Mountbatten’s Ghost

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 ex-Lord Mountbatten 1924 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost cabriolet to be auctioned

 

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”.

 

Lord Mountbatten pictured driving his pride and joy
The interior of 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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    18 COMMENTS

    1. When Mountbatten lived in Brook House on Park Lane in the twenties he worked a Portsmouth
      He motored there each day when he wasn’t at Broadlands
      His Royal Navy pay was three hundred and seventy pounds per annum – his wife Edwina’s interest on capital was three hundred and seventy five thousand pounds per annum

      Edwina was the daughter of Sir Ernest Cassells, who was the private Banker to King Edward the Seventh

      Mountbatten’s telephone number MAY 2412 was ex directory and his registration number was LM 2412 arguably London Mayfair 2412; this very typical of his quirky sense of humour

    2. In the twenties Mountbatten lived in Brook House on Park Lane
      He worked at Pompey and drove there most days
      His Royal Naval pay was thee hundred and seventy pounds PA
      Edwina – daughter of Sir Ernest Cassells King Edward V11’s private banker – had interest on capital of three hundred and seventy five thousand pounds

      His telphone number MAY 2412 was ex directory, so he had the registration LM – arguably London Mayfair 2412 on this Rolls

      Quirky sense of humour ….eh?

    3. Did he not also have some other quirky habits?….I seem to remember he liked to pop into a ballgown in the privacy of his own home….

    4. I believe he did Peter. However his odd hobbies aside, he certainly knew how to get the right sort of wife, £375k a year then must represent millions a year by today’s standard. Just the sort of wife I need to keep me in shooting and Astons.

      • Yes, Charles, he was a man who knew what side his bread was buttered. One wonders whether his wife had an affair with Nehru because she wasn’t. as Rod would say, ‘getting enough of it’.
        I think the Earl had other pursuits…..

    5. That little seafaring ditty, Glemore, gives me the feeling that you too, know more of Dickie’s tendencies….(with apologies to Rod!!!!!)

    6. Peter, when you say “other pursuits”, are you suggesting that he batted for both teams? It wouldn’t surprise me if he liked to wear ballgowns…

    7. I fear so, Charles, there were also unsubstantiated rumours that some of his other pursuits were somewhat Saville like. No wonder the wonderful Queen Mother detested him(Dickie, not Jimmy!)

    8. The 1924 RR Silver Ghost was my Grandfather’s and it was he who discovered the car in France in the 1960’s, restored it and reunited it with Lord Mountbatten. The history and b/w photos of the car in this article are from articles I have written on the car. !! The car sold for £264,700 on Sunday 20th March 2016 to a German buyer based in Battenberg, Germany – the original seat and home of the Mountbattens!! aka family of the now Prince Philip.

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