Rolls-Royce Limited was a car manufacturer founded in 1904 and an aircraft engine builder from 1914 . The company was nationalized in 1971, separated into two entities in 1973, the automobile division became private under the name Rolls-Royce Motors , and the aeronautical division , now Rolls-Royce plc , remained state-owned, until to be itself privatized in 1987
In 1884 Henri Royce , begins a business of electricity and mechanics. In 1902 , this largely self-taught engineer mechanic built his first automobile in Manchester 2 . He is introduced to Charles Rolls , an aristocratic engine mad engineer, giving birth to the company Rolls-Royce founded the May 4 , 19042 . Rolls-Royce Limited was created on March 15, 1906 and transferred to Derby in 1908
Between 1904 and 1906 nineteen cars engine two-cylinders, 2 liters out of factories, followed by a few copies engine three-cylinder 3 liter and 30 HP, built in thirty copies. Dressed in a beautiful body in aluminum , the thirteenth car series, the Silver Ghost ( “ghost money”), is in the history of the automobile traveling 15,000 miles between 1 st July and the August 8 , 1907 without any mechanical failure.
The new Model 40/ 50 c is powered by a motor six-cylinder in-line 7 liters, increased to 7.4 liters in 1910 of which 6220 copies will be produced.
The July 12 , 1910, Charles Rolls kills himself in an aerial demonstration.
A more modest 20 hp , powered by a three-cylinder engine of 3.1 liters is sold to 2,890 copies. In 1929 the 20/25 succeeds him.
Between 1921 and 1931 , a plant in Springfield , Massachusetts , will produce 1,700 Silver Ghost with exclusive peculiarities.
In 1931, Rolls-Royce bought Bentley , a smaller competitor constructor experiencing financial difficulties due to the Great Depression .
Henri Royce died in 1933 but he still conceived the Merlin engine that equips the Supermarine Spitfire .
During the Second World War , the government mandated Rolls-Royce to create a shadow factory in Crewe to manufacture aircraft engines. After the war, in 1946, the Rolls-Royce and Bentley car productions were transferred to Crewe where they were able to assemble complete vehicles with bodywork for the first time. Only chassis were assembled before the war, leaving the bodies to specialized bodybuilders.
The standard bodies (called “Standard Saloon”) are made of stamped sheets, the rest of the operations are still craft. Other models remain hand-made, mostly made of aluminum sheet. With the Bentley Mark VI, the Crewe plant began its long career and, with the US market in demand, a Rolls-Royce version of the Mark VI was born under the name “Silver Dawn”.
The famous Silver Ghost and the prestigious Phantom succeeded the Silver Dawn, Silver Cloud and the famous Silver Shadow body monocoque and hydropneumatic suspension by Citroën ( 1965 ). In 1975 , is born Rolls-Royce Camargue , coached by Pininfarina . British military equipment manufacturer Vickers bought the company in 1980 . It was at this time that the Silver Spirit (short version) and Silver Spur (long version) came out replacing the Shadow models.
The Corniche, introduced in 1971 (and replacing the Silver Shadow coupe and cabriolet Mulliner Park Ward) will remain in the catalog until 1995, a longevity record for a luxury car. The Fixedhead Coupe version will be removed from the catalog in 1982 to try to save the Camargue, which has mixed success in England (the majority of copies are sold in the United States).
Spirit of Ecstasy , the famous radiator cap of the brand created in 1911 by the English artist Charles Sykes , representing a young woman with arms outstretched and dress fluttering in the wind, is a jewel of art nouveau . We will notice the particular shape of the calenders, inspired by the architecture of the Greek temples 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 . In 2011, to celebrate the centenary of the mascot, several events are organized around the world, including a great tour of London with Rolls-Royce of all times.
The founding principles of the brand, enacted by Henry Royce , were simple: “Seeking perfection in everything. Take the best of what exists and improve it. And when nothing exists, conceive it ” 7 , 8 .
The Centenary Phantom, a model that will be produced only forty copies, will mark the centenary of Rolls-Royce. In one century, the firm has manufactured some 130,000 cars.
In 1998, Vickers sold the Rolls-Royce automobile branch to the BMW group and BMW renamed it Rolls-Royce Motors Cars.