The ex-Barbra Streisand
1926 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER GHOST SEVEN PASSENGER BERWICK SEDAN
COACHWORK BY ROLLS-ROYCE CUSTOM COACH WORKS
Chassis No. S128ML
Silver with red vinyl interior
Engine: six cylinder, side valves, 7,428cc., 65bhp at 1,250rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: front, semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear, cantilever; Brakes: two wheel drum. Left hand drive.
The 40/50hp model was introduced to the world at the 1906 London Motor Show at Olympia, and it swiftly established itself as the ultimate in luxury motoring, being credited with the title The Best Car in the World. The automotive world was impressed with the car's mechanical integrity, the degree of which had never been seen before. Henry Royce, the designer, compounded the triumph with superb electrics, an unusually fine carburetor and roller cam followers on little arms which have delighted Rolls-Royce enthusiasts ever since. Early tests and trials established the car's total reliability, silence and flexibility. The success of the new car, called the Silver Ghost because of the dramatic paint and plating of the 13th chassis (still in possession of the Company), caused Rolls-Royce to standardize one model in March 1908. It remained in production from 1907-1926.
Claude Johnson, Rolls-Royce's great marketing and promotional genius, felt that the demand for Silver Ghosts in America after World War I, combined with a punishing U.S. import duty on automobiles, called for an American-based assembly plant for Derby's motor cars. After some exploratory study, a decision was made that a Rolls-Royce of America manufacturing entity should be established. In February 1929, an existing factory in Springfield, Massachusetts was acquired. About one year later, the first of the Springfield Silver Ghosts rolled out of the factory to begin a Rolls-Royce presence in the United States that would last until the Great Depression.
This particular Silver Ghost was, according to its build sheet, bodied new by Rolls-Royce Custom Coach works as a Salamanca Permanent and delivered new to Mr. Charles Blyth of San Mateo, California in April 1926. Currently the car carries another Custom Coachwork design, that of a Berwick Sedan. While many Silver Ghosts eventually had their coachwork updated, it seems strange that the Berwick style, a contemporary and less flamboyant style to the Salamanca Permanent, would have been later fitted to this chassis. Perhaps the order from new for this car was changed at the Springfield coachbuilders.
Christie's had the pleasure of successfully selling this car to Ms. Barbra Streisand in the well known 'Bud Cohen' auction in Los Angeles in February 1979. The Rolls-Royce was not part of Mr. Cohen's collection, but had been privately entered in the sale. At that time it was catalogued as having only 49,000 miles and three owners from new. Today our research shows that the Berwick sedan must have been modified in its earlier life as the roof line has been lowered by a few inches, the peak was removed and the top was finished in vinyl. It is assumed that this modernization was carried out in either the 1950s or early 1960s and perhaps this work was carried out by Bohman & Schwarz. In the late 1970s Hill & Vaughn performed a partial restoration upon the car refinishing the silver body paint and repolishing the aluminum polished hood.
This Rolls-Royce remained with Barbra Striesand at her California home until March 1994. During her fifteen years of ownership the car was used very sparingly. Christie's once again sold the car in 1994, this time in a New York sale along with the contents of one of her houses. The new owners have also rarely used the car and are selling as they too have sold their current home. The mileage indicated today is just 49,316 and it appears that the Rolls-Royce has only covered around 300 miles since 1979. Judging by the condition today this mileage seems quite feasible as generally the paintwork is still highly presentable. The car is currently fitted with 21 inch tires and does not have radiator shutters. This Silver Ghost has an interesting provenance and will no doubt be much admired wherever it is driven.