'Rex'

1924 Rolls-Royce, Silver Ghost (54RM)

54RM 1973

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Alpine Compendium, Page 72 (1973).
(All car pictures are hyper-linked to bigger versions!)


Harry Ferrier 1973-75? in 2175

Harry Ferrier 1973 in a 1912 Silver Ghost (2175)

Why a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost? - The dream
At the age of fourteen my father (Harry) was filling in the time it was taking to find new business premises, cleaning cars at the local Rolls-Royce and Bentley main dealers (Hadley Green Garage, High Barnet). After a while he was trusted to deliver customer cars after repairs and servicing. On one occasion a 1912 Silver Ghost (2175), was at the garage and my father was photographed sitting in the car. This photograph was enlarged, framed and hung in our home. I looked at this photograph many times. It was this photograph that inspired my ambition to, first own a Rolls-Royce and maybe one day a Silver Ghost.

Original 1924 Drawing

Original Cockshoot body drawing 1924.

Spurred into action
On Saturday 21st April 2001 while attending the R-REC's AGM, I was standing at the back of the R-REC conference room in the Hunt House talking to Peter Baines about the distressed car on show there. This car, 'The Royce Car', (46PK), was on display prior to it being sold at the R-REC Annual Rally at Towcester in June 2001.

18th Feb 1964

Derby Evening Telegraph 18th February 1964.


It was after Peter told me about the value of non concours Silver Ghosts that I started to realise that, with a bit of luck, I could actually afford to buy one.

Back to Wilkinsons

Picture courtesy of I Wilkinsons & Son, circa: 1970.

As I would want to use the car extensively, I did not want a show winning car. I like my comfort so a fully enclosed body was required and as I expect 'improvements' were made on the production line, year on year, a late Ghost would suit me fine. All these expectations and criteria could not be better aimed at the lower priced sector of the market. Everybody else appears to want very early, show winning, open tourers.

Body takes shape

Picture courtesy of I Wilkinsons & Son, circa: 1971.

Permission granted
On the long drive back down the M1 to Southampton in our Silver Cloud, my wife (Karen) and I talked it over and before we arrived home we were on a mission to find our Silver Ghost.

1972?

Picture courtesy of Rex Sevier, circa: 1972.

The hunt begins
We spent the next few months scouring magazines and reading up on Ghosts. Then in September (2001) while we were running our stall at Beaulieu, we were given a few leads. One lead came from our friend and fellow enthusiast Ted Reich (ex President of the R-ROC), but we did not follow this lead up as it was a Springfield and we did not want to pay the import duty.

1972?

Picture courtesy of Rex Sevier, circa: 1972.

A second lead came from our friend, R-REC member and Ghost owner; Nick Stow. Nick told us that Steve Lovatt of Ristes in Nottingham had a couple of Silver Ghosts for sale and one sounded like it might be of the style we required.

54RM 11th June 1972

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #74, Page 21 (September 1972).

54RM Englefield 1974

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Photographic archives.

We (my wife and I) try to attend at least one of the fantastic R-REC Technical Seminar each year. In 2000 we had attended the Silver Ghost and Phantom seminar but as we had already attended the Derby Bentley Seminar in 2001 we had no plans to attend the 2001 Silver Ghost seminar that occurred a week or so after Beaulieu. However, as I expected both Steve Lovatt and a number of Silver Ghosts to be present for the seminar, I decided to 'pop-in' and see if I could have a short chat with Steve in the lunch break.

54RM 25th July 1976

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #98, Page 24 (September 1976).

I was not disappointed. There were 2 or 3 pre WWI Silver Ghosts and 3 or 4 Phantoms and I managed to talk to Steve.

54RM 15th July 1979

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #116, Pages 10 & 11 (September 1979).

I collared Steve in the corridor between the conference room and the toilets and talked Ghosts with him. It turned out much better than I could have ever expected. Steve had a couple of Silver Ghost motor cars for sale, but more importantly, he knew of another car, which appeared to match our specifications exactly. We were thrilled.

54RM 10th June 1979

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #116, Page 23 (September 1979).

Car found
The more Steve described this 'other' car, the better it appeared to suit us. It was fully enclosed, made in 1924, (i.e. Late), had 4-Wheel brakes, was black over dark red, was an ex-show winner and was still very smart. The only issues were that the mascot, fuel pressure gauge and tools were missing and that it had not been used for very over a decade.

54RM 1979

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #118, Page 7 (January 1980).

Steve was also able to tell us that it had once been owned by Rex Sevier who just so happened to have been a chairman of the R-REC for a while, and there, just above our heads where we stood in the Hunt House corridor, was his picture on the wall.

54RM 1981

54RM Featured in 'Great Marques' books by Jonathan Wood (1982/4)

The first images of the car.
Over the next few weeks, we searched through all the old R-REC Bulletins and found many references to Rex and 54RM, some with pictures. (the ones scattered around with these pages.)

