No other automobile manufacturing concern symbolises the strength of the industry during the 20th century more than Rolls-Royce.

The company was founded as the result of a chance meeting in 1904 between its founding partners Henry Royce and Charles Rolls ( or the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls, to give him his full title).

By the time they had met Royce had already established a successful business, based in the South West city of Manchester, manufacturing domestic electric fittings under the title of F H Royce and Company.

Royce, a gifted engineer and innovator as well as a pretty shrewd businessman, decided to expand his company in 1894, moving into the production of dynamos and electric cranes.

Such was the rapid success of F.H. Royce & Company that just five years later, they succeeded in putting together a public share flotation, re-registering the company as Royce Ltd.

As the turn of the century approached, the demand for the company's products continued at a steady pace requiring the opening of new and advanced production facilities in the Trafford Park industrial zone in Manchester, where the company also began to dabble in the production of saloon cars.

Anxious to push the development of his new auto manufacturing division, Henry Royce arrange for one of the cars to go on show at a function held in the prestigious Royal Automobile Club in London.

Royce sent Henry Edmunds, also a director of Royce Ltd, to be present and answer questions and provide explanations on the car and its properties to people attending the function.

Tragically, in 1910, just four years after their formation the new company suffered a major tragedy when Charles Rolls was killed taking part in a flying display in Bournemouth, England.

He was just 32.

Edwards passed on his positive impressions of the young Rolls, and after a series of meetings, the pair decided that they could work together, and Rolls-Royce was born.

The new and exciting company made their public debut in December of 1904 at the prestigious Paris Salon, with the first Rolls-Royce production car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, unveiled to an appreciative audience.

Once again Henry Royce was left alone at the helm of the company and to his credit, he piloted it to tremendous success, building a reputation for producing quality cars.

During the period between the wars , Rolls Royce continued to expand, gradually moving towards the more lucrative markets in the South of England, establishing marketing plants in the midlands of England in the city of Derby.

Derby was more of a logistics centre with Rolls Royce's major production was a much larger plant in Crewe, strategically situated adjacent to one of the largest railway junctions in the UK.

In 1935, Rolls-Royce found themselves in such a financially stable position that they acquired their closest rival, Bentley, whose cars from then onwards became extensions of the Rolls-Royce product with every passing season.

Until just before the outbreak of World War II, Rolls-Royce produced all of the rolling chassis that went into the cars at the Derby plant, generally passing on the coachbuilding stage to private coachbuilders on a subcontracting basis.

Things were to change after production resumed in 1945, with Rolls-Royce deciding to gradually phase out this cumbersome practice.

Chassis building and final assembly were now combined under one roof at a large plant the company had acquired at Crewe, which had previously only been under-employed in producing car engines.

The Crewe facilities housed the talented and dedicated team of designers, under the technical directorship of Harry Grylls, and Chief Engineer John Hollings.

Rolls-Royce rolled into the Sixties with Mark two version of Silver Cloud powered by a 6230-cc V8 light-alloy engine.>

In truth the Silver Cloud was a throwback of days past, as its chassis and engine were constructed at Crewe and the coachwork was produced at James Young, soon to be a wholly owned Rolls Royce subsidiary.

Sales for the 'Clouds' gradually began to slump and were continuing in small numbers when its replacement, the new Silver Shadow was launched in 1965.

The Silver Shadow was the most advanced of all Rolls-Royces developed to date and went on to become a classic.

At the end of 1968 the last of the Rolls Royce’s of the Sixties was released, the new Phantom VI, with the body crafted by subsidiary company, Mulliner, Park Ward.

The Phantom VI was the most expensive of Rolls-Bentley products in history.

According to their publicity and their infinite self-belief, Rolls Royce had (once again) created the 'world's best motor-car'.

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