‘100 Motor Cars for 100 Years’ – Rolls-Royce celebrates at Goodwood
The centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy was celebrated in some style by the British manufacturer when it displayed 100 motor cars from the very earliest days to the latest Ghost at its West Sussex plant.
‘Champagne’, ‘canapé reception’ and ‘marquee’ go together like, well, the Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls and Henry Royce. And that was how the day started with members of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club enjoying the opportunity of being at ‘HQ’, joining in a celebration of one of the world’s best-known brands, and learning a little more about the production process that still makes one of the finest cars in the world.
In addition to members of the RREC, local dignitaries and members of the press were invited to join the party, with a light-hearted but nonetheless closely fought concours held during the day.
Judging was a difficult process, with so many cars that could be deemed ‘Elegant’, ‘Original’ or simply personifying ‘The Spirit of Ecstasy’ - and I say that as a member of that noble band. Rolls-Royce staff also had the opportunity of voting for the ‘car [they] would most like to drive home in’. Casting career advancement aside, instead of a new production Phantom Drophead Coupé, they chose a 1920 Silver Ghost Brougham de Ville.
Throughout the day, guests were treated to various events, all organised with military precision. With proceedings halted for a ‘Grand Picnic Lunch’, naturally. And English afternoon tea, of course, when the concours prizes were distributed and Club President, Lt. Col. Eric Barrass, warmly thanked the hosts for such an enjoyable day, the opening one of a weekend of celebrations for the RREC culminating in the Club’s own Concours d’Elegance at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.
Having toured the high-tech factory in a fascinating walkabout, learnt exactly how a Spirit of Ecstasy is made (by a local company, really fascinating stuff), discovered some of the wilder Bespoke & Handcrafted commissions (which we hope to feature another time on Classic Driver), and blushed at some of top photographer Rankin’s images on display on the Mezzanine, it was time for the final event of the day: the celebratory lap of the Goodwood motor circuit.
While Rolls-Royce is not known for success on the circuits, that does not stop the ever-enthusiastic RREC members enjoying every minute of the parade laps around the famous West Sussex track, only a short ride from the car plant.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will, we understand, be revealing “details of further Spirit of Ecstasy inspired initiatives and events throughout the second half of her centenary year”. This is unlikely to include a lap of the Nürburgring, but will undoubtedly be another day to remember.
100 Motor Cars for 100 Years - Concours results
Originality and Condition: 1937 25/30 Sedanca de Ville by Gurney Nutting
Spirit of Ecstasy Award for Elegance: 1953 Silver Dawn saloon
The Rolls-Royce Motors Car Staff Award - ‘The car I’d most like to take home’: 1920 Silver Ghost Brougham de Ville by Laybourn
The Board of Directors Special Award: The ‘El Presidente’ 15/30 Sports saloon by Barker
Text: Steve Wakefield
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