- Splendid Edwardian era Silver Ghost
- Comfortable and practical Roi des Belges coachwork
- Interesting and continuous history
Being an early example of the Silver Ghost, 1302 includes several features specific to this period of car. The radiator and engine are mounted low in the chassis and are covered by a ‘parallel bonnet’. The low bonnet line, firewall mounted instruments, wooden artillery wheels and ¾ elliptical springs characterise these remarkable Edwardian cars.
Chassis number 1302 is fitted with magnificent Roi des Belges coachwork finished with nickel fittings painted in navy blue paint with a parallel polished aluminium bonnet. It is recorded as having been on test in May 1910 and delivered to H J Mulliner in July that year for fitment of Landaulette coachwork. Chassis records also note the steering column was changed to a ‘D’ column in July 1910.
Mr. J.J. Cawthra is recorded as the first owner taking delivery of the car at 3 Park Place, St. James’s, London. It was sold via L.C. Seligmann of Glasgow by John Croall & Sons of Edinburgh, who since 1909 had been the owners of H.J. Mulliner until they sold the firm to Rolls-Royce in 1959.
Build cards document the Silver Ghost was one of many cars that were requisitioned by the War Office during the Great War and it was fitted with an ambulance body, noting “Car used by military on home or active service. European War 1914/19”.
In the post-Great War years, 1302 was furnished with a tourer body by Haywards of Wood Green. In 1935, the notable veteran car enthusiast, Douglas Melville Copley purchased the car followed by the former President of the V.C.C. Cecil Bendall who acquired the car in 1953. G.J. Willis of Wellingborough owned the car in 1959 and in 1966 it returned to the ownership of Cecil Bendall.
In 1970, 1302 was acquired by Mr. Bendall’s friend and fellow veteran car enthusiast, Alfred Essex. In the same year he drove 1302 in the V.C.C. 1,000 Miles Trial re-enactment. The following year the present Roi des Belges coachwork was built by Toby Baxter and fitted by John Mitchell of Biggleswade. It was during Mr. Essex’s ownership that the car benefited from considerable mechanical work including an engine rebore with new pistons, new kingpins, spring shackles replaced, a re-wire and other general maintenance.
Alfred Essex went on to own the car for 15 years and sold it to Ray Grant who owned 1302 for a further 19 years until 2004. The current owner decided to undertake further major work to ensure the car is in thoroughly good touring condition. At this point the car was named ‘The Silver Lion’ with many period accessories added to the car including the very rare and desirable four-leaf clover Elliot instrument cluster.
The capability of 1302 on the road is not to be underestimated, as the performance far exceeds its elementary appearance. The car’s hugely flexible, low revving engine make long distance touring an absolute pleasure. Its stunning Roi des Belges coachwork provides magical views over the car’s parallel bonnet and Grecian radiator, all from a splendid seating position.
The only way to fully appreciate such a car is to get in it and drive!