Rolls-Royce & Bentley Motorcars
The Early Cars 1904-1906
During this period, Rolls-Royce produced: seventeen 10hp two-cylinder cars; six 15hp three-cylinder cars; thirty seven 20hp four-cylinder cars; forty 30hp six-cylinder cars; and, three 20hp V8-engined cars.
40/50 hp "Silver Ghost" 1906 - 1925.
Originally 7,036 cc, in 1909 the stroke was lengthened to 4 ¾ inches to give 7,428 cc. Lighting was by acetylene but from 1914 electric lights, powered through a dynamo, were made available. Gears were initially four, but in 1909 a three speed box was fitted. This reverted to a four speed box in 1913. Artillery pattern wheels with wooden spokes were available up to 1921but wire wheels were available from 1909. The chassis frame was of channel section construction. 6173 Silver Ghosts were made in Derby, and 1703 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The 20hp engine is a conventional six cylinder, single cast-iron block with a detachable cast-iron head and has a capacity of 3,127 cc. The main distinguishing feature of the 20hp is its horizontal radiator shutters which were only changed to vertical shutters in 1928. The handbrake was moved from a central position to the right hand side in 1924 and the gear lever was also moved to the right hand side in 1925. At that time, the number of forward gears was increased from three to four. The chassis frame was of channel section construction. The earlier cars in chassis form weighed 2,305 lbs rising to 2,635lbs in the later chassis. 2940 20hps were built.
New Phantom (Phantom I) 1925 - 1929.
The Phantom I engine is of six cylinders, cast in two blocks of three, with a single, detachable, cast-iron cylinder head until 1928, when the head was made from aluminium. The chassis frame was of channel section construction very similar to the earlier Silver Ghost. Chassis weight was approximately 4,000 lbs. Maximum speed was 78mph. 2212 chassis were built in Derby and 1241 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Phantom II 1929- 1935.
The Phantom II engine is of six cylinders, cast in two groups of three, with a one piece detachable aluminium cylinder head, and has a displacement of 7668cc. A sequence starter is fitted which allows the starting gear to be engaged with the flywheel teeth before the full battery power becomes available to turn the engine. Fuel capacity is twenty gallons rising to twenty eight gallons in 1933. A unitary gearbox is fitted with a conventional propeller shaft driving a hypoid bevel back axle. A centralised chassis-lubrication system was fitted. The chassis frame was of channel section construction and weighed approximately 3,810 lbs. 1680 chassis were made, including the AJS and AMS series which were left hand drive.
Phantom III 1936- 1939.
The Phantom III engine is a 60 degree V12 with a displacement of 7,340 cc. The gearbox is separate from the engine and drives an open propeller shaft to the back axle which has hypoid bevel gears. This is the earliest Rolls- Royce with independent front suspension which is the wishbone type with oil encased-helical springs. A central jacking system is fitted, operated by a pump under the driver's seat. Never a profitable car for Rolls-Royce, it nevertheless set the standard for pre-WWII driving. When fitted with light coachwork, a speed of 100 mph was attainable. The chassis frame was of box section construction with central cruciform. Chassis weight is approx. 4,050 lbs. 717 Phantom IIIs were built.
20/25 1929- 1936.
The 20/25 engine is based upon the 20hp, enlarged to 3,669 cc. The chassis was also developed from the earlier channel section design. On the early cars the radiator shutters were hand operated but in 1932 thermostatically operated shutters became standard. The gearbox is four speed with synchromesh on third and top gears from 1932. A fully centralised chassis-lubrication system was also introduced in 1932. As with the 20hp, when not overloaded with heavy, formal coachwork, the 20/25 was fast enough for any roads of its day. Contemporary road tests gave the maximum speed as 67 mph in 1931 rising to 76 mph in 1935. The number produced was 3827.
25/30 1936- 1938.
The 25/30 engine had a capacity of 4,257 cc. Several changes were made from previous models. The familiar Rolls-Royce carburettor was dropped in favour of a Stromberg and twin SU petrol pumps replaced the Autovac. Marles steering was adopted and a Borg and Beck clutch was bought in as for the last of the 20/25s. The magneto of earlier cars was also discontinued and twin electric coils were fitted, one acting as a standby. The longstanding Rolls-Royce braking system with servo assistance driven from the gearbox was still more than adequate for the increase in performance. 1201 25/30s were built.
