Silent as a Ghost

Henry was an engineer in the early 20th century who thought the French produced the best cars. The Americans were also making cars but he thought they lacked the craftsmanship.

Henry decided to import a Decauville from France and went to work on it to learn about the engineering of the car. At the same time, he started putting together his car. He loved the idea of precision engineering so we designed the engine shafts and the pistons to be a perfect fit. He wanted to fabricate a piston that was so perfectly balanced that once started it would not want to stop.

The gears were generously lubricated so they would not make any sound when they meshed as the car drove. Henry was incredibly particular about the precision of the parts. He continued to work on his car at his workshop in Manchester. One of his friends who was visiting the workshop, took a picture of the car and sent it to a man named Charles, an aristocrat from London. Charles wrote several letters to Henry requesting him to come to London so they could discuss the possibility of selling the car.

grayscale photo of vintage car
Photo by BeQa shavidze on Unsplash

He kept ignoring the letters which kept arriving for months. Finally, Charles decided he had to make the trip to Manchester and meet Henry. Charles Rolls was a wealthy man well-known in the aristocratic circles in London and was mighty confident that he could secure a large number of orders for the car. He invited Henry Royce to enter into a partnership and finance the company to move the vehicle into manufacturing.

Henry Royce was only interested in engineering and seeing the opportunity to pursue his passion without restraints he even agreed for the Royce Motor Company to the rechristened Rolls-Royce Ltd as a part of the deal.

The first cars that were produced were so finely machined and so well made that the engine would be barely audible. The 3-ton vehicle was powered by a machine that sounded like a sewing machine. 

Lore has it that a glass of martini kept on the dashboard of a Rolls Royce would neither be shaken nor stirred.

The car was so silent that the first car was called the Silver Ghost.

The silence of the engine gives the models names such as Ghost and Phantom.





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