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1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

Father and the Silver Ghost in The Lane, 1952.


In 1952 Father acquired his first Rolls-Royce - a Silver Ghost. She had been a taxi but, having been built in 1919, she was deemed antiquated so they thought they ought to get rid of her. Would - er - 50 be all right?

'That's a bit steep for a car built in 1919,' said Father.

'Well . . . it had a new engine just before the war.'

'Oh, all right then.'

Thus we acquired a Rolls-Royce. The engine was still pretty good, and would still 'start on the ignition' after standing overnight. The chauffeur was supposed not to need protection from the weather, and sat in an open-sided compartment, while the passengers were cocooned in the spacious room to the rear. For communication, there was a brass microphone with mahogany mountings for the passenger, and a speaker with a brown bakelite horn by the driver's right ear. Short of turning and shouting, there was no means for the driver to communicate with the passengers.

I was privileged to drive SD many miles and terribly glad to have had a father who not only had all these cars but was only too pleased to allow me to take the wheel. When Father decided to get rid of it, it proved uphill work to find a buyer (would that he had laid her up under dustsheets!)

At last he found a film company who paid a grudging 140 for her to be disguised - they said - as a Hispano-Suiza in that baffling film with Humphrey Bogart and Robert Morley Beat the Devil (1953). Or so we always believed; for many years I was unable to take in the film because I was waiting for the appearance of the car, and after its filmic fall over the cliff I had little interest in the rest of the film.

When I last saw it, I was able to concentrate rather better and came to the conclusion that the car featured was not SD after all ...


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