Wraith 1938 - 1939.
The Wraith continued with a 4¼ litre engine but the main advance was the fitting of independent front suspension using coil springs. The wheels were reduced from 19 inch (as used on the 25/30) to 17 inch. Built-in hydraulic jacks were operated by a hand-pump under the driver's seat. The Wraith was slightly heavier than its predecessor but cruising between 60 and 70 mph was possible. Somewhat underpowered compared with the larger Phantom III, the Wraith is generally accepted to be the quietest running model of Rolls-Royce. 491 Wraiths were built.
Bentley 3 1/2 1933 - 1936.
The Bentley 3½ was a high-performance development of the Rolls-Royce 20/25. The engine developed more power due to better carburation and a higher compression ratio. The chassis was smaller and lighter than the 20/25. The Bentley 3½ and the later Bentley 4¼ became known as ‘The Silent Sportscar’. This model was the ideal car for the owner driver who enjoyed high performance. 1191 were built.
Bentley 4 1/4 1936 - 1939.
Just as the 20/25 was increased in size to make the 25/30, the 3½ litre was bored-out to make the 4¼ litre. The compression ratio was increased to 6.8:1. The last two series, MR and MX, had changes to gearbox and final drive to give an overdrive top gear. These ‘overdrive’ Derby Bentleys were the final development of a direct lineage back to the 20hp Rolls-Royce of 1922.
Bentley Mk V 1939-1941
The Bentley Mk V had an engine of six cylinders in one block with a displacement of 4257cc. Due to WWII, only nineteen Mk Vs were produced (fifteen Standard and four Corniche).
Bentley MK VI & R-type 1946-1955
The Bentley Mk VI had the six cylinder 4275cc engine and had overhead inlet and side exhaust valves to give a larger valve area. The engine displacement was increased to 4566 cc in 1951. In 1952 the R type was introduced and an automatic gearbox became an option which became standard on left-hand drive cars in 1953 and on right-hand drive cars in 1954. The front brakes were hydraulic with Rolls-Royce servo-assisted mechanically operated rear brakes. 4946 Mk VI and 2320 R- types were manufactured. The Bentley MkVI was the first Rolls-Royce built car to be supplied with a body built by Rolls-Royce. However, chassis were still available for coachbuilt bodies to be fitted.
Silver Wraith 1947-1959.
The Silver Wraith was powered by the same engine as the Bentley MkVI but all had coachbuilt bodies. The chassis was offered in lengths of 200 and 206 inches. The model continued in production until 1959 using a larger 4887 cc engine to cope with the increasingly heavy coachwork that was fitted. 1144 short wheelbase and 639 long wheelbase cars were built.
Silver Dawn 1949-1955.
The Silver Dawn’s chassis and engine were almost identical to that of the Bentley MkVI. This was the first Rolls-Royce to be sold with a standard steel body, although bare chassis were still available for coachbuilt bodies to be fitted. Many of the early cars were built for export. The total number built was 785.
Silver Cloud I and Bentley S-type 1955-1959.
Using the previous 4887 cc engine, a completely new body was designed by John Blatchley for this series. Automatic transmission was standard. The rear brakes were combined hydraulic and mechanical with the usual Rolls-Royce gearbox driven servo. The top speed was 106 mph. Most cars were produced with the standard 211 inch length but some were five inches longer. In 1959 the Silver Cloud II and Bentley S II were launched. The standard steel body was the same as the earlier versions, but it was now fitted with a completely new V8 engine of 6230 cc. Self-adjusting hydraulic tappets were used and the engine was all aluminium except for the cast iron wet liners. Production numbers were: 2359 Silver Cloud; 3538 Bentley S Type; 2716 Silver Cloud II; and, 2310 Bentley S2.
Silver Cloud III and Bentley S3 1962-1966.
