The original Rolls Royce Company was the product of two car enthusiasts combining their business: Henry Royce, who manufactured the first Royce 10 in 1904, and Charles Rolls, who owned a car dealership in London. Rolls was impressed by Royce’s cars and agreed to take all of his output on the condition that the cars were badged ‘Rolls-Royce’ and sold exclusively at the Rolls dealership.
To cope with demand at the dealership, new manufacturing premises were acquired in Derby, and by 1908 the company was concentrating on their innovative six-cylinder model, which later became known as the Silver Ghost. It was upon this car that its reputation was founded, partly through its entry into popular car races and partly through its feat of being driven 15,000 continuous miles with little wear, resulting in thousands being built and sold in the first few decades of the company’s existence. Sadly, Charles Rolls himself died in 1910 following an accident in a biplane.
Rolls Royce toughened their Silver Ghost with armour for use by troops in WW1, starting a long history of supplying vehicles and engines to the armed forces. After the war, a second factory was built in Springfield, USA, to cope with the demand, and the first Phantom models began to appear, cementing the marque’s popularity. Incidentally, Rolls Royce acquired Bentley in 1931, when the latter was in financial difficulty, and only parted with them in 2002.
After more involvement with the military in WW2, Rolls Royce returned to car manufacture and developed their now signature long wheelbase frames. They introduced a more rounded shape with the Silver Cloud, as well as their first V8 engines.
By the 70’s, however, the company was in difficulty, and Rolls Royce devolved its motor car arm from the other parts of the business. This new company thrived, producing cars such as the Corniche, the Silver Shadow II and the Silver Spur, which set them up as the perfect choice for the emerging ultra-luxury market in the 1980s.
Since then the company has built on its reputation for luxury, with ever more beautiful, comfortable and powerful cars. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004 with a limited-edition Phantom Silver, and continues to produce new and exciting cars that dominate the high end market today. Climb into a Rolls Royce and you’ll immediately understand what a difference the company’s commitment to craftsmanship and quality makes – these are quite simply an outstanding choice for luxury travel, whether for a special occasion or simply chauffeur hire, and Signature are proud to have four of these outstanding luxury Rolls Royce hire cars on fleet. Watch out for the Rolls Royce Wraith hire car, coming soon to the Signature Experience Centre.