1911 Rolls-Royce 1701 Experimental Speed Car
The first 100mph Rolls-Royce
“The 1911 RAC-observed London to Edinburgh Trial was a major test for Edwardian cars. The Trial allowed Rolls-Royce to demonstrate the performance, flexibility and economy of the Silver Ghost, particularly when compared to its arch rival, the Napier. At the same time it broadened the appeal of the car to a younger and sportier clientele, without deterring the traditional aristocratic customer that was at that time the mainstay of Rolls-Royce production. The RAC observers ensured that only top gear was used, including pulling away from standstill, quite an achievement 100 years ago before motorways and metalled roads.
No other car at the time could match this Rolls-Royce feat, with 1701 driving from London to Edinburgh and back using top gear only and averaging fuel consumption of more than 24mpg. To prove that the original chassis had a normal back axle ratio and that the car had received no mechanical alteration, the car was then driven at Brooklands, achieving over 78mph. Later, when fitted with a ‘wind-cheating’ single-seat body, 1701 recorded a speed of 101mph over the flying half-mile at Brooklands driven by E.W. Hives, eventually destined to become Chairman of the Rolls-Royce company.” Read more