Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Birthday R-R

Rolls Royce
Originally uploaded by chicagoschraders

104 years ago today manufacturer Charles Stewart Rolls and auto car seller Henry Royce formed the Rolls-Royce Limited car company. Originally, the company built the engine and chassis. Customers would have to contract with coach builders to get a body built for their cars. By the 1950s the company was building its own car bodies.

The Rolls-Royce Limited company finally went defunct in 1987 but not before it had purchased the Bentley Car company during the Great Depression and had diversified its business into air craft engines. During WWII R-R built engines for the famous P51 Mustang. The aircraft engine company, Rolls-Royce PLC, continues to operate.

Personally, I've never been enamored with the brand. I know their very early cars were some of the best built cars at the time and were fast for their day. Still, I can't help but think the brand has been living on its laurels for decades. A friend told me once that his father's friend, who owned a Rolls-Royce, claimed in an emergency he'd jump in his Chevy over the R-R. He trusted his Chevy to start. And this was in the 1980s. Not what one would call GM's heyday.

Rolls-Royce branded cars continue to be produced today by the BMW Group.



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