Henry Edmunds introduced Henry Royce to Charles Rolls at a luncheon in 1904. There, Royce made an agreement to produce vehicles while Rolls sold them. The first Rolls-Royce, made in 1907, was the Silver Ghost, named for its stark quietness and exemplified quality by being driven 27 times nonstop between London and Glasgow, a total of 14,371 miles.
Sadly, Charles Rolls, a former mechanical engineering student at Cambridge, was killed in a crash at an air show in 1910. Despite, Rolls-Royce was as revered for their airplanes as their cars in the 1920s. In 1929, Rolls-Royce not only won the trophy but also set air speed records with their R engine at the Intercontinental Schneider Aircraft Contest. Legend has it Royce drew-up the design in the sand with a stick at West Wittering beach.
In the 1930s the Phantom, which replaced the Silver Ghost, was named Car of the Decade. Though feisty, in 1933 Sir Henry Royce died at the age of 70. Reports claim he was working on designs even the day before.
During WW2 Rolls-Royce again lent their innovative aircraft-making skills. A Rolls-Royce Derwent V engine carried the Gloster Meteor to its achievement of 606mph.
Rolls-Royce became synonymous with royalty in 1950 with the Phantom IV being their first designed specifically for HRH Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. In the 1960s Rolls-Royce furthered their image of glamour by a Phantom II being driven by Omar Sharif and Ingrid Bergman in The Yellow Rolls-Royce, and John Lennon's hand-painted psychedelic Phantom V.
In the 1990s Rolls-Royce was bought by the BMW group, and introduced the Silver Seraph, their first new vehicle in 30 years. The 21^st Century has brought with it the new Corniche, a redesigned Phantom, and the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce, the Ghost, is being developed at the Goodwood factory in Sussex Downs.