1926 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER GHOST STRATFORD DROPHEAD COUPE
COACHWORK BY BREWSTER
Chassis No. S348RL
Engine No. 22485
Maroon and black with black leather interior
Engine: six-cylinder, 7,428cc, side valves, 65bhp at 1,250rpm; Gearbox: three-speed manual with overdrive; Suspension: front, semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear, cantilever. Brakes: two wheel drum. Right hand drive.
Claude Johnson, Rolls-Royce's great marketing and promotional genius, felt that demand for Silver Ghosts in America after World War I, combined with a punishing U.S. import duty on automobiles, argued for an American-based assembly plant for Derby's motorcars. After some exploratory study a decision was taken that a Rolls-Royce of America manufacturing entity should be established. American financing was secured, capital stock issued beginning in late 1919 and suitable plant locations investigated.
Finally, in February 1920, an existing facility of the Wire Wheel Corporation of America in Springfield, Mass. was acquired. Intense work commenced in converting the plant for automotive production to Rolls-Royce standards. About one year later the first of the Springfield Silver Ghosts rolled out of the factory, beginning a Rolls-Royce manufacturing presence in the United States which was to last until the Great Depression caused it to cease in the early 1930s.
This particular Stratford bodied Ghost has an extensive and well documented history. It was originally ordered for Gustave Pabst, chairman of Blue Ribbon Brewery in Milwaukee, and was delivered in February of 1927 as a Valentine's present. The body of the car is a Stratford Convertible Coupe by Brewster, a very rare and attractive body style, of which only seven were produced, and it is thought just two exist today. The Silver Ghost for sale here is also one of the last ever built before Rolls-Royce moved to the Phantom I. The chain of ownership since Mr. Pabst is documented with letters from a few of the former owners who fondly recall the Ghost. During the 1960's it was part of the prestigious Harry Resnick Collection.
By the early 1970s the Stratford was sold to a Rolls-Royce enthusiast who had commissioned a restoration by Rolls-Royce specialist Frank Cooke. There is a full and highly detailed file with invoices and notes concerning the work done to the Stratford. During Cooke's restoration two modifications from the factory specifications were carried out; the addition of four-wheel brakes, for safety purposes, and an added overdrive to make the car pleasant for touring at high speeds and also to reduce wear and strain upon the engine. Both of these modifications met Rolls-Royce Owner's Club standards of excellence and a letter testifying to this accompanies the car.
This car has won several significant awards beginning in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. In 1978 the Silver Ghost scored 99 1/2 points out of 100 winning first place in its class. The quality of the restoration has held up so well that in more recent times, the Ghost was featured on the cover of Rolls-Royce Owners' Club News Letter of the Lake Michigan Region No. 20. Other awards include "Late Ghost" and "Most Silent Ghost", which is currently called the "John Berrymore Trophie" in 1990 at The Rolls-Royce Owners' Club 39th annual meet in Troy, Michigan. Since 1978, the Silver Ghost has been driven approximately 6,000 miles which accounts for its fine condition.