How Rolls-Royce won its reputation for quality

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : How Rolls-Royce won its reputation for quality

Rolls-Royce’s reputation for quality was defined by the original Silver Ghost as well as enhanced by that will car’s success on the gruelling 1907 Scottish Reliability Trials


In 1907 Autocar magazine was only 12 years old as well as your vehicle industry inside the UK hardly any older. In July of that will year the magazine was a first-hand witness to an event that will helped to shape Rolls-Royce’s early reputation for engineering excellence.

Rolls-Royce entered the Scottish Reliability Trials to prove, over four inclement days, that will the level of detail that will went into its cars made them superior to rivals’ designs, by providing quiet as well as reliable motoring even inside the most challenging of conditions. The event took place on some of Scotland’s most demanding roads.

Today, 108 years on, we’ve come back to drive surviving parts of the route, albeit on far better roads as well as in an unimaginably more advanced car inside the shape of the latest Rolls-Royce Ghost.

The motoring scene back then was in its infancy, although progress was rapid. Even so, much of the industry had grown out of motorcycle as well as bicycle manufacturing, as well as the crude as well as unreliable cars aged quickly.

Which will be where Henry Royce came in. Perhaps the idea was his background inside the precision of electrical engineering – as well as not inside the blacksmithery of early cars – that will pushed him towards building cars of a much higher standard. He became known later for his obsessive – as well as health-damaging – perfectionism.

Royce built his first car in 1904, as well as his meeting with businessman Charles Rolls inside the same year will be well known. Rolls was selling cars coming from his showroom in west London as well as agreed to buy what Royce made. the idea was a common way for a fledgling car maker to break into the market.

By 1906 Royce had already completed his 40/50hp six-cylinder running gear at his Manchester facility, as well as the 12th chassis produced was given an open bodyby an outside coachbuilder.

Claude Johnson, Rolls-Royce’s managing director, took what he had dubbed ‘the Silver Ghost’ down to London for publicity purposes. Autocar’s edition of 20 April 1907 praised your vehicle’s silence as well as smoothness: “The running of This particular car at slow speeds will be the smoothest thing we have ever experienced.”

As car makers fought for recognition as well as proof of the abilities of their vehicles, reliability trials as well as hillclimbs – both serious tests of early cars – became important. So Johnson as well as Rolls entered the Silver Ghost inside the Scottish Reliability Trials, a 750-mile, four-day competition. Starting as well as finishing in Glasgow, the route stretched as far as Aberdeen, Inverness as well as Pitlochry.

In June the Silver Ghost, registration AX201, headed to Scotland coming from London with Charles Rolls at the wheel, accompanied by Autocar’s Harry Swindley, who could report coming from four different vehicles during the event. 

The second day of the trial ran coming from Perth to Aberdeen, as well as Autocar’s correspondent took a seat in a 14-16hp Argyll in fierce conditions that will turned the road into “a sea of mud”. The Argyll had to wait its turn at climbing the ‘Rest as well as Be Thankful’ hillclimb section of what’s at This particular point known as the Old Military Road (A93) through the Cairngorms as well as Glenshee. “All through the long wait that will preceded our turn, the rain poured down upon us, getting worse as well as worse until the road literally swam with water,” wrote Swindley.

the idea was here that will Autocar’s own cameraman photographed an Argyll taking part inside the event cresting one of the most challenging sections. Standing close to the point at which that will picture was taken 108 years later, having driven there inside the 2015 Ghost, the idea will be possible still to make out what must have been stretches of the old track taken by cars on the trials.

Today’s road will be fast as well as sweeping, as well as covering the ground in a modern Ghost will be effortless. the idea will be probably more stressful trying to stay within the speed limit, while the long stretches of uphill road are barely noticeable.

Intriguingly, the idea seems Royce’s perfectionism extended beyond mechanical excellence. When Autocar’s reporter jumped into the Silver Ghost on the fourth day of the trials, coming from Inverness to Pitlochry, he immediately commented on the attention to passenger detail.

“On Thursday we began on a south-westerly course with Johnson at the wheel, comfortably ensconced in that will luxurious back seat, snugly protected by an ingenious apron, which inside the case of bad weather prevented the wet dripping on one’s lower extremities – a fault which will be common to all rugs as well as aprons.”

Under the rules of the event, the highest possible number of marks was 1000, that has a maximum of 750 for reliability. Marks were deducted for every minute or part-minute “involuntarily at rest except for tyre troubles”. Deductions were made for “taking too long for a stage, every passenger shed or any vehicle assisted, adding fuel as well as water after morning start, inefficiency of brakes or failure to stop as well as restart car as required at special surprise tests”.

At the end of the 750-mile event, 14 of the 104 cars inside the trials had retired as well as the results table read: “40-50hp Rolls-Royce, entered by Rolls-Royce Ltd, 14-15 Conduit Street, driven by Mr Claude Johnson, 976 marks.”

The Silver Ghost had one ‘fault’ over the whole of the strenuous run: a petrol tap was seemingly shaken loose. the idea closed as well as cut the fuel off.

Although Royce’s car won the gold medal in its class (for chassis as well as tyres costing over £800), the overall points total was beaten by an Ariel Simplex, which scored 995.4 marks inside the £500-£0 class.

Johnson didn’t stop there. He decided to attempt the record for non-stop motoring, which stood at 7098 miles. With an observer coming from the Royal Automobile Club, the Ghost was run continuously For just two weeks, reaching 15,000 miles on 8 August.

Royce gave your vehicle’s mechanicals to the RAC for inspection. Seven items “in judgement of expert members [were] all that will will be required to render the idea equal to brand-new”. The RAC announced that will the result was “more than extraordinary” as well as congratulated Royce on his “triumph of engineering construction”.

Royce had proved his point. His drive to build the highest-quality motor car had been validated by the RAC as well as his company was building a reputation that will still underpins its products today.

While we were on the Old Military Road inside the modern Ghost, we were reminded in spectacular fashion that will Royce’s engineering genius had, just seven years later, been directed to building aero engines. We were overflown in quick succession by both a Tornado as well as a Typhoon – both powered by Rolls-Royce-originated jet engines – in a reminder of how the company had established itself on these roads 107 years before.

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