Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost ‘Piccadilly’ Roadster

This Rolls-Royce 40/50hp was owned by Hollywood director Josef von Sternberg who purchased it in 1929. The following year, 1930, von Sternberg welcomed German actress Marlene Dietrich to Hollywood where he would present her with a Rolls-Royce of her own finished in green metalflake paintwork, the flakes of metal in the paint being gold.

You will find our Revivaler post on that car if you click here.

Poster for Josef von Sternberg's classic movie "The Blue Angel" starring Marlene Dietrich. (Picture courtesy themindreels.com).

Poster for Josef von Sternberg’s classic movie of 1930 “The Blue Angel” starring Marlene Dietrich. (Picture courtesy themindreels.com).

Whilst this car was in Josef von Sternberg’s ownership it wore different coachwork, that of a Stratford Convertible Coupé by Brewster. Josef von Sternberg sold the car in 1932 however and a Los Angeles dealer who purchased it decided to have the coachwork refreshed into a slightly different style. So he had the car’s current Piccadilly Roadster bodywork installed to give the car a more unique look. The re-styling caught the eye of another Hollywood figure, that of Oliver H P Garrett, a screenwriter who is most famous for his work in collaboration with Joseph L Mankiewicz to create the screenplay for “Manhattan Melodrama” which was released in 1934. Garrett and Mankiewicz shared an Oscar for Best Screenplay for that movie.

This 40/50hp Rolls-Royce has a typical Rolls-Royce interior of the twenties and early thirties.

This 40/50hp Rolls-Royce has a typical Rolls-Royce interior of the twenties and early thirties.

Oliver H.P. Garrett took delivery of this car at Paramount pictures and as it had previously been owned by Josef von Sternberg it was in a sense like a lady coming home, but wearing a different outfit.

The 40/50hp Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost chassis design goes all the way back to the London Motor Show of 1906 and was in regular production up until 1926. The chassis and engine underwent various improvements during production and were even used to create the Rolls-Royce Armored Cars of the First and Second World Wars. The 40/50hp Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was also the car T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia) used in his desert campaigns against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

T.E. Lawrence and driver in Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost with wartime coachwork during the Desert Campaign against the Ottoman Turkish Empire. (Picture courtesy stamfordadvocate.com).

T.E. Lawrence and driver in Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost with wartime coachwork during the Desert Campaign against the Ottoman Turkish Empire. (Picture courtesy stamfordadvocate.com).

So the Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost was a car that did not just take part in movie dramas, it took part in real life dramas as well. They were built to be “The best car in the world” and they lived up to that reputation.

The heart of the Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost is its six cylinder side valve engine, ultra smooth, ultra reliable.

The heart of the Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost is its six cylinder side valve engine, ultra smooth, ultra reliable. Note the use of double spark plugs to ensure reliable and consistent ignition.

The Rolls-Royce 40/50hp is a car with a superb pedigree and they have featured in some of the most momentous events in world history and have been owned and used by larger than life characters both in the world of entertainment and in the real world. The Rolls-Royce 40/50hp is the car that made the name Rolls-Royce world famous.

The Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost has good ground clearance and, despite being a "luxury car", was built to be a rugged go almost anywhere motor car that one could drive from London to Peking and back again.

The Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost has good ground clearance and, despite being a “luxury car”, was built to be a rugged go almost anywhere motor car that one could drive from London to Peking and back again.

The “Reuter Red” 1926 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster featured in our photographs is a beautiful example of one of these cars from its final year of production and thus in its most refined form.

This car was sold to Rolls-Royce collector Robert Atwell of Kerrville, Texas, in the late sixties and he sent the car to Reuter Coach Works of New York for restoration. It was during that work that the car was painted in its “Reuter Red” color scheme. so this car has a forty year old restoration but still looks fresh as if it had been restored far more recently – the sign of a high quality restoration job.

Dashboard detail gives an idea of just how good this sixties vintage restoration work has been.

Dashboard detail gives an idea of just how good this sixties vintage restoration work has been.

In more recent times this car passed into the ownership of Belgian collector Andre Plasch who sent the car to Wildae Restorations of Braunton, North Devon for a complete mechanical overhaul. So this car is both beautifully restored in its bodywork and interior but also has been brought up to top operating condition mechanically.

Behind the main passenger compartment is a "Dicky Seat" providing additional seating if required.

Behind the main passenger compartment is a “Dicky Seat” providing additional seating if required.

This car is coming up for auction by Bonhams at their December Sale to be held at London, Olympia on 7th December 2016.

You will find the sale page for this car with further details if you click here.

The sale price for this car is expected to be in the range £250,000 – £280,000

This is an opportunity to purchase a classic Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost with unusual coachwork that has been owned by notable Hollywood personalities.

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(All pictures courtesy Bonhams unless otherwise marked).

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