- An exemplary and unique car, having the ultimate specification, combined with remarkable history and provenance, whilst remaining completely original
- Rolls-Royce chassis cards confirm ‘Speed Model chassis’ with an ‘Alpine Eagle engine’
- Believed to have covered only 65,000 miles from new and in current ownership for 46 years
- Faultlessly toured across Europe, America and participated in the 2013 Alpine Tour
Wonderfully summarised by J. N. Harley in 1976, “it is our opinion that the car is completely authentic to all intents and purposes. The coachwork is original and in excellent condition. There does not appear to be any modifications carried out on any part of the coachwork or chassis”. Hartley goes on to say in his report, “58 UE stands head and shoulders above most of its vintage brethren and as an investment, must rank with the best pre-World War I Silver Ghosts extant”.
It is true to say the car still survives in this condition today, with similar compliments in the history file being repeated by P & A Wood some years later.
The ‘High Speed Alpine Eagle’ chassis superseded the legendary London to Edinburgh model. In the 1913 Alpine Trial Rolls-Royce entered a team of specially prepared Colonial London to Edinburgh chassis, cars which had an enhanced specification including high compression pistons, greater ground clearance, four speed gearboxes, 22″ radiators and greater capacity fuel tanks. It was the success and dominance in this international event which confirmed Rolls-Royce as makers of the ‘best car in the world’ requiring no further factory supported participation in competitive events. After such a supreme performance, Rolls-Royce no longer offered an L to E model. They produced a limited number of sports specification chassis to the same basic specification as the Alpine team cars, the model being named ‘Alpine Eagle’.
Few cars have a fully documented history confirming the car had only covered 10,000 miles by 1951, and 35,000 miles by 1977 when 58 UE was acquired by the present owner. Today the car has covered only 65,000 miles and remains in superb, unrestored condition.
The Rolls-Royce build cards give an exciting insight into the specification of this Silver Ghost. “Chassis to be built for Speed” and specified with a ‘high speed Alpine Eagle engine’, ‘light springing’ and steering in the low raked ‘D’ position. The car is fitted with stunning lightweight Torpedo Sports Touring coachwork by Barker. This body style with concealed door hinges and no external door handles represents the epitome of the post-war Alpine Eagle style, and arguably the ultimate incarnation of the sporting Silver Ghost.
Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of this Silver Ghost’s history is that the first owner, Mr. T. A. Stuttard who lived in Mr. Royce’s former home of Brae Cottage built by Royce in 1898. The Stuttard family had a passion for Rolls-Royce cars owning no less than 11 in the pre-war years, and as shown by the specification of 58 UE they had an eye for perfection. In 1941 during World War II, the car was evacuated to Llandudno for safekeeping and was subsequently stored there until 1951 when Stuttard sold the car to LLandudno hotelier, Mr. H. Wood for £40 having covered just 10,000 miles from new. Wood only owned the car for a year covering just 400 miles. The third owner, Mr. Broughton was a member of Birmingham Council and kept the car for twelve years. The fourth owner, Mr. King covered approximately 7,000 miles in ten years, whist the fifth owner, Mr. P. J. Evans, kept the car for just two years covering around 250 miles. The current custodian has gone to huge lengths to research the preceding history, writing letters to all former owners obtaining much information about the car’s past.
Being a post-war Silver Ghost, this car benefits from further improvements including concentric rear brakes, a starting carburetor and most importantly, genuine Rolls-Royce electrical equipment including a self-starter. These features were milestone improvements made to the Silver Ghost, advances that are sometimes overlooked. Furthermore, by the early 1920s, coach-builders were honing their designs resulting in 58 UE’s coachwork being far more comfortable and practical than the earlier London to Edinburgh style. The earlier designed bodies are very narrow, offering less space with low sides resulting in poor protection from the elements. This Alpine Eagle in contrast will make long distance touring an effortless joy, even in less favourable climates.
There are few cars to which this example can be compared, and not just with regard to its sporting specification and wonderful provenance. 58 UE is furthermore a fabulous car to drive, being a low mileage, unrestored car, having a special feel often not present in restored examples. For many years, the best restorers have considered this car to be a benchmark example.
The above notes are merely a brief summary of 58 UE’s remarkable history. The vast history file which accompanies the car includes letters, period photographs, invoices, articles and technical documentation.
We believe this significant car represents the best of the Silver Ghost in terms of development and sporting specification, whilst remaining highly original and glorious to drive. Cars of this standing rarely come to market.