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Rolls-Royce celebrates 110 years of excellence

Published May 6, 2014

Metroland Media for Wheels.ca

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrated a seminal moment in British automotive history on Sunday, May 4.

Charles Rolls and Henry Royce met for the first time on this date exactly 110 years ago and agreed to form the company that would become synonymous with the very best.

Celebrations took place at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in West Sussex and at The Midland Hotel, Manchester.

The Honourable Charles Stewart Rolls was raised in aristocratic privilege, and was an enthusiastic and accomplished motorist – a pioneer in a time when many people thought that motoring was just a fad that would soon pass.

He was a shrewd businessman and talented engineer – a true visionary at a time of massive technical advancement.

Rolls raced bicycles, motorcycles and motorcars and was an early advocate of aviation, firstly with balloons and then aeroplanes.

Sir Henry Royce originated from more humble beginnings. One of five children, he helped support his family selling newspapers for W.H. Smith, and then became a telegraph boy for the Post Office, delivering telegrams around London. His luck changed when an aunt offered to pay for an apprenticeship at the Great Northern Railway Works at Peterborough, the cradle of many great British engineers.

His apprenticeship, combined with self-taught knowledge.

In the early 1900’s Royce was also frustrated by the standard of construction and workmanship of motor vehicles of the day and set out to design and build his own car, the 10 hp ‘Royce’.

The car made its first journey from his factory in Manchester to his home in Knutsford, some 15 miles away, on April, 1, 1904 without issue.

The famous radiator shape was devised and shortly afterwards the badge of entwined first letters from each man’s surname.

Royce realized that in Rolls he had found a man who not only understood motor cars but also had the skills of a consummate salesman. On the train journey to Manchester for the meeting, Rolls told Edmunds that he wanted to produce a car connected with his name that would become as much of a household word as Broadwood was among pianofortes, or Chubb among safes.

It was a prophetic conversation and little did the two men know that 110 years later Rolls-Royce would still be a household name across the world and be a symbol synonymous with the very best.

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