim : Blue Cloth
History : From late 1906 onwards Rolls-Royce Ltd began production of their 40/50hp which later became known as the Silver Ghost. The London Motor Show at Olympia in November of 1906 heralded its introduction to the motoring world and by the spring of 1907 the first batch of deliveries were met. The leading coach makers of the time were familiar with being provided with the under carriage from the manufacturers and constructing a body to suit their customers’ requests. Rolls-Royce continued with this tried and tested method, providing chassis and engine to the coachbuilder of the customer’s choice who constructed the bodywork, painted, trimmed and furnished the car to order. Almost overnight long established coach makers who had been in business for generations had to adapt their way of thinking away from horse drawn carriage to the new horseless vehicle. The Silver Ghost became an almost instant success thanks to the soundness of its design and the pain staking lengths the Rolls-Royce engineers and workmen went to during construction. Its reputation was enhanced further in 1911 following the trial cars successful London to Edinburgh round trip using only top gear, demonstrating the power and flexibility of the engine, whilst easing any lingering doubts of potential customers who were previously more at home with a set of reins than a steering wheel. Following the end of hostilities in 1918 there was a shift away from the previous Edwardian style of body construction. However the tried and tested policy of supplying chassis only allowed Rolls-Royce customers almost unlimited choice and freedom when choosing the style of their new motor car. Fashions and tastes inevitably changed but Rolls-Royce customers moved with the times ensuring the continued success of this now legendary motor car. By 1925 the exceptionally successful eighteen year production run of the Silver Ghost had firmly put Rolls-Royce at the forefront of motor car production. The term “The Best Car in the World” had been deservedly earnt. It is fair to say that the Ghost’s efficiency, reliability and superb performance were unmatched at the time and its reputation laid the foundations for the continued success of the company. The vast majority of pre-war Rolls-Royce motor cars were built in right hand drive; however construction also took place concurrently for approximately 10 years in America, where both right hand and left hand drive Silver Ghosts were produced. Claude Johnson, the business genius at Rolls-Royce was somewhat of a visionary and saw the future potential of the American car market long before production began of Rolls-Royce motor cars in the United States. The American market was at the time the largest and most important car market in the world, with more cars sold in America per annum than the rest of the world combined. Cars brought into the US were also subject to substantial importation taxes, so the natural and logical move in order to satisfy the huge demand at a more cost effective price was to join the American market on their own soil. By November of 1919 Johnson had convinced the hierarchy at the company of the merits of production in the United States and had formed Rolls-Royce of America Inc, but it wasn’t until well into 1921 that the first American built chassis were ready to be sold. Over fifty staff from the Rolls-Royce works in England relocated with their families to Springfield in Massachusetts and began by replicating the Derby built chassis. But before the 200th chassis had been completed a number of changes were implemented, with American parts being introduced. One off bodies were still available to American buyers in typical English coach building fashion, but the majority of cars were built to standard designs by “Rolls-Royce Custom Coachworks.” These bodies were constructed by a number of companies, largely built in batches of twenty or more. Production quality of the coachwork however was first class, finished with aluminium bodies and steel fenders in most cases, quite different from the British style of construction. Chassis No 370HH was completed in 1923 and delivered to its first owner Mr John O Gilbert of Jackson in Michigan who kept the car for forty seven years, using it sparingly whilst maintaining it to the highest standards. It changed hands for the first time in 1970 when Mr Gilbert passed away, being sold by his estate to The Craven Foundation, a museum in Toronto. Following its time on display it was purchased by the third owner, a Mr Brian Cauthery who was an engineer and also a Toronto resident. Chassis No 370HH found its way to the United Kingdom for the first time in 1988, purchased by a collector in the south of England, a Mr Clive Jacobs. During Mr Jacobs’s ownership the car was shown and rewarded at various concours events and was also put on display at the Beaulieu Motor Museum for several months. Its final change of ownership took place in 2002 when it was purchased by one of our long standing customers. During his ownership it was again shown and rewarded at various Concours events including the National RREC Rally. It was widely toured across the United States in 2004 prior to being shown for display purposes at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. When imported into the UK in 1988 the odometer read just over 39,000 miles which was believed to be the total original mileage at this time, although this could not be proved beyond doubt. The current odometer reading is just over 64,000 miles. The car comes with extensive history and since being back in the UK some of the most recognised Silver Ghost specialists have maintained the car. Most notably in 2007 AJ Glew rebuilt the engine at tremendous expense. Interested parties are more than welcome to inspect the car in great detail and to study the bills detailing expenditure over the past twenty years. Chassis No 370HH’s excellent mechanical aspects are matched by its cosmetic quality. It also comes with a number of very attractive features including the original pull down silk blinds on all of the windows, a Springfield Silver Ghost handbook believed to be original, ornamental vases for flowers in the rear compartment, its tail mounted trunk and tools. Beautifully presented in dark blue and black with blue cloth interior this magnificent Springfield Silver Ghost is ready for its next fortunate owner’s immediate enjoyment.
Condition : Excellent condition both mechanically and cosmetically.
Technical Data : Four speed manual gearbox, 6 cylinder in-line engine, 7.4 litres displacement, 7,428cc capacity.