Arguably the most famous partnership in automotive history belongs to Rolls Royce. Having acquired a Deauville car, Henry Royce was so dissatisfied that he decided to build his own; somewhat of a perfectionist his first car, the 10hp, ran with unsurpassed precision. It would impress many, none more so than one Charles Rolls, who offered to sell as many cars as Royce could manufacture. A partnership was formed, and Rolls Royce born. At first there would be only one model, a running chassis 40/50 that required the purchaser to obtain a body from a coachbuilder (a practice not uncommon for the time). As demand grew, the company would move from Manchester to Derby, then came the smaller Twenty, powered by a new overhead valve six of 3.1 litres, which would grow to 4.3 litres by 1936.
The 40/50 was replaced by the awesome 7.6 litre Phantom, which featured a hypoid rear axle with allowed the body to sit lower on the car, resulting in a significant handling
improvement; this would be the last car designed by Royce, he passing in 1933. Subsequent exports to the US market would ensure the marques survival through the difficult depression years, there even being a factory set up in Springfield Massachusetts (in 1919) to build cars not only designed for US conditions, but to avoid the crippling US Tariff’s.
The Phantom III of 1935 was powered by a V12 to help it compete with the best Detroit could offer, it fitted with independent front suspension
. The company would garner a stellar reputation during the Second World War with the Merlin engines fitted to Britain’s Spitfire fighter and Lancaster bomber. After the war Rolls Royce switched to providing their cars with factory fitted bodies, each built with the same care and precision that went with the chassis and engines. It has always been the case that Britain has produced the finest in quality combined with upper-class, the Silver Ghost, Silver Cloud and Silver Shadow are without peer, and only one company would have dared manufacture cars of this ilk, one founded by a perfectionist of course.
Also see: The Spirit of the Silver Ghost - The Rolls Royce Story (USA Edition)