The History of RE 1657 Chassis No. 16LE
The 40/50 Model or Silver Ghost as it later became known was introduced at the 1907 London Motor Show and production in the UK continued with various enhancements until 1925 with a total of 6173.
Chassis 16LE was built at Derby and shipped out of Liverpool on 29th December 1920 on the S.S. Celtic to New York for delivery to the then U.S sole distributor Mr Robert Schuette. He then arranged, presumably on the instructions of a customer, for it to be fitted with one of the most unusual yet practical bodies to grace a Silver Ghost chassis, namely the Salamanca Cabriolet, which it still has to this day. It is a Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work body but as the coachbuilder’s plate is missing we have been unable so far to identify the actual manufacturer although it is believed to be by Brewster. The saloon appearance has the benefit of a cabriolet hood and the whole structure can be transformed relatively quickly into an open tourer.
The car, which is right hand drive, was originally owned by Mr John L. Roe of Madison Avenue, New York, and afterwards by Mr Maxwell Shaw of Hot Springs, Arkansas. His grandson tells us that the car was previously owned by Barnum’s Circus and frequently led processions into towns following which we understand that it had been in display in an hotel foyer for around 20 years until 1990 when it returned to the UK. A body restoration took place to return it to its “collapsible” style it having been fixed into an erect position during its 70 years life.
It has a 6 cylinder, 7428cc engine, 4 forward gears and a top speed of c 75 mph although 55 mph is a comfortable cruising speed. It has a weight of nearly 3 tons and as was standard at the time it is fitted with 2 wheel brakes. Petrol consumption is in the region of 10 m.p.g. It has been in the present ownership over 10 years.
The car participated in the re-enactment of the 1907 Scottish reliability trials in June 2007 along with around 65 Silver Ghosts from round the world completing over 2,500 miles in just under 3 weeks without any misdemeanors.