Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow


The legend that is AX 201

The original Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, chassis number 60551 - known worldwide by its registration number AX 201 - is quite possibly the most travelled, as well as the most valuable car in the world. Should it ever be sold, estimates of its value range from £10,000,000 to £30,000,000. It is reputed to be insured for £25,000,000. These days there are so many billionaires in the world that the actual 'value' might even be in 9 figures.

The Silver Ghost is also a film star - it appeared in the 1965 film Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. AX 201 actually belongs to Bentley Motors Ltd (owned by VW) rather than Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd (owned by BMW). It was commissioned by Claude Johnson (often referred to as the hyphen in Rolls-Royce), Managing Director of the company.

The Barker-bodied 'Roi de Belges' Tourer was used in the 1907 Scottish Reliability Trials and immediately afterwards covered 15,000 miles, being driven between London and Glasgow 27 times. During this time, with the exception of punctures, which were commonplace in the days before proper metalled roads, the car suffered only one involuntary stop - when a petrol tap was found to be in the off position!

AX 201 is technically the only car entitled to be called Silver Ghost. However, due to its success and fame, the term came to be used for all 40/50hp Rolls-Royces from 1907 until the introduction of the 40/50 Phantom in 1925.

The Silver Ghost was sold to a customer in 1908 and remained in private hands until the company bought it back in 1948. Despite its value, AX 201 is no museum piece. It is regularly driven and tours almost constantly to appear at events worldwide.