54RM

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Photographic archives.

We finally get to see the car.
We finally got to see the car, for the first time, 3rd November 2001 at Ristes garage in Nottingham were this car was being stored. The car started fine and apart from a minor exhaust leak appeared to run well. To us it looked fantastic and very handsome.

54RM

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Photographic archives.

Steve was able to tell us most of the recent history of the car and about it's last three owners.

54RM 9th June 1985

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #151, Page 16 (July/August 1985).

How did the car get named 'REX'?
While at Ristes, we were talking with Steve about giving the car a nick-name. Steve came up with 'REX' as a suggestion (as it used to belong to Mr. Rex Sevier, and it was Rex Sevier who brought the car back to life after finding it derelict in a field. Karen and I were happy with the name, so 'Rex' it was. We later found out that it's last owner also called it 'Rex'.

54RM 31st August 1986

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #159, Page 26 (Nov/Dec 1986).

The Long Winter Wait.
Over the next three months our hopes of quick purchase were raised and dashed as raising the finances and agreeing a price took longer than we had hoped. Still, the time was not wasted, filled with anticipation and enthusiasm, I continued to explored as many Ghost related avenues as possible. I took rides in members cars, joined the Silver Ghost Association (R-ROC, SGA) and the R-REC Silver Ghost Register. I also filled my weekends hunting the autojumbles and on-line auctions for original tools and a replacement for the missing petrol pressure gauge. By the end of January 2002 I had acquired three good, original Ghost dash gauges, including the missing petrol gauge and many original tools, not to mention a number of related books. Karen also got bitten by the bug and started collecting authentic 1920's clothing and accessories to wear with the car. (all we needed now was the car!)

54RM 20th June 1987

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #164, Page 36 (Sep/Oct 1987).

It's ours at last.
It had taken a while, but the car finally became ours on 9th May 2002, 78 years to the day that it's chassis was completed by Rolls-Royce and put on test. (We consider this date 54RM's official birthday).

54RM 19-Jun-1988

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Photographic archives.

Even though the car was complete and running, there was quite a bit of work to be done before it was ready for rallying. Steve completed a full re-commissioning service and fixed a multitude of faults, some minor and some not so minor. I added to the work required by asking for a full-flow oil filter system and suitable indicators to be fitted.

54RM For Sale

Picture courtesy of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club's Advertiser #55 (March 1984) P.29

Patience and resolve put to the test.
Nothing's easy, it is. Unfortunately even after all the hard work, oil changes, cleaning and testing done by Steve, you can never be 100% sure of what will happen when you put a car that has been standing for a dozen or so years, back on the road.

Rex at Ristes

Rex at Ristes 3rd November 2001

The very first time we drove the car after collecting it from Ristes, the big-end oil ways became blocked with old sediment and quickly failed. This caused serious engine damaged which would not be easy or cheap to put right.

Rex and Steve

Rex and Steve 3rd November 2001

Fortunately, the vendor (not Ristes - they were just storing the car), was prepared to hand back all our money allowing us to walk away if we wished to (see, there are some honourable members about!). He was also willing to make a very generous contribution to the repair cost should we decide to persevere with the car. (We could not have asked for more) On top of all this, Steve Lovatt decided to help us out and gave us a very special rate for the specialist work.

Rex 1st Ride

Our 1st ride in Rex, 13th April 2002

While we could have got away with just renewing the big-ends, we decided to have new pistons fitted at the same time.

Rex 1st Ride

Our first ever ride in 'Rex', 13th April 2002

All in all, we think we came out of it very well. True, it did cost us a bit more than originally expected, but in exchange we now have a car, which has expertly rebuilt big-ends, a rebore, new pistons, new rings and new gudgeon pins, etc. We ended up with a much improved engine at a bargain price.

Rex 1st Ride

13th April 2002

We just missed having the car for the R-REC Annual in June, as we finally took possession of the car Saturday 13th July 2002. Straight in at the deep end, we drove it back from Ristes Nottingham to Southampton that day and have been out in it every weekend since.

Rex 1st Ride

13th April 2002

As you might expect there are still a few minor niggles to be ironed out but one by one they are slowly being resolved and the car is proving to be very useable and reliable. (not to mention great fun).

Rex 1st Ride

13th April 2002

A big thank you goes to Steve Lovatt of Ristes for the numerous favours and excellent service he has done us.

Rex Back

21st May 2002

The next challenge is to dig-up some of the car's early history. Wish us luck.

Rex Side

21st May 2002

One nice thing that has happened, was that a large, full colour picture of 54RM was printed in the Lytham St. Annes Express Newspaper, (19th September 2002), with a short article by Michael Day about our search for it's history and connection with Sir George Mellor and the Grand Hotel.

