History literally repeated itself recently, as Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 1701 re-enacted its astonishing run in the 1911 London-Edinburgh Trial.
The car, designed as an 'Experimental Speed Car', won the original event locked in top gear for the entire 799-mile return trip between the two capitals. Given the primitive state of Britain's Edwardian roads, its average speed of 19.59mph was highly impressive – and its then-unheard of fuel efficiency of over 24mpg even more so. To prove that the car had not been modified in any way, it achieved 78.2mph on a half-mile speed test conducted immediately after the Trial; it also became the first Rolls-Royce to exceed 100mph in a later test at the fabled Brooklands circuit in Surrey.
The re-enactment was as faithful to the 1911 event as possible. The car, now a priceless collector's item and wearing registration R-1075, departed from the Pall Mall headquarters of the Royal Automobile Club (which oversaw the original Trial) at 06h00 on Sunday 5 September 2021, then travelled to Edinburgh on a route that followed the old Great North Road as closely as practicable – locked in top gear just as it was 110 years before.
To add to the spectacle and sense of occasion, 1701 was accompanied by a further nine Rolls‑Royce Silver Ghosts, all of a similar age and in equally magnificent condition, from the 20-Ghost Club. And to complete the pageant, the cavalcade was escorted all the way to Edinburgh by a brand-new Ghost, hand-built at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood and finished in Tempest Grey.
The run concluded with a grand reception at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Edinburgh on 6 September 2021.
Andrew Ball said, “Silver Ghost 1701 has a unique and special place in the marque's history and affections. It's difficult to think of many machines that can still perform exactly as they did 110 years ago; this extraordinary car is a remarkable tribute to our predecessors who designed, engineered and built it. We're proud to continue their work and uphold their values in today's Rolls-Royce motor cars – which are still the best in the world."