Rolls Royce Car Manufacturers

August 5, 2013

Rolls Royce Car Manufacturers

A Rolls-Royce isn't just an automobile, it's a motor car; and while it may be lavishly outfitted with the finest materials, its luxury is reserved and refined. In other words, it is cast in the very image of the British upper classes. The brand doesn't dabble in the less high-brow world of SUVs and crossovers. It produces only sedans, coupes and convertibles--vehicles that lend themselves to the ultimate expression of luxury.

Success came early for the brand. Henry Royce built his first car in 1904, and partnered with Charles Rolls soon thereafter. They founded Rolls-Royce Ltd. in 1906 and introduced the six-cylinder Silver Ghost shortly thereafter. Soon the name Rolls-Royce became synonymous with "world's best." Like all the pre-war Rolls-Royce automobiles that would follow, the Silver Ghost was produced as a rolling chassis. The body design and production were left to custom coach builders.

The Silver Ghost remained in production for 18 years before yielding to the Phantom I in 1925. The Phantom was a masterpiece of refinement and innovation. Its engine specifications would read well in today's market: six cylinders, aluminum crankcase, overhead valves, and dual-coil ignition. The Phantom III was launched in 1935. With an overhead valve, 7.3-liter V-12, it was massively powerful. It featured an innovative coil-spring independent front suspension that was based on a design by none other than General Motors. The Wraith of 1939 was a more compact Rolls-Royce, and its innovations included a crossflow cylinder head with the intake ports on one side and the exhaust ports on the other. Very few were built before World War II ended production.

The Silver Wraith of 1946 was the first post-war Rolls, and it was the last to be fitted with custom coachwork. The automobile remained in production until 1959. The Silver Cloud was introduced in 1955. Its coachwork was a departure from previous Rolls-Royce models, with sweeping curves defining its shape. A number of Silver Cloud models followed. Most significant was the Silver Cloud II, which introduced the brand's all-aluminum 6.2-litre V-8 engine and the rather noisy clock that became the focus of an Ogilvy ad: "At 60 mph, the loudest noise in this new Roll-Royce comes from the electric clock." Meanwhile, the Phantom continued as the premier offering, but only 18 Phantom IVs were built (most for royalty and heads of state). This was followed by a mere 516 Phantom Vs.

In the 1970s, Rolls-Royce fell upon hard times and went into receivership. In 1980 the company became a subsidiary of Vickers. In the 1990s, the prestigious manufacturing firm went on the block again and was purchased by Volkswagen, which eventually turned the brand over to BMW.

Today Rolls-Royce is building beautiful and innovative ultra-luxury motor cars in their Goodwood, England, plant. Cars like the richly clad, 5,776-pound, 453-horsepower Drophead Coupe remain the envy of motorists all over the world.