Classified Hero: 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer
This 1909 Silver Ghost has just arrived in the pre-war marketplace for the first time in 52 years. Here’s all you need to know…
Regarded as ‘one of the best cars in the world’, a 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer that’s enjoyed the ownership of aircraft and boat genius Hurbert Scott-Paine, as well as achieving success in hill-climbing, has recently become available on the pre-war car market for the first time in 52 years.
If you’re seeking a particularly special vehicle that will effortlessly catch everyone’s eye, this magnificent Silver Ghost, which appears in the AutoClassics classifieds, is the answer. Its splendid Roi-des-Belges bodywork was a popular styling choice for luxury motorcars in the early 1900s. Inspired by the design cues of a 1901 40hp Panhard et Levassor that was specifically built for Leopold II of Belgium, the Roi-des-Belges was offered as an option by many high-end manufacturers.
Meanwhile, under the Rolls-Royce’s impressively long bonnet lies a 7036cc six-cylinder engine, while the lustrous bronze headlamps continue to run on gas just as they did 109 years ago.
The name Silver Ghost was first used as a nickname for the 12th 40/50hp Rolls-Royce, registered AX 201. It was used as a demonstrator vehicle, and was liveried in aluminium finished with silver-plated fittings. As with the 1909 Tourer seen here, AX 201 also possessed Roi-des-Belges coachwork.
Rolls-Royce used AX 201 to increase brand awareness during the company’s earliest years. The publicity campaign was a huge success, with the car setting numerous long-distance trial records and proving impressively reliable. Reception for AX 201 was so positive that journalists and members of the public alike soon began referring to all 40/50hp Rolls-Royces as the Silver Ghost – and so the name stuck, albeit being unrecognised by the manufacturer itself until the New Phantom was introduced in 1925.
Not only does this 40/50hp Rolls-Royce carry the famous Silver Ghost name, it also comes with success of its own in the form of a win at the Stockbridge Hill Climbing Trial in May 1914. It also has connections with British shipping through its first owner R.A Munn, who was a Marine Superintendent at the Union-Castle Line.
Clearly the Rolls-Royce attracts those with an interest in engineering, for it was then purchased by Hubert Scott-Paine in 1919. He was boss of Supermarine Aviation Works, a company now renowned for success in the Schneider Trophy during the late 1920s and early 1930s, as well as production of the world-famous WWII Spitfire aircraft. Scott-Paine also founded the British Power Boat Company, before setting a world record of 110.1mph for a single-engine boat in salt water with the hydroplane Miss Britain III in 1934.
This 1909 Silver Ghost has been in the care of its most recent owner since 1966. During this time, the Rolls-Royce has toured comprehensively throughout Europe and has become a long-term member of The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain. Still in excellent driving condition and complete with beautiful period features, the Tourer is a highly sought-after collector’s car that will continue to stun onlookers wherever it goes.
Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classified advert