The Silver Cloud III and Bentley S3 were fitted with the same V8 engine as the Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2. Like its forerunner, this model was also available in chassis lengths of 211 inches and 216 inches; some coachbuilt models were produced. However, the standard steel saloon was redesigned of which the most easily identifiable features were horizontally mounted twin headlights and a lower radiator shell. The coachbuilt versions of the Silver Cloud III and Bentley S3 remained in production after the introduction of the Silver Shadow in 1965, but were discontinued in March 1966. The numbers built were: 2297 Silver Cloud III and 1630 Bentley S3
Silver Shadow I and Bentley T-type 1965-1976.
The V8 engine continued in this model series but the body was a totally different semi-monocoque construction. Hydraulic pumps operated from the camshaft powered hydraulic dampers and automatic height control. These cars were lighter and more manoeuvrable than the Silver Cloud series and the body design was yet another success for John Blatchley. Top speed was 118 mph. The numbers built were: 20,605 Silver Shadows and 1,852 Bentley T types.
Silver Shadow II and Bentley T2 1977-1981.
The Silver Shadow II and Bentley T2 were improved versions of the previous models with slight changes in external appearance, particularly wrap around black bumpers and an air dam below the front bumper to improve handling. For this model series, many hundreds of mechanical improvements had been made. The numbers built were: 8425 Silver Shadow II, 2145 Silver Wraith II and 560 Bentley T2.
Phantom IV 1950-1956.
The Phantom IV had an eight cylinder in line 5,676 cc engine. The gearbox was four speed with synchromesh on the top three gears. Steering was the Marles type cam and roller. The overall length was 229½ inches. This was the most exclusive production Rolls-Royce as it was only built for Royalty and Heads of State. Eighteen were built.
Phantom V 1959-1968
The Phantom V was fitted with the V8 engine of 6230 cc with overhead pushrods and rockers and self-adjusting hydraulic tappets. The overall length of the chassis was 238 inches which allowed large stately coachwork to be fitted. 516 were built.
Phantom VI 1968- 1991.
The Phantom VI was fitted with the 6,230 cc V8 engine and four speed automatic transmission. The chassis was box section girder with cruciform bracing. This model had improved air conditioning with separate systems for the front and rear. The Phantom VI was the last motor car with a separate chassis to be produced by Rolls-Royce. 366 were built.
The stylish two-door coachbuilt Rolls-Royce Corniche and Bentley Corniche were based on the Silver Shadow, but built by hand by Mulliner Park Ward. The Corniche was available as either a hardtop or a convertible. The car used the standard Rolls-Royce V8 engine. The bore was 4.1 in (104.1 mm) and the stroke was 3.9 in (99.1 mm) producing a displacement of 6750 cc. Twin SU carburettors were initially fitted with a single Solex 4-barrel carburetor introduced in 1975. Export models retained the twin SUs until 1980, when Bosch fuel injection was added. The numbers built were: 4432 Rolls-Royce Corniche and 140 Bentley Corniche.
The Camargue was fitted with the 6750cc V8 engine and was based on the Silver Shadow’s floorpan. However, the car was longer, wider and heavier than the Silver Shadow. The body was a five-seater, two-door coupé of monocoque construction with separate sub-frames front and rear. The Camargue was styled inside and out by the Italian styling house of Pininfarina. An unusual feature was that the famous radiator was tilted forward four degrees from the vertical. The Camargue was an expensive model. In 1982, the car cost £83,122. 526 Camargues were built which included one Bentley variant.
Silver Spirit and derivatives 1980-1989.
In 1980, the Silver Spirit was introduced to replace the Silver Shadow and was the first of a new generation of models for the company. The V8 of 6750 cc capacity continued with these cars. The body style of the Silver Spirit and its derivatives was wider and lower than the Silver Shadow. The long wheelbase version of the Silver Spirit was the Silver Spur, also introduced in 1980. The Bentley models in this range were the Mulsanne, which was the first Rolls-Royce product to be turbocharged, and the Eight. The Bentley Eight was launched in 1984 for under £50,000 to bring Bentley ownership within relatively affordable bounds. The Bentley Eight was distinguishable by its wire mesh radiator grille. Further additions to the Bentley range included the Bentley Turbo R and Brooklands. The Bentley Brooklands benefited from micro-computer technology which controlled areas including the suspension, instrument displays and air-conditioning. The 1995-99 turbocharged Mulsanne models were capable of 151mph (governed) and 0-60 could be achieved in 6.9 seconds.
