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The Luxurious History of Rolls-Royce

At J & M Auto Body, we rarely see Roll-Royces here in San Diego, CA, but when we do, it's truly a treat! Rolls-Royce vehicles—often a symbol of wealth and status—are known for their luxury. Throughout the world, the iconic vehicles are said to be “trusted to deliver excellence.”

The company is the result of two entrepreneurs coming together—Sir Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls.

Born in 1863, Royce sold newspapers and delivered telegrams in London as a child. He worked at the Great Northern Railway company in Peterborough for a few years and then was employed at a tool-making company as well as London’s Electric Light and Power Company. In 1884, he and his friend, Ernest Claremont, established the F.H. Royce and Company, which focused on electric fittings. In the meantime, Royce was very interested in motor cars and reportedly built three cars by 1904.

Rolls was born in London in 1877. With a passion for engineering, he attended Cambridge University where he studied mechanical and applied science. Often called “Dirty Rolls” or “Petrolls,” he enjoyed tinkering with cars and was one of the first vehicle owners in Wales, Rolls opened an automotive dealership in Britain in 1903. C.S. Rolls & Co. sold Peugeot and Minerva cars. An avid aviator, Rolls died in a plane crash when he was 32 years old.

Henry Edmunds introduced Rolls and Royce in 1904, which eventually led to the formation of the Rolls-Royce Limited Company. The company produced the legendary Silver Ghost in 1907, often called “The Best Car in the World” due to its comfort and reliability.

In the 1930s, the Phantom III was the first Rolls-Royce built with a V12 engine.

Rolls-Royce acquired Bentley in 1931, which produced a sporty version of the Rolls-Royce. For a period of time, the Bentley and Rolls-Royce models were very similar.

The British defense company Vickers purchased Rolls-Royce Motors Limited in 1980. Then in the 1990s, the BMW Group bought the rights to produce Rolls Royce vehicles and set up a manufacturing facility in Goodwood located outside of London.

5 interesting facts about Rolls-Royce:

1.) The first two-cylinder Rolls-Royce was unveiled in 1904 at the Paris Salon.

2.) From 1914 to 1973, the company manufactured aero-engines.

3.) Rolls-Royce vehicles are often seen driven by the royal family, as well as actors, rock stars and celebrities.

4.) Commissioned in 1911, the Rolls-Royce hood ornament is called The Spirit of Ecstasy. The design is in the form of a woman with outstretched arms leaning forward. The cloth from her arms to her back is said to resemble wings.

5.) The average Rolls-Royce costs more than $200,000 to purchase. Some of the more unique styles include the Rolls-Royce Solid Phantom Gold priced at $8,200,000 and the vintage Rolls-Royce 10HP, which costs $7,250,000.

Sources: Wikipedia, Robb Report and AOL

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