Out now: the Autocade Yearbook 2024
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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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Luxury car maker, having established its niche early in its history with engineer Henry Royce and car dealership owner Charles Rolls in 1904. By 1907, their Silver Ghost, or 40/50 hp, was regarded as ‘the best car in the world’, and Rolls-Royce’s reputation was sealed for decades to come. It acquired Bentley during the Great Depression, and eventually there were few differences between Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars. It also branched out into aircraft engines, obtaining world records in the process. In the 1950s, Rolls-Royce began its association with the British Royal Family, supplanting Daimler. Nineteen seventy saw the company going into receivership, nationalized, then broken up into two divisions: one for aero engines (the state-owned Rolls-Royce Ltd., later going public as Rolls-Royce plc) and one for cars (Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd.), a private company from 1973.

In 1980, Vickers bought Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd., renaming it Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. in 1985, and began promoting the Bentley marque, which had become known for being cheaper Rolls-Royce twins in the 1970s. Volkswagen wound up buying the company in 1998, while BMW successfully negotiated with Rolls-Royce plc for the rights to the Rolls-Royce trade mark for cars (the fact Rolls-Royce plc owned the rights was clearly stated on the Rolls-Royce car website at the time). In 2003, BMW took over the manufacture of Rolls-Royce cars. A new factory was set up under BMW at Goodwood, separating the marque from its long-time home at Crewe.


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024