Bonhams | 2018-10-08 | Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia Auction Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum | Venue : Philadelphia, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Lot No. : 116
Year : 1923
Engine Size : -
Chassis No. : #82LK
Engine No. : #R65
Estimate : US$ 125,000 - 175,000
US$ 117,600
Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster Sold


7,428cc L-Head Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
85bhp at 2,300rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Well known ownership history from new
*Derby built example of Rolls-Royce excellence
*Beautifully crafted bodywork in the style of the classic Piccadilly Roadster
*Eligible for touring events worldwide
Rolls-Royce came early to America. In 1906, C.S. Rolls himself brought three cars to race at New York's Empire City track. An exhibit at the annual auto show followed, where three cars were sold. In 1913, a New York depot was set up with coachbuilders Brewster & Co., who bodied the majority of the imported chassis. In 1919, Rolls acquired a factory in Springfield, Massachusetts and began to manufacture the Silver Ghost. In addition to Brewster, American Rolls-Royces were bodied by many other prestige coachbuilders, a number of them under the hallmark of Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work. Included in this bevy of eastern craftsmanship were such companies as Biddle & Smart, Willoughby, Merrimac and Holbrook. In order to have cars ready for customers who wished to buy off the showroom floor, a range of standard designs was prepared, to be executed by the aforementioned firms. Included were the Pall Mall tourer, Oxford seven-passenger tourer, Piccadilly Roadster and Mayfair and Riviera town cars. The Piccadilly Roadster is one of the most desirable of all Springfield Rolls-Royce combinations. It combines excellent performance, sleek, distinctive design and intimate sporting character in an automobile of the highest quality.
Initially the same as its British counterpart, the Springfield Silver Ghost chassis evolved over the years to adapt to its adopted country. First were component substitutions, American Bosch ignition in place of the Watford magneto, American wheels replacing Dunlops and eventually all electrical equipment was of local manufacture. By 1924, six-volt electrics had been adopted, and the following year the chassis was reconfigured for left-hand drive. At the same time, the four-speed, right-hand-shifted gearbox gave way to an American-style three-speed with center change.
In its infancy, the automotive industry was an environment where engineering and design were rapidly evolving. While motor cars by competing manufacturers proved to be crude and quickly showing age, it was Rolls-Royce's Silver Ghost that solidified the company's reputation for producing reliable vehicles that were precisely engineered and delivered with exceptional attention to detail. The Silver Ghost remained in production in England until 1925 and at Rolls-Royce's Springfield plant in the USA until 1926, the longest production run of any model from that celebrated company.
This Silver Ghost, chassis 82LK, was built in Rolls Royce's Derby factory, sold new in the UK to Mr. Paul Goudie of Surrey on December 17, 1923. In 1927, the car changed ownership to a buyer in Kent. It remained there until 1947, when it sold to E.P Richmond. Chassis 82LK continued under the ownership of various proprietors in the UK until 1954, when it was imported into the US for the first time. Once stateside, It was purchased by a Pennsylvanian collector who had several Silver Ghosts. In 1969, the car was sold to a California based collector and circulated in California until 1989, when it was exported to Japan. The car made its return to the US in 2016 when it was acquired by the current owner.
The original body fitted on this chassis was a landaulet configuration built by Hooper. In the late 1980s, California metal shaper Marcel Delay placed upon this Silver Ghost coachwork in the style of the 2/4 passenger Piccadilly Roadster. This desirable body shows very well with it's 1980s restoration in ivory over red leather interior.
Mechanically, 82LK is fitted with the 7,428cc L-Head inline 6-cylinder engine (R65) that attributed to naming the Silver Ghost. With heads casted to the cylinders and a large crank to offset engine vibration, the Silver Ghost's engine ran smoothly and quietly, impressing all who drove the car when new. Mated to the engine is a 4-speed manual transmission that is well known for its top-gear functionality, allowing drivers to operate from a standstill and accelerate to cruising speed without having to shift. Additionally, this car was fitted with 4-wheel servo assisted brakes in April of 1925.
The first advertisement for the Silver Ghost asked the question: Is this the best car in the world? Rolls-Royce's search for perfection created a car that is still known for luxury and excellence 100 years after being introduced.

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