Rolls-Royce Limited was a British car, and from 1914, aero-engine manufacturing company founded in 1906. The company split into Rolls-Royce plc and Rolls-Royce Motors in 1973.
The original company became defunct in 1987.
The company was founded by Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, after the pair were introduced in 1904 by Rolls’ friend and car showroom owner Henry Edmunds at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, United Kingdom.
The meeting led to an agreement that Rolls would exclusively sell as many cars as Royce could produce. According to Rolls-Royce’s official history, the pair agreed to manufacture the “best car in the world.”
This union brought together the engineering brilliant of Royce with the business acumen of Rolls. The latter in particular would aid the company’s legendary financial performance.
The Silver Ghost (1906-1925)
Rolls-Royce Ltd’s first motor car was The Silver Ghost (1906-1925), on which the company’s early reputation was largely built.
The Silver Ghost had a 6-cylinder engine and, as early as 1907, the fledgling automotive manufacturer was collecting awards for outstanding engineering excellence and reliability.
In 1931 Rolls-Royce acquired Bentley, when the latter company was ailing due to the Great Depression.
Forming of Rolls-Royce Motors in 1973
In 1971 Rolls-Royce was nationalised and in 1973 Rolls-Royce Motors was formed as a separate entity from the aircraft and marine engine business.
Rolls-Royce was later acquired by Vickers and sold to Volkswagen in 1998 – although they didn’t have rights to the company trademark or logo.
On January 1, 2003 a new agreement between Volkswagen and BMW was struck, with Volkswagen retaining the name Bentley and BMW acquiring the name Rolls-Royce.
BMW produced its first Rolls-Royce later that year, the Phantom.
‘World's most expensive Rolls-Royce’
A bespoke, one-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce built in 1934 for famed Rolls-Royce collector Hans-Gunther Zach’s private collection was auctioned for an estimated £8.5 million in August, 2009.
The 1934 Phantom II 40/50 HP Continental 'All-Weather Convertible' Rolls-Royce had previously appeared in the Rolls-Royce museum in Muhlheim in Germany.
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