Express Newspaper

19th September 2002

A picture of 54RM with Karen was printed in the Northampton Chronicle Newspaper, (14th March 2004), with a short article by about the Rolls-Royce Limited centenary.

Northampton Newspaper

14th March 2004

This picture shows 54RM outside the Midlands Hotel, Manchester, where Rolls met Royce 4th May 1904, (4th May 2004).

Midlands Hotel

4th May 2004

This picture shows 54RM with Karen and our dog Ditto, outside the famous Cat and Fiddle pub.

Cat and Fiddle

5th May 2004

A picture of 54RM with Chess was taken outside the Rolls-Royce (Aero) factory in Derby and printed in the Derby Evening Telegraph newspaper, (6th May 2004).

Derby Evening Telegraph

6th May 2004


Below is a history summary as I know it (so far).

15-Apr-1924

Chassis ordered by: Ivor Mellor Esq.

 

9-May-1924

Chassis built and on Test by Rolls-Royce = It's official BIRTHDAY

 

20-Jun-1924

Completed Chassis delivered to Messrs Joseph Cockshoot and Co. Ltd. Manchester who built the body.

 

16-Sep-1924

Complete and tested Car delivered by Cockshoots

 

1924

Sir George Mellor of Oldham takes over Ivor's, (his brother), order and becomes the first owner.

 

15-Apr-1925

Chassis returned to Rolls-Royce to be fitted with front wheel brakes and have it's Artillery wheels changed to Dunlop wire

 

29-Apr-1925

Returned after modifications

 

06-May-1929

In RR works for engine clean, adjustments and general overhaul (including inner engine checks etc.)

 

14-Jan-1947

Chassis card shows owner as: Harold Barrington Esq., Messrs. Barrington Motors, Crieff. (Rcds/P14.1.47 )?

 

1930's/40's/50's

Converted to a hearse and used in Scotland.

 

1960's

Abandoned in an orchard

 

18-Aug-1964

Recovered from the orchard (by Rex and Roy Sevier, Derby)

 

1970-1971

Restored to a high standard (Body: Wilkinsons of Derby)

 

11 Jun 1972

1st prise (1st time) in Silver Ghost class at the R-REC annual at Blenheim

 

June 1973

Participates in the R-REC's great Alpine Commemorative Rally

 

1973

Picture appears in the Alpine Rally commemorative book.

 

02-Jun-1974

Wins the Harry Fergusson-Wood trophy at the R-REC Annual at Englefield Park.

 

25-Jul-1976

1st prise (2nd time) in Silver Ghost class at the R-REC annual at Englefield Park.

 

25-Jul-1976

Wins (1st time) Francis Eden-Little trophy for the best Silver Ghost at the annual.

 

10-Jun-1979

1st prise (3rd time) in Silver Ghost class at the R-REC annual at Packington Hall.

 

10-Jun-1979

Wins (2nd time) Francis Eden-Little memorial trophy for best Silver Ghost. At annual

 

1979

Wins Best Car in Show at local R-REC event

 

29-Jun-1980

Wins (1st time) Cliff Robertson trophy, S. Ghost that covered most miles in a year.

 

21-Jun-1981

Wins (2nd time) Cliff Robertson trophy, S. Ghost that covered most miles in a year.

 

1984

Double-page picture of 54RM appears in "Great Marques Of Britain" book by Jonathan Wood (pages 234 and 235)

 

12-Jun-1984

Sold by Rex Sevier to Jack Gillam (a northern farmer)

 

Jun 1987

Sold by Jack Gillam to Ristes of Nottingham

 

19-Jun-1987

Sold by Ristes to Peter Phillips

 

19-Jun-1988

Wins Peter Blond trophy at R-REC annual

 

Before Jun-1988

Put back into dry storage for 14 years. Mascot, Petrol gauge and Tools go missing.

 

09-May-2002

54RM sold to Chess and Karen (Current owners), An original period Mascot, Petrol gauge and Tool kit found.

 

Jun-2002

Major work done on the engine to renew the big ends, pistons and bores = 54RM's first rebore!

 

Jul 2002

54RM back in action on the classic car, club event circuit, in use most weekends, covering approx. 800 miles per month.

 

19-Sep-2002

Pictured in Lytham St. Annes Express Newspaper, article about our history search.

 

05-Dec-2002

Major work done to change differential gearing ratio from 14/52 to 17/52, renew worn carburettor and remake original exhaust connection.

 

18-Feb-2003

A short article and a picture of 54RM is published in the R-REC Bulletin, Issue #256 Jan/Feb 2003 which I wrote about how we decided to buy a Silver Ghost and how we came to buy Rex.

 

22-Jun-2003

Wins RREC (1st time) Harry Watson trophy, (Silver Ghost that covered most miles in a year.).

 

2004

Wins the 20-Ghost Club’s Alpine Trophy, (Most travelled Silver Ghost) in 2003/4.

