The Beginning of Rolls Royce Car Company
Rolls-Royce Limited was created over a famous lunch in May 1904. Henry Royce, a successful engineer, struck a deal with Charles Rolls, owner of one of the first car dealerships. The rest is history. The ensuing series of two, three, four and six cylinder cars broke the mould for engineering and craftsmanship. The Silver Ghost, launched in 1907, was a car of legendary smoothness that completed a 14,371 mile virtually non-stop run, creating ‘the best car in the world’ legend.
The Founders of Rolls Royce
Charles Rolls studied mechanical engineering at Cambridge. The first undergraduate to own a car, he soon began racing. To fund his passion he set up a dealership, selling mostly foreign cars. His search for a supplier of reliable English cars led to his introduction to Henry Royce.
The first aviator to complete a double-crossing of the English Channel, he was killed in a crash at an air show in July 1910.
Sir Henry Royce
Known for his attention to detail and pursuit of perfection, Henry Royce registered his first patent (the bayonet lamp socket) in 1887. His company produced dynamos, electrical motors and cranes.
Dissatisfied with his Decauville, Royce decided to improve on it and turned his attention to building the best cars in the world. By 1903 he had designed and built his first engine. His first prototypes took to the road in 1904.
This 1923 experimental model – produced in secret to test the development of the New Phantom (launched 1925) – is currently on display at the Home of Rolls-Royce. Personally tested by Sir Henry Royce, it was officially codenamed 46PK, but gained the nickname ‘Alpine Seagull’ after completing analysis in the Alps.