How It All Started
In 1904, a partnership between car dealership owner, Charles Stewart Rolls, and engineer, Frederick Royce, gave birth to what was soon to become a leading car-manufacturing company. The company was named Rolls-Royce Limited.
A year before the partnership, Henry Royce, who was dissatisfied with the state of his Decauville, decided to venture in improving and designing a new type of engine. His first car, the two-cylinder Royce 10 was presented to Charles Rolls, who was the owner of a car dealership company.
Impressed with Royce’s innovations, Rolls decided to take all the cars that Royce would later make. After the Royce 10, four new models were created, a 10hp two-cylinder model, a 15hp three-cylinder model, a 20hp four-cylinder model and a 30hp six-cylinder model. These four models would soon become the basis for future car models including the Rolls-Royce armored car, which was used in both world wars.
In 1931, after the success of several models of Rolls-Royce cars, the company acquired Bentley, a rival car-manufacturing company. Since then, Bentley cars and Rolls-Royce cars were built with almost similar designs except for a slight difference in the engine and radiator grille.
At present, Rolls-Royce is still manufacturing cars, improving all its aspects to provide efficient cars that owners would be proud of.
The Spirit of Ecstasy
The Rolls-Royce cars are famous for their hood ornaments, called the Spirit of Ecstasy, which were always strategically placed in the hood. The Spirit of Ecstasy was designed and created to complement the Rolls-Royce emblem embedded in the car.
The hood ornament was created after loyal customers insisted that an emblem was not enough for a prestigious car such as the Rolls-Royce that later, these customers decided to affix personal ornaments on the hood of their cars to serve as a Rolls-Royce mascot. Because of this, Claude Johnson who was the managing director at that time, decided to commission Charles Sykes to create a mascot befitting the Rolls-Royce cars.
Johnson specified that the mascot should embody what Rolls-Royce stands for — speed in silence, the absence of vibrations, harnessing of great energy, and a beautiful creature endowed with grace.
Sykes patterned the mascot after Eleanor Thornton, recreating her figure into the form of a woman leaning forward, her arms outstretched and decorated with billowing cloth to resemble a bird in flight.
The Spirit of Ecstasy was later modified for new versions of Rolls-Royce cars. One was designed into a kneeling position, but its use was discontinued after the Rolls-Royce’s new models, Silver Dawn, Phantom IV and Silver Wraith. The mascot was then redesigned to the original version but with a much smaller version.
As of today, The Spirit of Ecstasy is created from different materials — polished stainless steel, stainless with gold plating or illuminated crystal.
Throughout history, there are about 34 models of Rolls-Royce cars, including the three versions from Bentley—Bentley 3 ½ L (1933-37), Bentley 4 ¼ L (1936-39), and Bentley 4 ¼ L Mark V—Rolls-Royce Motors—Camargue (1975-86), Silver Spirit (1980-98), Silver Seraph (1998-2002) and Corniche V (2000-02)—and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars—Phantom (2003), Phantom Drophead Coupé (2007), Phantom Coupé (2008), Ghost (2010) and Wraith (2013).
Rolls-Royce cars are categorized intro three families—Phantom, Ghost and Wraith. Rolls-Royce cars under the Phantom family were created to redefine the luxury of car models by combining modern technology and contemporary design. The models under the Phantom family are Phantom, Phantom Extended Wheelbase, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé.
The Rolls-Royce cars under the Ghost family are simply designed but with a touch of modern technology. The models under this are the Ghost Series II, Ghost Series II wheelbase and Ghost V-Specification.
Under the Wraith family, Rolls-Royce cars are designed redefine modern cars. It is created with cutting edge technology enabling control of the car through voice command.
Rolls-Royce will remain as one of the leading car-manufacturing companies in the world. With modern technology, contemporary design and visions of redefining the future of the car industry, it’s name will be engraved in the history of mankind.