Silver Spirit II and derivatives 1989-1998.
The Silver Spirit II was unveiled to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1989. It was outwardly similar to the earlier Silver Spirit but there were significant interior enhancements and all saloons now featured a new automatic ride control system. Other innovations were the adoption of ABS and fuel injection as standard for all models. The Silver Spirit III was introduced in 1993 and the final variant, the Silver Spirit IV, in late 1995.
Bentley Azure 1995-2003.
The Bentley Azure was a large, four-seat convertible based on the Bentley Continental R and later Continental T models. Pininfarina designed and built the Azure's top. Power was delivered by the 6750 cc V8, featuring a single, intercooled Garrett turbocharger, and produced 400 horsepower. Despite its size, the Azure could accelerate to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.
Silver Seraph 1998-2002.
The Silver Seraph replaced the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur model range and was the last Rolls-Royce model built at Crewe. The Silver Seraph was the first all new Rolls-Royce since the launch of the Silver Shadow more than thirty years earlier. The car was developed with help from BMW and it was powered by a 5379 cc BMW V12 engine with a Bosch Motronic 5.2.1. engine management system and electronic throttle control. The number produced was 1,400.
Bentley Arnage and derivatives 1998-
The Bentley Arnage was the stable mate of the Silver Seraph. The Arnage was powered by a BMW V8 with a Cosworth-engineered twin turbo installation. The Arnage R and T also had a V8 of 6750 cc capacity with fuel injection but used two Garrett T3 turbochargers and a Bosch Motronic ME7 engine management system. The Arnage R had a top speed of 155mph and the Arnage T a top speed of 168 mph with 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds
From 1 January 2003, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd, a subsidiary of BMW, acquired the right to name cars ‘Rolls-Royce’ and the company built a new manufacturing plant at Goodwood in West Sussex. On the same date, Bentley Motors Ltd, a Subsidiary of Volkswagen, acquired the right to name cars ‘Bentley’. Bentley Motors Ltd acquired the previous Rolls-Royce manufacturing plant in Crewe, Cheshire. For the first time since 1931, the Rolls-Royce and Bentley marques were, once again, under separate ownership. The two new companies launched their new models.
Rolls-Royce Phantom 2003-
The Rolls-Royce Phantom was launched in 2003. It was fitted with a 6750 cc 48-valve, V12 engine derived from BMW's existing N73 V12 powerplant. The Phantom was fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission and double wishbone suspension. The car could accelerate to 60mph in 5.5 seconds. The body of the car is built on an aluminium space frame. The Phantom Extended Wheelbase (EWB), 250mm (9.8 in) longer than the standard Phantom, was unveiled in March 2005 at the Geneva Motor Show. In 2007, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé was launched. The platform of the Coupé was based on the Phantom and was the Company’s latest convertible.
Bentley Continental GT 2003-
In 2003, Bentley Motors Ltd introduced the Bentley Continental GT, powered by a version of Volkswagen’s W12 engine. The 6 litre engine was twin-turbocharged, producing 552hp, giving the car a top speed of 198mph. The car was designed by Belgian designer, Dirk van Braeckel. The GT was a luxury touring two-door coupé, with a two-plus-two seating arrangement. A convertible version of the Continental GT, the Continental GTC, was introduced in 2006. The Bentley Continental Flying Spur was introduced in 2005 which was a four-door variant of the Bentley Continental GT. Permanent four wheel drive was standard. The Flying Spur had a top speed of 195mph.
Bentley Azure 2006-
In 2006, Bentley Motors Ltd unveiled a new two-door, four-seat convertible tourer model, the Bentley Azure. The Azure was based on the Bentley Arnage platform and was powered by the Bentley turbocharged V8 450 hp engine. A new six-speed automatic transmission was developed for the Azure.