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HomeCar CultureSilver Ghost 1701 repeats London to Edinburgh drive, 110 years later

Silver Ghost 1701 repeats London to Edinburgh drive, 110 years later

Rolls-Royce re-enacts historic run, this time with a fleet of vintage Ghosts and a brand new one

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In 1911, in a show of the vehicle’s speed and reliability, Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 1701 was entered in the London-Edinburgh Trial, a test that presented early motorcars on a nearly 800-mile challenge, a challenge made more difficult because gearboxes were required to be locked into top gear throughout the drive.

Not only did that Silver Ghost win the event, but earlier this month it repeated the run, accompanied by other vintage Ghosts and one of the newest of Rolls-Royces.

“The Silver Ghost is arguably the most famous Rolls-Royce model of all time,” said Rolls-Royce spokesman Andrew Ball. “It was through its success in the early trials of speed, reliability and endurance that it earned Rolls-Royce its reputation as ‘the best car in the world.’ 

Silver Ghost 1701
1701 on the route

“Winning the 1911 London-Edinburgh Trial was a landmark moment for Silver Ghost 1701. That the same car, now a priceless collector’s item, can repeat the endeavor 110 years later is testament to its remarkable engineering, materials and build quality.”

Rolls-Royce noted that the Silver Ghost 1701 was designed as an “experimental speed car” and that, “given the primitive state of Britain’s Edwardian roads, its average speed of 19.59 mph was highly impressive – and it’s then unheard‑of fuel efficiency of over 24 mpg even more so. 

“To prove that the car had not been modified in any way, it achieved 78.2 mph on a half-mile speed test conducted immediately after the Trial. It also became the first Rolls-Royce to exceed 100 mph in a later test at the fabled Brooklands circuit in Surrey.”

The British luxury car manufacturer said it kept the recent re-enactment as faithful to the 1911 event as possible, following the original Great North Road route “as closely as practicable” and once again, “locked in top gear just as it was 110 years before.”

Silver Ghost 1701
Silver Ghost 1701

One difference with the re-enactment was 1701’s companions on the recent drive. The 20-Ghost Club, comprised of early Ghosts and their owners, went along with nine vintage vehicles, and Rolls-Royce also sent one of its newest Ghosts along as well on the two-day drive from the Royal Automobile Club headquarters to the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Edinburgh offices. 

“Silver Ghost 1701 has a unique and special place in the marque’s history and affections,” Andrew Ball noted. “It’s difficult to think of many machines that can still perform exactly as they did 110 years ago. This extraordinary car is a remarkable tribute to our predecessors who designed, engineered and built it.”

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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