Rolls-Royce has become the embodiment of glamour, luxury and quality on four wheels. But how did it all begin?
Back when the world was black and white, there was a chap named Charles Rolls. A talented entrepreneur, Rolls took a keen interest in the newfangled motor car. He opened one of the UK’s first car dealerships and went about importing models from Europe. A year later he would meet Henry Royce.Henry was an engineer and his built dynamos and electric cranes. However, after the Second Boer War demand for his product fell and so he too took an interest in the car. He bought a couple one to find that they were rather terrible. Noisy, rough, and frightfully unreliable.
Unsatisfied with the engineering, Royce set about building his own car. He built three and named the 10hp machines after himself. One went to a colleague called Henry Edmunds who happened to know Charles Rolls. The meeting of Rolls and Royce would be the making of them.
Henry’s cars were sold under the banner of Rolls-Royce and debuted at the 1904 Paris Motor Show. In 1907 Rolls-Royce Limited was established and their cars began winning awards.
To prove how well engineered their cars were, they drove one from London to Glasgow 27 times on the trot. A distance of around 14,000 miles. In an era when cars were about as reliable as the British weather, that was mighty impressive.
Charles Rolls, as well as being a cunning businessman, was also a bit of a daredevil. He was actually the first person to fly a return trip over the English Channel. We certainly think he would approve of the Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge.