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Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Silver Ghost Shooting Brake

This Rolls-Royce ‘shooting brake’, or hunting car, reflects the wealth of the nobility.

Gun boxes over the rear mudguards, a roof rack to transport the game and a stag’s head as a radiator mascot – the famous ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ was to be introduced a year later.

The landowner John Charles Montagu-Douglas-Scott, seventh Duke of Buccleuch and ninth Duke of Queensberry, great-uncle of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and the descendant of four British monarchs, commissioned this Rolls-Royce in 1910. The bodywork was made by the Scottish coachbuilders to HM The King, Croall & Croall in Kelso.

The six-cylinder Rolls-Royce 40/50-HP was launched at the 1906 London Motor Show. The twelfth example of the model was finished in aluminium paint and was given the name ‘Silver Ghost’, a reference both to its colour and its exceptional quietness of operation. This car covered 24,000 kilometres in a reliability trial in 1907, without mechanical breakdown. Up to then, no car had achieved even half that distance.

The poor roads however did necessitate twenty-nine tyre changes. Only a few parts that showed signs of wear needed to be replaced, at a total cost of two pounds sterling. In honour of this great achievement which justified the claim that the Rolls-Royce was ‘The Best Car in the World’, the name ‘Silver Ghost’ was applied to all 40/50-HP models. This is the third oldest surviving Silver Ghost with original bodywork.

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