The rulers of India, the Maharajas of various states and city-states, were loyal customers of the Rolls-Royce marque. Many lived a very lavish lifestyle in palaces with staff and attendants to wait on their ever need and desire. When they traveled they were often accompanied by large numbers of guards, retainers, family and staff. Rolls-Royce had a colonial model which was well suited to the rougher roads and conditions of remote regions, and a popular choice for many of the Maharajas. They were fitted with a wide variety of coachwork for entertainment, hunting, ceremony and transportation.
The coronation of King George V was celebrated by all of the Princes of India in what was called the Delhi Durbar. This beautiful Rolls-Royce is one of eight Silver Ghosts with identical landaulette bodies provided for this special event. After the coronation, it was presented to the Maharaja of Mysore, who had it rebodied with this magnificent open (to suit the tropical climate) Victoria to be used for parades and other special ceremonies by the Maharaja.
The eight identical landaulette bodied cars were built by Barker, Hooper, Windovers, Mulliner and Thrupp & Maberly. This car, with chassis 1683, was the only on bodied by H.J. Mulliner and was fitted with Pullman Limousine coachwork.
Following the Durbar, ownership passed to Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore. At some early period in its life the Mulliner Pullman limousine coachwork was removed and rebodied wih this open Victoria. It was used for parades and similar ceremonial occassions.
The passengers riding in the elevated rear seat are protected from the sun by a folding victoria top. The large umbrella in the rear was to provide partial shading for the guards and retainers standing at attention in the sun. A very thoughtful gesture on part of the Maharaja.
The car returned to England in the 1950s and treated to a restoration. Upon completion, it was sold at auction to James Leake for the price of $27,000, a high price at the time. Millard Newman became the cars next owner and then purchased by Richard Solove in 1993. He commissioned Dave Hemmings to perform another restoration which still shows nicely in modern times.
At the 1994 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance it was awarded first-in-class honors and earned the Millard Newman Award at Amelia Island in 2003.
This Silver Ghost has a side-valve, six-cylinder, 7428cc engine producing 48 horsepower at 1,250 rpm, and a three-speed transmission. The seven-bearing crankshaft has full pressure lubrication and the center main bearing is made specially large to remove vibration, essentially splitting the engine into two three-cylinder units. Two spark plugs are fitted to each cylinder with a trembler coil to produce the spark with a magneto-the instruction was to start the engine on the trembler/battery and then switch to magneto. The substantial chassis had rigid front and rear axles and leaf springs all round. The success of the model led to the company dropping the previous range of cars and following a one model policy until the launch of the 20 hp in 1922. In all, a total of 8,416 Silver Ghost cars were produced from 1907 to 1926, including 1,703 from the American Springfield factory. Many are still running to this day. The Silver Ghost was the origin of Rolls-Royce's claim of making the 'Best car in the world' - a phrase coined by the prestigious publication Autocar in 1907.
Descriptions & pictures by conceptcarz & bonhams & auto.vercity