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Rolls-Royce and Bentley

Car of the Month - March 2005
Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (USA), 1926, #S337RL
Boattail Roadster

Rolls-Roycer Silver Ghost

After the new Rolls-Royce Phantom I had been launched in England more than a year passed by before the first one made at the US-plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, was finished. There had been no chance to start the new model in the USA within a timeframe matching that in England. Most presumably the strange decision of Rolls-Royce to set up a factory in the US that had to follow slavishly the dictates of its parent company was a major reason for the delay. Thus is explained why US-production of Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost continued well into the year 1926.

Rolls-Roycer Silver Ghost

Rolls-Royce of America delivered chassis cum engine – as was standard in the United Kingdom – and usually the customer then ordered the body to be designed and made by an independent coachbuilder. There was the choice however to drive off with a complete car from the showroom of a Rolls-Royce dealer, which indeed many American clients did prefer. Rolls-Royce Custom Coachwork offered a range of attractive bodies built by various – always top-class – coachbuilders to the order of Rolls-Royce. #S337RL started life with a 5-seater touring body called „Pall Mall“ (ordered by RRCCW from Merrimac). The first owner was movie-star John McCormick who decided to substitute the coachwork after a very short period. Instead of the 5-seater open touring body a highly attractive Boattail Roadster was tailored. At the same time a change was made by fitting the more powerful engine of the Phantom I, that was now available.


For the new Phantom I the existing chassis of the Silver Ghost had remained almost unaltered. Prove is the fact that at the factory in Derby (GB) several cars that originally had been delivered as Silver Ghosts were later modernised to Phantom I standard by fitting the new engine.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Engine

These cars were then sold – the frame stamped with a new chassis-number, e.g. #10UMC – as „pre-owned“ Rolls-Royce Phantom I. From time to time similar up-dating or modernisation was carried out in the USA, too. Hence there is nothing particularly uncommon in the Silver Ghost, #S337RL, being powered by an engine from its successor.

Rolls-Roycer Silver Ghost

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