If you attended Motorclassica in 2017, you may remember this car, as it was the Best in Show winner that year.
Fully restored by owner David Berthon over a 15-year period, this 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost London-to-Edinburgh Continental is one of 188 built, of which only six are known to survive today. The model took its name from Rolls-Royce’s victory over arch rival Napier in an RAC-observed test from London to Edinburgh in 1911.
With engine, transmission and running gear changes made to improve performance, what’s notable with these cars is that they were the only Rolls-Royces to officially enter – and win - a grand prix, albeit the 1913 Spanish Grand Prix, which was closer to an observed trial than a grand prix in the accepted sense.
This particular car started its life in London with a Connaught Torpedo body and was requisitioned for use by the British Army in World War I. In 1925, it was imported to Australia by a Sydney doctor and fitted with a touring body by Properts’ Motor Body Works in Newtown. In subsequent years, it would be rebodied multiple times and serve as a mourning car for a funeral parlour and even a tow truck before it was abandoned. Rediscovered in the 1960s, the Rolls was fitted with the touring body, produced by Peel’s of Brisbane in the style of a 1913 Sunbeam, that it wears today.
Berthon acquired the car in 2001 and showed admirable devotion and patience over the course of the 15-year-restoration, which was undertaken by two Victorian-based specialists.
A worthy winner in the I.C.B.M. class, this car was also the A Lange & Söhne People’s Choice winner and Best in Show runner-up.