A Brief History of Rolls-Royce and Why It’s One of the Best Luxury Cars in the World

Story Highlights
  • How did the company begin?
  • But this is just the story of Royce; what about the Rolls?
  • Rolls, Meet Royce

Rolls-Royce is well recognized as a leading manufacturer of high-end automobiles. In the automotive world, legendary vehicles like the Wraith, Ghost, and Phantom stand out. They continue to make some of the world’s most costly vehicles, and their name is synonymous with lavishness. 

How did the company begin?

Nobody in 19th-century Britain would have looked twice at a tiny kid named Henry playing with an automobile in an alley. You may not believe it, but this young man would go on to revolutionize the face of the automobile business despite having only $70 to his name (the other $50 borrowed from a friend).

Frederick Henry Royce was born in 1863 in Alwalton, England. His parents, James and Mary, ran a flour mill – but they lacked the business skills to make it as profitable as it should have been.  And since they never really made good money, Henry Royce’s early life was mostly just rags and no riches.

At 22 years old, Henry Royce followed his passion for engineering and, with the help of his friend Ernest Claremont, launched a business.

Royce put in his twenty pounds in savings, and Ernest put up fifty. Thus, FH Royce and Company was established on the little sum of $70, laying the groundwork for what would later become Rolls Royce.

In September 2022, Rolls Royce amassed a one-billion-dollar net worth. The incredible tale of “rags to riches.”

By 1894, Henry’s company started making electrical cranes, and he was passionate about motors. And this passion of his, unbeknownst to him, was about to take off even more than it already had!

But this is just the story of Royce; what about the Rolls?

Also in Alwalton, England, Charles Stewart Rolls entered the world in 1877. His upbringing, however, was extravagant and rich in contrast to that of his future spouse Henry.

Although he had a formal education in mechanical engineering, his career was mostly informed by his passions for automobiles, entrepreneurship, and sales.

His first gasoline engine was completed in 1903, and by 1904, he had created a 10-horsepower automobile. After that, he created two more and gave one to his business partner and another to his shareholder and friend Henry Edmunds.

That Henry Edmunds, who put Charles Rolls and Henry Royce together, was the same, we’re talking about here.

Rolls, Meet Royce

As a result of their vast differences, they had a burning desire to excel. Thus, in 1906, Rolls-Royce came into being.

A vehicle with six cylinders came in its wake: the first Rolls-Royce Ghost.

Don’t Forget About The Hyphen Between Rolls and Royce: Claude

 Claude Johnson was a friend of the two innovators and was the managing director.

 He was a genius in marketing and was the man who coined the now iconic “Not One of The Best, but The Best Car in The World”.

 He is often referred to as the hyphen in Rolls-Royce for his contributions. 

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