from The Aldeburgh Collection

Registration Number: DS 7752
Chassis Number:  401HH
Recorded Mileage: 39,600 miles

- Highly original and well known example
- Several times veteran of the historic Alpine Rally

Upon its launch in 1906, the 40/50hp model, later referred to as the “Silver Ghost”, was a major leap for (at the time) the fairly new firm of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited. This was a larger, more powerful car than previous efforts; praise was heaped upon the new model for its proportions and powerful yet very quiet engine and running gear. An instant success, the 40/50 was soon adopted as the carriage of choice for the aristocratic and well-healed of Edwardian Britain. 

The 40/50 was of fairly conventional design; a ladder chassis mounted with a large 7.4 litre six cylinder engine, strictly speaking two three-cylinder blocks with built-in cylinder heads and side valves. Fuelling was via a carburetor of Royce’s own design, twin ignition with single coil/distributor and a secondary magneto ensured its reliability. Lubrication was via an innovative pressurized system, with additional oil being fed directly to the cylinder walls when starting or running at high speed. From 1913, 40/50s had four-speed gearboxes and a modern torque-tube drive system. Henry Royce continually developed the Silver Ghost into a very reliable, and when fitted with a light body, fast and highly competent motor car. 

With Britain struggling economically after the Great War, Messrs Rolls and Royce looked across to the United States to grow their empire. A few years prior to then, a New York holding depot was established with coachbuilders Brewster & Co., who were responsible for applying bodies to most imported Ghost chassis. Ultimately it made sense to assemble vehicles in the US, as a means to avoid import duties for American customers. So in 1919, Rolls-Royce purchased the American Wire Wheel Co. factory building in Massachusetts, and the Springfield Silver Ghosts were born. 

Silver Ghosts were bodied by many 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 expedite deliveries to customers, a range of “off the showroom floor” designs was prepared, to be built by the aforementioned firms. Included were the Pall Mall tourer, the Oxford seven-passenger tourer, the Piccadilly roadster, and the Mayfair and Riviera town cars. The Piccadilly Roadster was inspired by the landmark central to London city, encircling the Eros water fountain. Bodies were delivered to the Waltham Avenue works ‘in the white’, primed and ready for painting and trimming to order. 

The Springfield Ghosts evolved over the years with locally sourced components such as American Bosch ignition in place of the Watford magneto, American wheels replacing Dunlops, six-volt electrics, and towards the end of production Left Hand Drive chassis and an American-style three-speed transmission with centre change. 

Chassis 401HH rolled off the Springfield production line in mid-1923, being acquired by a Mr. Lashar on 28th September of that year as the first owner, and specified originally with a Mayfair Town Car body by Holbrook. Mr. Lashas owned the Ghost for several years before passing ownership to a Mr. August Sauer of Great Barrington in Massachusetts. Mr. Sauer sought a more sporting body and so in March 1931 a Rolls Royce Custom Coach Works “Piccadilly Roadster” body was fitted. This body has remained on the car ever since.

Always an East Coast car, the Ghost later travelled down to Lahaska, Pennsylvania and into the ownership of WWII naval aviator Rear Admiral John K. Leydon (later to become the Chief of Naval Research for the U.S. government), then to a Dr. Clyde D. Marlow, a dentist in Macon, Georgia. By the 1970s the Rolls-Royce resided in the temperate climate of Florida, with a  founding member and a former president of the Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club respectively, Mark Sheppard (1971) and Ed White (1978) of St. Petersburg.

During its ownership in the US the car led an active life, and was actively campaigned in events, notably when shipped to Europe to participate in the Alpine Rally in 1973. Around 1988 British enthusiast and active RREC member Terence Stone recognised the car, having seen it perform in that 1973 Alpine Rally. Mr. Stone was fortunate to drive the Ghost whilst in Florida in 1984, however it took a further four years to persuade Ed White to part with his beloved Rolls-Royce

Mr. Stone acquired the 55 year old Rolls-Royce in 1988 and brought it to the UK, treating it to a comprehensive mechanical rebuild in preparation for completing another two Alpine Rallies (the 1993 and 2003 editions), before passing to the current owner in 2010. Upon acquisition care of 401HH was passed to leading world-leading marque specialists P & A Wood of Essex.

Chassis 401HH  has additionally participated in a number of other major events such as the Lakes and Scottish Tour, the Euro Rally of Spain in 1998, the Jordan rally of 1999 (in harsh desert conditions of up to 45 degrees Celsius), the 2007 Silver Ghost Centenary Scottish Tour and the 50th Anniversary Event of the Rolls Royce Enthusiast’s Club at Kelmarsh Hall.

Prior to its entry into the Alpine Rally in 1993 we understand in a letter by the previous owner that the Ghost was subject of mechanical rebuild to the tune of £44,000 at specialist Hofmann’s of Henley. The Rolls-Royce was subsequently maintained by Hofmann’s and Priory Vintage Company and in current ownership P & A Wood of Essex, with bills totalling approximately £80,000 in maintenance and refurbishment works over the years. In the history file are an original Instruction Book, copies of Rolls-Royce ownership records, older correspondence, articles and photographs, several invoices and a UK V5C document. 

This outstandingly beautiful and well traveled motor car represents a wonderful opportunity for the Rolls-Royce enthusiast.

Auction Date: 18th Jun 2022 at 2pm

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Sale Dates:
18th Jun 2022 2pm (Lots 1 to 38)