Rolls-Royce is a luxury automobile manufacture, and their headquarters are located in Goodwood, England. Previously owned by Volkswagen, in 2003, BMW took over, and now Rolls-Royce is wholly owned by them. Their current cars include the Phantom, Ghost and Wraith.
Rolls-Royce was founded in 1906 by Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce as Rolls-Royce Limited. However, in 1971, the company developed an advanced jet engine, the costs of which crippled the business. In 1971, it was nationalized, and in 1973, it was split into Rolls-Royce Motors and Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited, which in 1987, became privatized as Rolls-Royce plc.
In 1980, Vickers acquired Rolls-Royce, but by 1998, they were ready to sell, and BMW was ready to buy. At the last minute, they were outbid by the Volkswagen Group. However, Rolls-Royce plc owned the brand name and logo, which they licensed to BMW. With each having only part of Rolls-Royce, neither could actually build the car.
From 1998 to 2002, Volkswagen negotiated with BMW to let them use the name and logo, but in return, both companies agreed that in 2003, Rolls-Royce would pass to BMW, and Volkswagen could keep Bentley. At this time, Volkswagen relinquished their portion of Rolls-Royce to BMW.
Rolls-Royce current flagship model is the Phantom. This car first appeared in 2003, and it was the first model created when BMW took over. It is still in production, and in 2003, won Top Gear’s Car of the Year Award.
Instead of steel, the frame is made from aluminum, which is both stiff and lightweight. With a 6.7-liter V12 engine, 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque, the Phantom is powerful and fast despite its hefty weight of nearly 3 tons. The car also comes in a two door coupé and a drophead coupé.
There are plenty of customization options for this car, including 44,000 paint colors and just about any color of interior leather. Other options include voice recognition navigation, rear-view camera, rear-seat DVD system and rear-seat tables.
The back doors are rear-hinged, which Rolls-Royce calls coach doors instead of suicide doors. To prevent injury, there is an electronic lock that stops travelers from opening the door once the car is moving. If the door isn’t fully shut before the car starts moving, the car cannot accelerate above a walking speed.
While the Phantom may be Rolls-Royce flagship model, they also offer the Ghost and the Wraith.
The Ghost got its name from the original Silver Ghost, which was first produced in 1906 when the company was still Rolls-Royce Limited. It was first revealed in 2009 and has been in production since 2010. It is a four-door saloon and has a 6.6 L twin-turbo V12 engine with 563 bhp. In 2011, Rolls-Royce introduced the Ghost Extended Wheelbase, which is about 6.6 inches longer than the original, and in 2012, they introduced the option to have a two-tone color scheme.
Based on the Rolls-Royce Ghost chassis, the current Wraith shares its name with the original Wraith from 1938. This current model is a four-seat coupé and has been in production since 2013. With a 6.6-liter, twin-turbo-charged V12 engine, 624 bhp and 800 Nm of torque, the Wraith is the Rolls-Royce’s most powerful car ever.
The Silver Ghost was unveiled in 1906, right after Rolls-Royce Limited was first formed. It had a Six-cylinder engine, and was quickly called “the best car in the world” by Autocar. The car was in production from 1906 to 1926.
The 1920s brought about the Phantom I, but, at the time, it was called the New Phantom. This car replaced the Silver Ghost. It had a larger engine and pushrod-operated overhead valves. In 1929, the Phantom II emerged, and Rolls-Royce changed the New Phantom to Phantom I. The Phantom I was in production from 1925 to 1931, while the Phantom II was in production from 1929 TO 1936.
Before World War II, Rolls-Royce debuted the original Wraith, which had a 4257 cc Straight 6 engine. It was produced from 1938 to 1939. After the war, the Silver Wraith appeared to replace the original Wraith. The chassis and engine were similar to the pre-war Wraith, but the engine had a new cylinder head. Rolls-Royce produced the Silver Wraith from 1946 to 1959.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Rolls-Royce produced the Silver Cloud I, Silver Cloud II and Silver Cloud III. All were 4-door saloons but also came in a 2-door convertible or 2-door coupé. The Silver Cloud I had a 4.9-liter I6 engine with a four-speed automatic transmission, while both the Silver Cloud II and Silver Cloud III had a 6.2-liter V8 engine. The Silver Cloud I ran from 1955 to 1958, the Silver Cloud II ran from 1959 to 1962, and the Silver Cloud III ran from 1963 to 1966.
When Vickers took over Rolls-Royce, they released the Silver Spirit, which was produced from 1980 to 1999. This Rolls-Royce was the first to introduce the retractable Spirt of Ecstasy to prevent theft or injury.
Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is still running today and still produces aircraft engines as well as marine propulsion and energy. In 2011 and 2012, Rolls-Royce was the world’s 16th-largest defense contractor.
The aluminum sections and alloy parts used to build the Phantom are welded by hand. As a result, it takes two months or more to build a single Phantom.