Rolls-Royce 40/50 ‘Silver Ghost’ – Luxury Cars of the 20th Century
Despite often being referred to as the Silver Ghost, Rolls-Royce’s sixth production car was never officially named the Silver Ghost, but instead the 40/50, denoting the cars horsepower. Silver Ghost signifies a specific 40/50, clothed in Barker coachwork originally ordered by Claude Johnson, the managing director of Rolls-Royce in 1907. Claude’s 40/50 completed the Scottish Reliability Trials and a 15,000-mile test, including driving from London to Glasgow 27 times; far from an easy feat in 1907. Claude’s car was named Silver Ghost due to its ghost-like silence and refinement. Today, Claude’s Silver Ghost has driven well over half a million miles and is considered to be the most valuable car in the world.
The Silver Ghost’s astounding reliability and refinement continued through the 20-year production of 7874 cars, even through its use in the armed service as an armoured vehicle, during which no breakdowns were recorded. The Silver Ghost’s reliability and clever engineering has since garnered it the reputation of modernising the automobile, evolving the car from the loud, smelly, obtrusive beast it was reputed as to a refined, silent, dependable, comfortable vehicle more than capable of crossing continents.