Reviewed by Kim Henson.
Author: James Taylor
Published by: Bloomsbury Shire (part of Bloomsbury Publishing plc); www.shirebooks.co.uk
64 pages; soft covers
James Taylor is a renowned author who has covered many notable British marques in the multitude of motoring history books that he has written. Having been impressed by his previous works over many years, I was looking forward to reading this book in the excellent ‘Shire Library’ series – and I wasn’t disappointed.
Of course, within just 64 pages it is impossible to include ‘everything’ about a particular manufacturer, but in this compact but well-written volume, James Taylor effectively chronicles the intriguing path of Rolls-Royce models through the years, from the earliest days when Henry Royce produced three experimental cars in 1904, and the resultant teaming up with the Honourable Charles Stewart Rolls to produce a variety of well-engineered and beautifully made cars that became known as ‘The best in the world’.
Covered in some detail are the stylish and lavishly luxurious machines of the early years, the way that Rolls-Royce developed models during the 1920s/30s to keep ahead of the luxury cars from rivals, the survival of the firm through the difficult days of the Depression, and the acquisition of Bentley into the fold in 1931 (which effectively reduced competition).
Post-war days and the development of models such as the Silver Dawn, the elegant 1950s Silver Cloud and the advanced, chassis-less Silver Shadow (1966) are also covered.
The book also looks at more recent times, with the involvement of, and eventual acquisition by, BMW, and the establishment of an all-new factory at Goodwood to produce rather different but still technically excellent Rolls-Royce models for the 21st Century.
A very readable book, incorporating some superb photographs of the various models, and that covers much interesting history; highly recommended.