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Lord Mountbatten’s Rolls for sale

Published 14 March 2016

A 1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost made for Lord Mountbatten is going under the hammer on 20 March. Mountbatten - uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and second cousin once-removed of the Queen – will be sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting.

Specially made for Lord Mountbatten, the vehicle’s modifications included a raised, streamlined bonnet, a novel mechanical headlight dipping mechanism, and a figure of a naval signaller where the Spirit of Ecstasy should be.

The alterations were designed by Lord Mountbatten himself, who, whilst enamoured of the marque, believed he could improve upon the Rolls-Royce design. After Mountbatten’s ownership, the Ghost changed hands several times, disappearing from public record from 1939 to 1966.

It reappeared after an Oxford dental surgeon, Captain Ralph Symmons, purchased the Silver Ghost in the South of France. He returned home with the motor car, removed the French number plates, and made an incredible discovery – a London registration that traced the Silver Ghost back to Lord Mountbatten’s ownership.

Captain Symmons restored the Rolls-Royce, which had survived in remarkably original condition, and after its completion drove the car to Lord Mountbatten's home at Broadlands in Hampshire, where its first owner was reintroduced to his old car.

Years later Captain Symmons decided to sell the Silver Ghost and offered it to Lord Mountbatten. It is documented that Lord Mountbatten arranged for the car to be purchased by a friend (the current vendor). Dated 9th November 1978, one of his letters states: 'Although he will be the legal owner of the car, it will, in fact, be on permanent loan to me until such time as my family and I are in a position to repurchase it from him at the price he is paying for the car.'

Sadly, Lord Mountbatten got few opportunities to enjoy his old Silver Ghost; on 27 August 1979 at Mullaghmore, County Sligo he was killed by the Provisional IRA.

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