Rolls Royce was conceived in 1904, over lunch in a Manchester Hotel. The meeting involved Henry Edmunds, who was an engineer, Charles Rolls a founder member of the RAC and keen car enthusiast and Henry Royce, who was also a successful engineer, who had been making plans for a prototype car. Henry Edmunds had decided to introduce Rolls to Royce, as he knew that the two men would benefit from a meeting with one another.
At the conclusion of the meeting it was agreed that C.S Rolls and Co, would be the sole dealership selling as many vehicles that Royce could be produced. Royce was known to be a man who would pay great attention to detail and was already an accomplished engineer, who had registered his first patent, a bayonet lamp socket in 1887. In typical Royce fashion, he decided to improve upon his first car, a decauville and decided that he would go on to build some of the best cars in the world. By 1904 Royce had designed and built his first prototype motor car engine, which took to the road.
Royce went on to design the 40/50 HP motorcar, which was introduced in 1907. The Commercial Managing Director for Rolls Royce, Claude Johnson, decided to use a 40/50 HP as a demonstrator vehicle. The vehicle ended up being the 12th 40/50HP to roll off the production line and was painted aluminium silver, with silver-plated fittings. Due to the quietness of the vehicle it was named the “Silver Ghost”. The name stuck and it was during this year that the vehicle proved time and time again, that it really was an incredibly reliable motorcar. During this year the Silver Ghost completed a return, London to Glasgow journey 27 times, which was quite a feat, as most motor vehicles being produce at this time would not have been able to manage such a journey. It was in 1907 that the publication Autocar, described the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost as the “best car in the world”, which is a term that has been associated with Rolls Royce even to this day.
Over the years Rolls Royce has continued to build luxury vehicles, many of which have gone on to become famous, such as John Lennon's Phantom V. The car was originally delivered in 1965 in black, however, during the making of Sergeant Pepper, John decided to have the car painted in scrolls and flowers by a team of barge designers, which happened to upset a lot of Rolls Royce fans. Another famous Rolls Royce car, can be seen in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. In the movie, where the bad guy Auric Goldfinger, employs Odd Job to drive him around in a 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III.
The modern fleet of Rolls Royce vehicles are still associated with reliability and prestige and have remained a firm favourite with rock stars, business tycoons or for use as wedding cars. The latest vehicles to roll off the production line are the Rolls Royce Ghost and Rolls Royce Phantom. Although they share the same pedigree as the earlier Rolls Royce models, the technology behind the modern vehicles is light years apart from the early Silver Ghost. Despite the current economic climate Rolls Royce vehicle sales have soared in the United States by an amazing 67% over the last year. Due to the fact that so few vehicles are produced in the UK, it is possible to practically get a Rolls Royce made to order. Perhaps it is this exclusivity, that is the companies secret to success.