1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost originally owned by Lord Mountbatten to be auctioned; it came back into his possession just months before he was assassinated in 1979
Lord Mountbatten’s assassination by the Provisional IRA on 27th August 1979 is well documented but one story that is not is that he had the pleasure of being reunited with a car he first commissioned in 1924 when it returned to him in the final months of his life.
The car in question, a 1924 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost cabriolet – chassis number ‘135EM’ – was ordered new by The Rt. Hon. Lord Louis Mountbatten, as he then was, with a number of unique features. It included “a raised, streamlined bonnet that flowed in an unbroken line into the scuttle, and a novel mechanical headlight dipping mechanism of his own design” and instead of the firm’s trademark ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ radiator mascot, featured a figure of a naval signaller semaphoring the letter ‘M’. As a result, Rolls-Royce declined to issue a guarantee.
Sold two years later by the highly decorated peer, the car passed through a number of owners before being discovered in the South of France by a dental surgeon named Captain Ralph Symmons. Restored and offered to Lord Mountbatten, the car was purchased. A letter relating to this transaction from the peer dated 9th November 1978 stated:
“Although he [the current owner] will be the legal owner of the car, it will, in fact, be on permanent loan to me until such time as my family and I are in a position to repurchase it from him at the price he is paying for the car”.
Restored again subsequently in the workshops of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu in the early 1980s, the Silver Ghost has been displayed at Broadlands and more recently at Her Majesty The Queen’s Sandringham residence in Norfolk at His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’ request. It is described as being “in good condition” and will be auctioned by Bonhams at their Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale on 20th March 2016 with a guide price of £170,000 to £230,000 ($240,000 to $330,000 or €220,000 to €300,000).
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