- A totally original and unrestored car
- Chassis 2644 laid untouched for 45 years in storage
- Fully known history from new
- Wonderful Barker Landaulette coachwork
This grand 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is like no other. Presenting today in an incredibly well-preserved condition, 2644 bears all its original spender, charm, and patina. Throughout its 110-year history the remarkable condition can be attributed to the care and conservation of its few previous owners and the 45 years of its life locked away in a windowless garage resting on axle stands.
Being an Edwardian period Silver Ghost, 2644 includes several features specific to this period of car. The 20″ radiator and engine are mounted low in the chassis and are covered by a ‘parallel bonnet’. The low bonnet line, firewall mounted instruments, and wooden artillery wheels characterise these remarkable cars.
On test at the beginning of October 1913, 2644 was ordered by Sir Thomas Jackson of Stansted House, Essex. He began his career as a banker in 1860 in his native Ireland. As soon as 1865 he had relocated to Hong Kong to join the newly created HSBC, quickly working his way up to the position of chief manager at the age of 35. He held this executive position at the bank for a quarter of a century, and in 1899 was knighted, presumably for his services to banking. No less than three years later when he retired, Jackson returned to the UK and was listed in the 1902 Coronation Honours list becoming the 1st Baronet of Stansted House, Essex
2644 was ordered with A-type steering, nickel fittings, Warland Artillery wheels and dark blue coachwork. The chassis was sent to Barker’s on 31st October 1913 and fitted with seven-seater Landaulette coachwork with space to accommodate light luggage. 1913 was the time of the transition between the use of acetylene for headlamps and electric lighting. Therefore, the chassis was originally constructed without electric lighting equipment.
The Rolls-Royce build records note an order for the installation of a C.A.V. “G” Type dynamo and lighting system after Barker had finished building and mounting the coachwork. Due to this change in specification, the electrical configuration and wiring harness are laid out in the car in an unusual route. The battery on the driver’s side running board was originally 8-volts and powers only the trembler coil ignition through a two-wire, non-grounded system. On the left-hand running board there is a much larger battery box built with 6 partitions for a 12-volt battery (2-volts per glass cell). This battery powers the C.A.V. system. It is also a two-wire system with no chassis earth.
This incredibly unique arrangement allows the two electrical systems to remain separate, operating via a switch box located on the centre of the firewall. The two-way switch is labelled ‘Ignition’ and ‘Lights’, enabling the C.A.V. dynamo to charge either the left battery or the right battery while keeping the two systems otherwise electrically isolated. An unusual feature on what is a late parallel bonnet Silver Ghost.
Sir Thomas died in 1915 and the car was sold to the Norwegian, P. M. Matthiessen in 1919. He at the time lived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne where he ran a large shipping company. 2644 was eventually exported to Oslo in Norway when Matthiessen relocated back home. It was in the 1920s that 2644 had a second body built by a local coachbuilder in Oslo. This was an open tourer body reserved for the warmer summer months, and the original Barker body was used in the winter. The summer body has long since gone and thanks to the next owner, the original coachwork has remained on the car ever since.
Mr. Geir Hvoslef purchased 2644 in 1948. There is a photograph of him with the car carrying both its summer and winter bodies. He was a keen veteran car enthusiast and the chairman of the Norwegian Historic Automobile Club.
In 1954 Mr. Fritjof Lind, the chairman of Esso Norway bought the Silver Ghost. With Esso products at his disposal, it is noted that Lind wanted to ensure 2644 was running the best it could. He oversaw light recommissioning and service work, carried out presumably by his employees at Esso using only Esso products. He participated in some of Norway’s first veteran car rallies with the car. Without doubt Lind shaped the future of 2644 more than those who came before him.
The beginning of the 1960s saw the fortunes of 2644 take an unlikely turn. Carrying the original coachwork, Lind had the car encased in a purpose-built garage in the basement of a house in the suburbs of Oslo. The car, placed on axle stands with its fluids drained, stayed there under lock and key, for the next 45 years, passing through three generations of the same family.
Fast forward to 2009, the car emerged from its decade’s long hibernation. Exported to its new home in California by the well-known Rolls-Royce enthusiast David Morrison, 2644 was soon on show delighting the audiences of Pebble Beach and winning 1st place at the Newport Concourse of that year. Handwritten notes by Morrison detail the timeline of events that led to these shows including the recommissioning work carried out and the first time the engine was started in 46 years.
Since 2013 and under new ownership, the car has been back in the UK and continued to be lovingly preserved and maintained. Due to this car’s incredible originality, there is an extra special feel from behind the wheel. Driving a car that retains this amount of period Rolls-Royce factory fitted parts is an experience incomparable to any other Silver Ghost. The low compression engine performs remarkably well, and the softly sprung chassis offers the passengers a luxurious traveling experience. The large history file and a comprehensive Rolls-Royce tool kit further complement this car.