1905 Rolls Royce

1974 Christie's postcard featuring the 1905 Rolls Royce 30hp car
Back of the Christie's postcard
Millard Newman in the 1905 Rolls Royce at Gilmore Museum in 1988
 I came across this postcard from Christie's auction house promoting the sale of the 1905 30hp 6 cylinder Rolls Royce (with Jarvis built replica body) - chassis #26355. It so happens that I saw this car in person back in 1988 at an RROC event held at the Gilmore Car Museum in Michigan. Few pre-ghost (pre 1906) Rolls Royce's have survived and fewer still are seen in the US. Rolls started manufacturing cars in 1904. There is one known 1904 example and just a hand full of 1905 / 1906 cars (pre-ghost) known today. Thus, it caused quite a stir when Millard Newman (noted Rolls Royce collector, now deceased) showed up with this car. I seem to remember that he had recently acquired the car, paying roughly $750,000 (if I remember correctly). An astounding sum then (and still quite a bit of money today). Dad and I had driven our 1931 Phantom I Newmarket Convertible Sedan from MA to MI for the show (still can't believe we did that). I remember that summer being hot and dry in the mid-west and the grass fields at the Gilmore were a bit dry. As I made my way around the field to see the wonderful cars being shown, I stopped by the 1905 Rolls because Mr. Newman was just climbing aboard to start the car. A small crowd gathered as Mr. Newman sat at the controls while another person cranked. The car must have been hard to start as it seemed a bit flooded (I remember gas leaking from the carb), when all of sudden it backfired. Setting fire to the car and the grass below, a small panic ensued. I ran for our fire extinguisher (every vintage car should have one!) and ran back to the scene. Others had done the same and we all set to putting out the flames. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the car only suffered cosmetic damage to the hood (the heat had discolored the paint). I understand that Stanley Sears had found the car in Australia and had it restored (he had the body created by Jarvis). The Sears collection was world famous and ended up being auctioned off by Christie's in 1983, but this car seems to have left the collection at an earlier date, as the postcard would seem to indicate. 




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