Body style: landaulet
When it first came out in 1907, the creators of the Silver Ghost had no name in mind for it – just the horsepower figures 40/50. However, as history would have it, the 13th chassis was fitted with a body in metallic grey and silver-plated accessories. The car was immediately nicknamed “Silver Ghost”, and the name quickly spread to all the models in the range, making Rolls Royce’s name forever.
Its rapid success was undoubtedly due to its excellent performance, but its incredibly quiet engine was also a surprising and attractive feature. The reliability and long-term robustness of the car were also exceptional, and the car was awarded the title “Best Car in the World” by a British magazine, which helped propel it to legendary status. The Silver Ghost enjoyed a long career with 8,000 units built over 20 years.
The magnificent 1921 landaulet on display at the Cité de l’Automobile was designed by the coachbuilder Barker, a purveyor of carriages to the Royal Family since the 18th century. The Silver Ghost limousine in the museum collection also has a Barker body.
This landaulet is a perfect illustration of the transition that took place between 1914 and the 1920s. It is a pre-war model with the transparency of a very visible lower chassis, thanks to the broad and high wings, alongside the slender, metal-spoked wheels. Other features highlight Barker’s talent. The body has a very elegant line, with its curved cowling linking the angular bonnet to the bottom of the windscreen and the rear of the convertible roof, which is significantly lower than the bottom of the windows. There is none of the austere styling of some of the larger Rolls Royce coupés.