Rolls-Royce Brand History: Here’s How The World’s Classiest Luxury Car Brand Evolved and Progressed

Rolls Royce Brand History

Rolls-Royce Ltd is one of the pioneers in the field of engineering as well as a respected manufacturer in the automobile industry. Let’s have a look back in the history of Roll-Royce and look at the moments that shaped them into what they are now and how they rose to the position of prominence they hold today.

History and Evolution of Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce’s monumental history began when Henry Royce met Charles Rolls in 1904. Prior to that, Royce had his own electrical and mechanical business that he established in 1884, and Rolls had a car dealership in London. Royce built his first car in 1904.

Rolls and Royce started the company together in 1906 owing to the success of the cars and launched the six-cylinder Silver Ghost. Eagle, the first aero engine designed by Royce, powered the first transatlantic flight. Eagle was used by almost half the flights in the air belonging to the allies.

In the late 1920s, the company developed the ‘R’ engine for seaplanes. It recorded 400 mph, a world airspeed record in 1931. This served as the base for the development of Merlin that Royce began working on. He passed away in 1933. Battle of Britain used Merlin in their Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire.

The Second World War created a huge demand for the company’s Merlin which propelled Rolls-Royce as a front-runner in the aero-propulsion industry. In 1944, Sir Frank Whittle developed Rolls-Royce’s first aero gas turbine, the Welland. They later entered the civil aviation industry in 1953 with the Dart.

The late 1960s saw the launch of RB211 for the Lockheed L-1011 Tri-Star. The RB211 is a high-bypass turbofan engine that can produce 182.5 to 264.4 kN of thrust. However, its initial development faced troubles due to management issues and later cost issues. This led to the company being turned into state ownership in 1973 and the motor car business became a separate unit.

By 1987, Rolls-Royce had become a global leader in the engine business that powered machines on air, land and in water. BMW joined hands with Rolls-Royce in 1990 and manufactured aero engines. This later became Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd and Co KG in 2000 after Rolls-Royce took over the joint venture completely.

In 1998, Vickers sold Rolls-Royce to Volkswagen. However, BMW holds the rights to the name and models of the Rolls-Royce cars that it bought for 40 million dollars the same year.

In the year 2006, Boeing 787 Dreamliner ran on the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 that was specifically designed for it.

Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd

Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd is a subsidiary of the BMW AG and this does not have a direct connection with the vehicles from Rolls-Royce that were manufactured before 2003. Volkswagen AG’s subsidiary, Bentley Motors Ltd is the successor to Rolls-Royce and other companies after 2003, when the BMW-managed Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd started production of cars under the Rolls-Royce brand.

Phantom was the first model to be launched in 2003. Post that, the company ventured into the production of cars with an extended wheelbase, two-door coupé, convertible versions of the Phantom Sedan, Ghost sedan, Wraith coupe, Dawn Convertible and the Cullinan SUV.

The famous Spirit of Ecstasy, designed as the sculpture of the lady bent with her wings spread is on the centre of the bonnet of all Rolls-Royce vehicles. Volkswagen AG sold the Spirit of Ecstasy to BMW in 2003 along with trademarks for the grille shape. And meanwhile, between 1998 and 2003, BMW agreed to supply components.

Some Popular Models from Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd

2003–2016 – Phantom 4-door sedan first launched in January 2003, has a 6.75 L V12 engine sourced from BMW.

2005–2016 – Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase. The wheelbase is 250 mm longer than that of the standard Phantom sedan.

2007–2016 – Phantom Drophead Coupé Convertible was another successful car that debuted in 2007 and served some very selected ultra-luxury saloon buyers till 2007.

2008–2016 – Phantom Coupé was another gem of a car from Rolls-Royce that was wonderfully received by luxury car fanatics.

2017 – The Sweptail is another popular car in the Rolls-Royce portfolio that’s limited to only the richest people in the world.

Concept vehicles

  • 2006 – Rolls-Royce 100EX
  • 2006 – Rolls-Royce 101EX
  • 2008 – Rolls-Royce Hyperion
  • 2009 – Rolls-Royce Mini
  • 2009 – Rolls-Royce 200EX (known as ″RR04″)
  • 2010 – Rolls-Royce 102EX
  • 2016 – Rolls-Royce 103EX
  • 2021 – Rolls Royce Boat Tail, a custom-built concept car based on the Sweptail. Its production was limited to three units.

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