1924 Rolls Royce Springfield Silver Ghost
The legend that was to become Rolls Royce was founded in May 1904 when a deal was struck between Frederick Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls. Shortly after, the first Rolls Royce motor car – the Rolls-Royce 10hp – was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in December 1904. It was agreed that Rolls Royce would initially manufacture four different models being a two cylinder 10hp model, a three cylinder 15hp model, a four cylinder 20hp model and a six cylinder 20hp model. It was immediately apparent that to manufacture their cars, Rolls Royce would require a larger factory and the decision was made to establish their headquarters and manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Derby in the east midlands of England.
On the 15th March 1906 the company Rolls Royce Limited was formed and during this year Royce had been developing an improved six-cylinder model with more power than the 30hp. Initially designated the 40/50hp, this was the company’s first all-new model that became known as the Silver Ghost.
Introduced in 1907, the 40/50hp or Silver Ghost remained in production until 1926. Originally powered by a 7,036cc six-cylinder engine, this was increased to 7,428cc in 1909 and following rave reviews was designated by the English car magazine Autocar as ‘the best car in the world’.
Like all car manufacturers Rolls Royce was impacted by the First World War, however, post war the company made a strategic decision to manufacture a cheaper smaller car, enter the Rolls Royce 20hp. This model was a great success and it was produced alongside the Silver Ghost and its successor the Phantom, ensuring the Rolls Royce motor car company would survive and prosper.
In 1931 Rolls Royce acquired the Bentley motor car company.
The Silver Ghost was an outstanding success and incredibly a total of 7874 cars were produced from 1907 to 1926.It is understood that some 200 cars were sold new in Australia. A hard act to follow indeed, enter in 1925 the Rolls Royce ‘New Phantom’ known later as the Phantom 1. Although it used the same chassis as the Silver Ghost, the Phantom featured a new 7668 cc six cylinder engine.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for a sale a fabulous 1924 Rolls Royce Springfield Ghost. The car is chassis number S64LK, with engine number 22643 and body number WC914. The pickwick style coachwork was completed by Willoughby & Co and features four individual seats, two fold down occasional seats, foot rails, a wind down glass division, megaphone, hand straps & compendiums, complete with an extendable cigar lighter and roller blinds to complete the rear cabin fitout.
It is one of the relatively rare right hand drive examples built at the Rolls Royce factory in Springfield Massachusetts in the USA. S64LK is understood to be one of the last 25 cars built with two wheel brakes and right hand drive. The Americans then converted to four wheel brakes, three speed gearbox and left hand drive.
The car was completed in December 1924 and delivered to its first owners, the Swindells family, on the 6th August 1925. Interestingly in 1925 Mr F Swindells of Rockville Connecticut ordered two cars – one for himself and another for his wife. Both were to be chauffeur driven. S64LK was chosen as the car for Mrs Swindells. As it was to be used mainly around town, it had a very low geared diff fitted. The car remained Mrs Swindells personal transport from 1925 until 1933. Following the passing of Mr & Mrs Swindells the car was kept in storage by the family for many years. The car was eventually sold to a gentleman in North Hampton who, shortly afterwards, decided to part with it and it was purchased by a Mr Ron McLeod of Bridgeman Downs in Brisbane, Australia. This was circa 1989 and Ron arranged for Wolf Grodd and Joe Wilson of world renowned restoration company Sleeping Beauties to refurbish the car.
In 1997 Dr John Matheson of Sydney, Australia acquired S64LK and used it on a number of international rallies. In 1998 it was entered in the Monte Carlo Voitures Anciennes Rallye (it won 3rd place overall and 2nd place for originality in the Concours d’Elegance), then in 1999 the Silver Ghost Association Tour of South Africa and finally in 2000 the Silver Ghost Association Tour of the south island of New Zealand. In 2006 John decided to part with the car and the previous to current owner became the next proud custodians of S64LK.
This car is very well known to Oldtimer Australia having been sold by us back in May 2015 to its current owner. The mileage at that time was 54,650 miles. The car joined a significant collection and now a change in circumstances has resulted in this stunning Springfield Ghost being offered for sale. The car has been sparingly used in the last three years and today the odometer reads 54,675 miles.
S64LK has very low mileage for a Silver Ghost. Interestingly the only ‘real drivers’ of the car were Mrs Swindells (or at least her chauffer!) and Dr Matheson. The rest of the time she has relaxed in storage, been on display in a museum or used sparingly for Rolls Royce club events and social outings.
The current condition of the car can only be described as excellent and its condition certainly belies a car that was restored some twenty-five years ago. The paint, bright work and trim are all in excellent condition. The interior remains pretty much as it was when restored 25 years ago . . . it’s just beautiful! The engine bay is also clean and well kept. The car has been regularly serviced by a Rolls Royce specialist and had its radiator rebuilt prior to being sold in 2015.
The car starts easily and out on the open road the car performs as it should. The engine pulls strongly and the car handles and stops efficiently. Everything works as it should, including the vacuum windscreen wiper. The car is very original except for the flashing turn indicators which have been discreetly fitted into the existing lights for modern day safety. On a recent test drive, the car performed faultlessly confirming SHD30 is ready to use. It is pertinent to note that with the low ratio diff the car’s optimum cruising speed is 45 mph.
There’s something to be said about the statement “. . . they don’t make them like they used to” and this fabulous Rolls Royce is certainly a testament to that. This car is Rolls Royce style and elegance personified!
- Rolls Royce Springfield Silver Ghost
- 54,675 miles