Today, the name “Rolls-Royce” brings to mind luxury vehicles and timeless elegance. But back in the early 1900s, the brand was little more than a fantastical dream. Charles Stewart Rolls, the owner of numerous successful car dealerships, and Frederick Henry Royce, an engineer and automobile designer, partnered up to launch the high-end vehicle brand in Westhampnett, United Kingdom, back in 1904.
The company was officially launched in March 1906, and within a year the innovative six-cylinder Silver Ghost was revealed. The car quickly gained critical acclaim after traveling nearly 14,500 consecutive miles – breaking a world record at the time. In 1907, the car was considered the height of luxury, and would continue to be until it was eventually replaced by the New Phantom in 1925. Today, the Ghost Series II has reemerged as one of the brand’s most popular models.
World War I
As the first World War began to affect Europe, fewer people were able to afford luxury vehicles. During this time, Rolls-Royce experienced a dip in sales. Due to this fact, and because their country was in danger, Charles Rolls and Frederick Royce came together to focus their efforts on aviation innovations. They successfully created an airplane engine, the Eagle, which was used in nearly half of aircrafts used by the Allies. Although the brand is best known for their contributions to the automobile industry, Rolls-Royce continued making plane engines for decades.
1930s and 1940s
As the company helped out with aviation efforts, it also continued producing world-class automobiles. The Phantom II was regarded as a more sensible mode of transportation for upper class families in Europe than its predecessor, and they began to be popularized throughout England and France. Later, the Phantom III rose to prominence during the ‘30s, largely in part due to its powerful V12 engine. During the 1940s, the brand debuted one of its most iconic cars – the six-cylinder Silver Wraith. The original Wraith models were extremely heavy. This weight consideration led the brand to be more mindful when eventually creating newer models like the Silver Dawn, which featured more aerodynamic, lighter bodies.
Having spent nearly half a century polishing their products, Rolls-Royce found its way into the Royal Palace. Between 1950 and 1956, the brand produced just 18 models of the exclusive Phantom IV after one was requested by Princess Elizabeth in 1950. Seventeen of the cars were sold to England’s royal family. Today, this car is still considered one of the rarest Rolls-Royce vehicles in the world. The smashing popularity of the Phantom IV led the way for the powerful Phantom V, which was introduced in 1959 and featured a V8 engine.
Rise in Popularity
By the time the 1960s rolled around, the name Rolls-Royce was associated with wealth and selective status. The royal family played a large part in Rolls-Royce becoming a household name, and soon other notable figures and celebrities were scrambling to get their own set of keys to a Rolls-Royce. Despite the frequent appearances of Rolls-Royces in movies and the influential people who now supported the brand, the 1970s were a rough decade for the company. After a series of financial setbacks, it was determined that the company would be reorganized and ran as two separate businesses.
A New Beginning
After being purchased by Vickers, a British engineering company, a section of the brand was renamed Rolls-Royce Motors Limited and started producing a number of new vehicles and aircraft engines. The Thrust 2 was an especially celebrated model during this time, as was the Silver Spirit. Although the company had its share of successes during the 1980s, the brand was then bought by BMW during the 1990s. BMW is largely responsible for bringing the brand back into the global spotlight with the reemergence of the Phantom.
Since the early 2000s, numerous iconic models such as Ghost, Silver Seraph, and the Wraith have been reintroduced by Rolls-Royce. Currently, all cars are manufactured in Goodwood, England. Rolls-Royce is already considered one of the best car brands in the world – for both their groundbreaking bodies and optimal performance. However, the brand isn’t done innovating just yet; Rolls-Royce is set to release a project like nothing they’ve ever done before – a fully equipped SUV. The super-luxury car will be released in either 2018 or 2019, and is said to include features like a roaring V-12 engine, and it’s believed that a plug-in-hybrid version of the car will also be available.
Fittingly, the name Cullinan is supposed to dazzle – it’s referencing the Cullinan Diamond, which was a gargantuan gem weighing in at 3,106.75 carats. The brand boasts that the Cullinan will also be supported by aluminum space-frame architecture, and will be capable of being driven off-road thanks to a high end suspension system designed specifically for the model. Additionally, 2018 will find the brand releasing a new Phantom series, the eight iteration of the luxury sedan. The new Phantom will also feature the cutting edge space-frame technology, as well as a highly powerful 6.75-liter V-12 engine.
Looking into a Rolls-Royce vehicle? Why not take a test drive by renting a luxury car at Falcon Car Rental. When you find yourself in Southern California, be it for work or play, we offer a plethora of Rolls-Royce vehicles to choose from.