Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly
John J. Musker, Norfolk, UK (acquired new via Thrupp & Maberly in 1912)E.W. Butcher, Suffolk, UK (acquired in 1946)Ewart Bradshaw, Preston, UK (acquired in 1954)K. Marsden, UK (acquired from the above in 1964)Fred MacDonald, Port Credit, Canada (acquired from the above in 1964)Gordon E. Smith, Orillia, Canada (acquired circa 1964)Ben Paul Moser, Santa Barbara, California (acquired in 1970)Anthony Michaels, Hampstead, London, UK (acquired from the above in 1970)Dr. Gerald Moore/Heathfield Park Motor Museum, Sussex, UK (acquired in 1973)P.F. Green, UK (acquired in 1977)Lips Autotron Museum, Drunen, Netherlands (acquired in 1978)Manfred Dolleschell, Verl, Germany (acquired in 1990)Daniel Sielecki, Buenos Aires, Argentina (acquired in 2003)David Harrison, Corby, Northamptonshire, UK (acquired in 2005)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2004 (Co-Chairman’s Trophy)Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2016
Debuted at the 1906 Olympia Motor Show, the 40/50 HP chassis – commonly known as the Silver Ghost – remains the bedrock of the Rolls-Royce mystique. Immediately acclaimed by the press and buyers alike, the 40/50 HP model’s prowess was demonstrated by a succession of record-setting long-distance tours, rallies, and publicity events orchestrated by Rolls-Royce Managing Director Claude Johnson. An unqualified success, the 40/50 was built until 1926 when the “New Phantom” succeeded it. Admired by automotive connoisseurs from new, all surviving examples are carefully documented by marque experts and coveted by serious collectors. Silver Ghosts built prior to the outbreak of WWI are the most sought-after, with the earliest parallel-bonnet cars exemplifying the stately elegance of the original Rolls-Royce design.
Numbered 1850E and originally UK-registered LE 7043, this 40/50 HP Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was commissioned by Thrupp & Maberly in November 1911 and delivered in March 1912 to be fitted with the firm’s coachwork. It was purchased new by John J. Musker, a founding partner in the renowned Home and Colonial retail chain. According to copies of Rolls-Royce factory records, 1850E was originally specified to receive a Seven-Passenger Landaulette body, somewhat similar in visual terms to the Limousine body actually fitted to the chassis. Notably, 1850E is one of the first cars built with a sliding roof panel, allowing an open-air experience on demand. Oval rear and division windows, plus nickel fittings and grooved Dunlop tires were among other original features of 1850E. Given Mr. Musker’s success breeding thoroughbred horses at his palatial Shadwell Estate home, the speedometer was calibrated in furlongs rather than miles per hour. Notably, this very car was illustrated in a Rolls-Royce factory sales catalogue (January 1914) finished in the same striking color scheme it wears today.
According to copies of records from the factory, 1850E was supplied with engine no. 58 (which it retains) and was faithfully serviced and maintained by Rolls-Royce until May 1924, and remained with the Musker family until October 1946, when it was sold to E.W. Butcher of Suffolk, UK.
In 1954, the Silver Ghost was acquired by Ewart Bradshaw, an owner of multiple automobile dealerships throughout the UK, and displayed at Preston Garages for most of his ownership. In 1964, Mr. Bradshaw sold the vehicle to K. Marsden of unknown locale, who kept 1850E only briefly before selling it to Fred MacDonald, a lumber dealer from Port Credit, Canada, who traveled to England regularly, purchased cars, and shipped them to Canada; however, Mr. MacDonald was soon forced to liquidate most of his large Rolls-Royce collection. Since Mr. MacDonald neglected to pay the shipper’s fees for 1850E, it remained in a warehouse until Gordon E. Smith of Orillia, Canada, located it, and – after an initially icy conversation with the warehouse manager – purchased it. According to a letter on file from Mr. Smith’s son, the warehouse manager softened upon hearing of Mr. Smith’s part-ownership of a radio station that broadcast an eclectic mix of programming, including religious shows that the manager enjoyed.
In 1970, the car was sold to noted collector Ben Paul Moser of Santa Barbara, California, through whom it quickly passed to Anthony Michaels of Hampstead, London. In 1973, 1850E was sold to Dr. Gerald Moore and exhibited at his noted Heathfield Park Motor Museum in Sussex until his wife passed away, followed by the auction sale of 1850E at Earls Court in October 1977. From historical accounts on file, it is understood that about that time, 1850E was restored by Colin Crabbe, the savior of so many great classic cars. According to the authoritative book, The Edwardian Rolls-Royce, 1850E was purchased by P.F. Green, who owned it for only a short time before the car was acquired by the Lips Autotron Museum in the Netherlands, where it remained until 1990. From there, it was sold to Manfred Dolleschell of Verl, Germany, who kept the car until 2003 when it was sold to noted automobile collector and business executive Daniel Sielecki of Argentina, who displayed the car at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® in 2004, receiving the Co-Chairman’s Trophy. In 2005, 1850E was acquired by David Harrison, who kept the car in the UK until May 2014 when the current American owner purchased the venerable Rolls-Royce and displayed it once again at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®.
An uncommon wealth of methodically accumulated and organized documentation accompanies the offering of 1850E at auction. Among the many items are copies of factory chassis cards, build and maintenance records, correspondence, previous owner research, books, historic images and press photos, and concours programs, plus invoices for work performed under the current ownership. Beautifully presented and exceptionally well documented, this 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Limousine is, simply put, a prime and delightful example of these truly significant and capable Edwardian motorcars.