Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

Previous Next

Lot 131

1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer by Hemmings

  • Chassis no. 35PB
  • Engine no. 29N

Sold for $726,000

40/50 hp, 7,428 cc L-head inline six-cylinder engine with cylinders cast in two blocks, three-speed manual transmission, live front axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, live rear axle with cantilever leaf springs, and rear-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 143.5 in.

  • Originally delivered to British automaker F.W. Berwick
  • Long-term American ownership history
  • Handsome proper tourer coachwork by noted Silver Ghost specialist David Hemmings
  • Beautiful and correct cosmetic and mechanical restoration; wonderful presentation
  • A veteran of numerous long-distance tours and rallies

Copies of the factory build records, acquired from the Rolls-Royce Foundation and the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club (Hunt House), depict that 40/50 HP “Silver Ghost” chassis number 35PB was commissioned by F.W. Berwick & Company of London, with delivery to their address at 18 Berkeley Street on 30 May 1914. The car was ordered as the 143½-inch wheelbase “Landaulet chassis,” with “sloping bonnet and dashboard,” Dunlop detachable wire wheels, and Lucas dynamometer, and with all of its trim in polished nickel. The original coachbuilder is not specifically noted, but historian John Faisal, in his book The Edwardian Rolls-Royce, identifies the first body as a landaulette by H.J. Mulliner, tested 4 April 1914, right on schedule for delivery to Mr. Berwick.

It is interesting to note that F.W. Berwick was the importer of the French Corre la Licorne automobile, and in 1913 had become a partner in the construction of the Sizaire-Berwick, a large luxury automobile produced in France but sold mainly in the United Kingdom. Some of the factory documentation for this Silver Ghost note the buyer as “Sizaire Berwick,” which along with the car’s delivery to a business address, indicates that Mr. Berwick may have been studying his competition.

Subsequent ownership is noted by Mr. Faisal as Mrs. Robert Glen of Glasgow, Scotland, followed by her husband, Captain Robert Glen, who owned the car in London in 1916. The car is believed to have then been among those exported to the United States by New York dealer R.W. Schuette, who made something of a specialty of bringing used Silver Ghosts “across the pond” during this period. Following ownership by a Mr. or Mrs. Davis, it was sold on 12 February 1925, to Llewellyn Williams of Brooklyn. By this time, it was wearing a more modern but rather ungainly coupe body, built by New York coachbuilder Locke, in lieu of the original Mulliner landaulet.

In June 1954, York Corporation of New York City wrote Rolls-Royce, requesting information to assist in the aid of the car’s return to England; Mr. Williams had given the car to a friend of his, E.M. Heap, who wished to take it back to England. Whether the Silver Ghost actually made it back across the Atlantic is not known, but if so it was a short sojourn, as in 1964 the car was purchased by Robert Knies of Greenville, New York, still carrying its Locke body.

Between 2000 and 2005, the car was completely restored for a new British owner by the noted Silver Ghost specialist David Hemmings, photographic documentation of which is on file. As part of this work, the engine was fully rebuilt; the rear axle disassembled, cleaned, repaired as necessary, and reassembled; the gearbox rebuilt, with all-new bearings; and, most prominently, this handsome new tourer body built and installed, using proper and correct original methods and materials. In this form, the car reportedly undertook a 1,500-mile tour from England to the South of France, and then back to England, as well as a 1,200-mile tour of Northern England and the Scottish Borders.

In 2005 the car returned to the United States, with its acquisition by the American Silver Ghost collector Michael Sierra. It then passed in 2011 to longtime Rolls-Royce Owners Club stalwart Frank Allocca, who submitted the car to Gaslight Auto Restoration of Stewartsville, New Jersey, for a complete bare-metal refinish in the current color scheme, in dove grey with black fenders, and correct button-tufted black leather upholstery under a black canvas top. In this form the car, having been thoroughly prepared, was acquired by Orin Smith, in whose noted collection it has remained since.

The car remains in thoroughly excellent, fresh condition throughout, and is very clean and largely authentic, with the presentation one would expect of a car owned by so many authorities of the marque. For instance, the fan belt under the bonnet is a proper linked belt, which is rarely seen even on the best Silver Ghost restorations. Accessories include correct C.A.V. headlamps and “diver’s bell” tail lamps, while the rear compartment is beautifully appointed with rich solid walnut cabinetry, containing a drinks cabinet and a pair of especially sturdy folding jump seats. The dashboard instruments are charming and era-correct, as is the proper “fishtail” exhaust fitted at the rear.

Overall, this well-known and much-loved car has a very authentic appearance, both inside and out, and would satisfy any Silver Ghost connoisseur on concours field or open road.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more