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Manufacturers / U.K. / Rolls-Royce


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Rolls-Royce vehicles


1900


10
Rolls-Royce 10 Hp   (1904)

Rolls-Royce was founded by engineer Frederick Henry Royce and car trader Charles Stewart Rolls in 1904. The car which made the company famous, the 40/50, or more commonly known as Silver Ghost, was born 2 years later. Its straight six engine had a strong crankcase and 7 main bearings such that vibration was virtually not exist. The nickname was given because of its quietness and smoothness.

As a result, the Silver Ghost was described as the best car in the world. As a principle of Henry Royce, RR always made cars as strong as possible without worrying weight, size and price. In addition to the superb craftsmanship, the company achieved a reputation as making the best luxurious cars in the world. However, approaching the 30’s, RR’s status was challenged by Bentley’s 8-litre, a luxurious car with size, power and everything to trouble Rolls-Royce Phantom II.


1910


Bentley was founded by Walter Owen Bentley (known as W.O. Bentley) in 1919, primarily making bullet-proof sports cars. Like Henry Royce, W.O. Bentley cared about reliability instead of weight and size. Therefore his sports cars were described by some as "the fastest trucks on earth".


1920


War
Rolls-Royce War office   (1920)

The model 3-litre won Le Mans in 1924. Then followed by 4.5-litre (1927 and 28) and the 6.5-litre Speed Six (1929 and 30). The racing program made its cars famous.

Nevertheless, the great depression since 1929 put Bentley into bankruptcy.


1930


Phantom
Rolls-Royce Phantom Town Car  (1933)

A mystery group called British Equitable Trust bid the company in 1931. Several days later, W.O. Bentley knew that it was actually Rolls-Royce !

Since then Rolls-Royce dictated the development of Bentley cars and eventually made the latter a re-badged and retuned version of Rolls-Royce. W.O. Bentley was unhappy, of course, so that he left the company he founded and joined Lagonda. His creation included the famous Lagonda V12 (a rival to RR) and the straight six for Aston Martin DB2.

In 1938, Rolls-Royce moved from Derby to the Crewe factory which is still using today. There were some more good cars from RR and Bentley, such as RR Phantom III (1936) and Bentley Continental R (1952). However, the firm did not explore much new technology and production method, thus not only lost the reputation for refinement but also the name as the world’s best cars.


1990


Silver
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit   (1990)

When Mercedes launched the V12 600SEL in 1990, Rolls-Royce was generally regarded as outdated and not as good as the Mercedes any more.

BMW involved in the late 90’s by supplying engines and equipment, but it was Volkswagen that eventually bought the company in 1998. BMW responded by securing the Rolls-Royce name plate starting from 2003.



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