A Rolls Royce previously purchased for just £1,000 ($1,550), made its way to the auction tables of Bonhams in 2012. Expected to fetch a cool £2 million ($3 million), to everyone’s amazement, hammer fell at a staggering £4.7 million ($7.2 million) to an anonymous bidder. It was built in 1912 for John M. Stephens of South Croydon. Mr. Stephens had also owned chassis number 60539, the first 40/50 HP Silver Ghost.
The 40/50 Rolls-Royce was so popular amongst car owners that people would lend their cars affectionate nicknames, which started when Claude Johnson gave his car the name of Silver Ghost; the name was so popular that it stuck to the entire line. However, today it may be better known by The Corgie, a name that was meant to represent youthful generations of men and women, embodying elegance and sophistication.
Usually driven by a chauffeur, it would also occasionally be taken out by owners with an interest in driving. This example was modified without a division window, suggesting the desire for communication between the driver and the passengers. This is the only known Silver Ghost with the stunning coachwork of Barker. The Corgi is so well known due to the Mettoy models that a whole generation of children grew up playing with.
The vehicle possesses a 7.3 liter six cylinder engine which is still in pristine condition and capable of 6 mpg (4 km/l) while it has a top speed of 60 mph (97 km/h). Bedecked with interior fittings in silver and ivory, door panels swathed in embroidered silk and brocade tassels on window shades for privacy, delicate china tea sets and sterling silver decanters were seen in its interiors.
The car has perhaps been best described by Sports Car Market magazine as a masterpiece of elephantine Edwardian elegance.
The Silver Ghost is not the most expensive car auctioned that day. A 1929 Blower Bentley single seater race car was sold for £5,042,000 ($7.9 million) which is the highest price for a British car at an auction.
The record for the most costliest car to be sold at an auction is currently held by 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, which was sold for a record $16.39 million on 21 Aug 2011 by Gooding & Company in Pebble Beach Equestrian Center.