Monday, March 10, 2008

The Rolls Royce


Defined as a luxurious car, the Rolls Royce first appeared at the Paris Salon of 1904. As its name indicates, two major men contributed to its production, namely Charles Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce. The latter is the designer of the car. Interested in engineering since his childhood, he was by 19 at the head of his own manufacturing company and created the first model of Rolls Royce in 1903 on the basis of the Decauville. He began to sell a few of his cars but his business only flourished after his meeting with Charles Rolls. Indeed they agreed that while Royce produced the car, Rolls had the exclusive rights to sell it.

From 1906 to 1922, the sole model produced by the newly founded Rolls Royce company was the Silver Ghost. Showing a mighty capacity and a quiet engine, it was described by the Daily Mail founder as “the best car in the world”. The company was soon well known all around the world and extended to the United States where the business prospered. Unfortunately, Rolls died in a flying accident, leaving Royce at the head of the company. The latter continued to work and created aero engines while a certain Johnson produced the cars. A new model came out after the first World War, namely the Phantom. In 1931, the Rolls Royce company acquired Bentley, a famous sport cars manufacturer and its former rival. Two years later, Royce passed away which prevented him from knowing the alliance’s success.

Today, the Rolls Royce car company is owned by BMW and prospers independently from the areo engine company. Needless to say that this extremely luxurious car is a privilege for those who can afford it. Indeed, buying the latest model, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe, revealed in Geneva on February 17, would cost you 614.850 € - the price of a house! But what could be the reason for such a high price? Maybe it is the little Rolls Royce mascot’s presence on the top of the bonnet that can be retracted into the car bonnet by means of a button for safety reasons. This stainless steel figurine, called the Spirit of Ecstasy, represents a woman leaning forwards with her arms outstretched behind and above her. It symbolizes "The spirit of the Rolls-Royce, namely, speed with silence, absence of vibration, the mysterious harnessing of great energy and a beautiful living organism of superb grace..." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_of_Ecstasy).

1 comment:

Simon Labate said...

Unfortunately there's no Uncyclopedia entry on Rolls Royce cars, but the article on cars is worth the detour. I also recommend the review of the new Phantom by Jeremy Clarkson for Top Gear. In this excerpt from one of the shows, we can see the car on the Humber Bridge.