 

14-Mar-2004

A pictures of 54RM appear in the Northampton Chronicle newspaper.

 

20-Jun-2004

Wins RREC (2nd time) Harry Watson trophy, (Silver Ghost that covered most miles in a year.).

 

02-May-2004

On the BBC, Germany TV and 2 local newspapers re 100 yr. celebrations.

 

04-May-2004

54RM appears on Manchester local TV re the 100 yr. celebrations.

 

06-May-2004

A pictures of 54RM appear in the Derby Evening Telegraph newspaper.

 

05-Sep-2004

Wins PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP trophy at the Southern Classics - Otterbourne show.

 

2005

54RM appears on the ITV TV program: Have I been Here Before?..

 

12-Jun-2005

Wins the RREC, Alex Harvey-Bailey, award (Most enthusiastic driver) in 2005.

 

12-Jun-2005

Wins RREC (3rd time) Harry Watson trophy, (Silver Ghost that covered most miles in a year.).

 

18-Sep-2005

Wins the best in show: CAR OF THE DAY, award at the Wessex Classic Car Show.

 

2006

Pictures of 54RM appear in the Classic Car Weekly newspaper (3 different issues).

 

2006

Pictures of 54RM appear in the Classic Cars magazine (2 different issues).

 

2006

A picture of 54RM appears in the Ace Café, Spring 2006 Newsletter.

 

2006

A picture of 54RM appears in the Chichester Observer Magazine. .

 

2006

A Picture of 54RM appears in The Courier (the Aldershot) local paper..

 

2006

54RM in the London Parade, appears on the German news TV program: 2DF..

 

18-Jun-2006

Wins RREC (4th time) Harry Watson trophy, (Silver Ghost that covered most miles in a year.).

 

22-Oct-2006

54RM won Best in class (Pre 1950's) at the new Malvern, Classic Car Show..

 

19-Nov-2006

54RM won 2nd in class (Pre 1950's) at the Newbury A/J and Classic Car Show..

 

2007

54RM appears on Sky TV’s Classic Car Club program (2005 Hampshire Pageant).

 

2007

Picture of 54RM appears in the Classic Motor Monthly newspaper. Malvern article. Page 7.

 

06-May-2007

One of 59 Silver Ghosts attending the P. & A. Wood Silver Ghost centenary open-day.

 

27-May-2007

Participates in the 20-Ghost club’s Scottish Trials re-enactment 100yr Commemorative Rally.

 

2007

A Picture of 54RM and ref. to it appears in: The Silver Ghost, book by Jonathan Harley..

 

17-Jun-2007

Wins RREC (5th time) Harry Watson trophy, (Silver Ghost that covered most miles in a year.).

 

15-Jun-2008

Wins a 3rd place trophy in the Pre-War section at the giant Bromley Pageant show.

 

22-Jun-2008

Wins RREC (6th time) Harry Watson trophy, (Silver Ghost that covered most miles in a year.).

 

14-Jun-2009

Wins RREC (7th time) Harry Watson trophy, (Silver Ghost that covered most miles in a year.).

 

54RM 21st May 2002

The picture, which appeared in the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, Bulletin #256, Page 29 (Jan/Feb 2003).

Rex N/S Back

21st May 2002

Rex N/S Front

21st May 2002

Rex Front

21st May 2002

Rex Watercolour

Watercolour by Leonard Holloway, July 2002


Misc.

In October 2004 I had a little fun with the car and fitted a temporary tow bar to tow a M/C trailer. So here are some pictures....

The plan, to tow the light M/C (a Honda C90) to Hofmanns of Henley, some 80 odd miles from my home in Southampton, so that I could delivery the Ghost to Hofmanns for some work, leave it there a couple of weeks and then pick it up again, all with out the need for a back-up, second car and driver.
This allowed me to deliver the car in the middle of a working day and speak to the main man (Graham Ashley-Carter) face to face when leaving the car at his works and again when picking it up.
The normal rear luggage trunk and rack was removed, the same four fitting points were used to attach the crudely fabricated tow-bar frame, the simple trailer electrics were connected and the car was ready. The very low trailer was fitted with a few Dexion bars and hook bolts so that the M/C when loaded could be securely bolted and strapped down. The loaded trailer was attached to the car, off to Hofmanns without incident, off with the M/C, off with the trailer, dump the trailer behind one of the works building, confirm the work required and off home on the M/C. Two weeks later do the reverse. On arriving back home, swap-over the tow-bar frame for the luggage rack and trunk and Bob's your uncle!. Worked a treat.

The two pictures above were taken in 2009 when the same system and trailer were used once more, this time the car went to Alan Glew for the work and the motorcycle was a much heavier Harley Davidson (Sportster) I have to add, that Alan did me proud, completing some major work (King-pins and brakes, bushes etc.) on time and on budget.