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"Ghost" Is New Name For Rolls-Royce RR4

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2010 Rolls-Royce RR4 in Geneva

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by Marty Bernstein
The Auto Channel
Senior Editor
Detroit Bureau

Tom Purves, president and CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced the return of a historic name to what has been officially called, in ascending order the 200EX, then RR 4 and now the Rolls-Royce Ghost at the beginning of the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show.

Without quoting Shakespeare’s line from Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name,” Purves did refer to the heritage of the Ghost’s nom de moteur vehicule when he said, “Ghost is one of the most revered names in the automotive industry evoking images of adventure and technical innovation.”

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Another subtle is schedule for the Ghost: the “RR” logo on the radiator of what was the EX 200 will change from red to black on the Ghost. Red RR ‘badges’ are a feature of cars with the EX designation; 100EX, 101EX and 200EX and are an homage to the original colour of the Rolls-Royce marquee. The color was changed in the early ‘30’s when it was changed to be more harmonious/color compatible with the increase in colors of the vehicles then produced. A RR spokesperson told me, “When the Rolls-Royce Ghost is launched at later this year it will have black badges.”

And somewhat surprisingly, given the worldwide economic crisis, there will be more Ghosts to in the Rolls-Royce world, when Purves said, “This car will be the first in a new generation of models to carry this evocative name will give us two pinnacle product lines – Phantom and Ghost.”

Recently I attend a media preview of the Ghost in New York City where it was much easier to thoroughly check-out the smaller luxury car introduced at the Geneva Motorshow and chat with the head designer, Ian Cameron.

The Ghost is smaller than its big brother Phantom sedan and German cousin, the BMW 7-Series. Consider it a daily driver for those who like to drive rather than be driven.

Cameron said his intention his brief was to re-define luxury motoring in the modern age. “Our designers and engineers have created a modern, lithe and dynamic Rolls-Royce that bears all the hallmarks of the great cars that have gone before it: effortless performance, unparalleled refinement, exquisite quality and confident design.”

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The car is less formal or formidable than the Phantom, which will I feel, broaden its appeal to a younger group of owners, while maintaining the recognizable and distinctive visual design elements of the classic Rolls-Royce including the iconic coach doors. This is a friendly looking vehicle – and that’s not an oxymoronic statement -- in a dark color called Tungsten while the hood and a-pillars are silver and is distinctive without being regal. And even on 20” wheels it is not intimidating.

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Inside nothing has been spared or is spare. This is car interior luxury at it’s very best. “Only the finest materials have been used,” a Rolls rep remarked and includes, “Supple, natural grain Crème Light leather, with Cornsilk carpets and cashmere blend headliner. The featured wood veneer is Santos Palissander, chosen for its contemporary look and striking grain.” The look is indeed bespoke – custom made in Brit-speak – which it should be.

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost will be built on a dedicated production line at the company’s distinctive Goodwood venue, but will share pairnt, wood and leather workshops with the Phantom models.

Bonus Info: The Ghost Name

1909 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The Silver Ghost was first shown at the London Motor Show at Olympia in 1906. The car got its name from Claude Johnson, managing director of the company, who had the car entirely painted and plated in silver. The 'Ghost' part of the name derived from the car's remarkable quietness. The car was extremely popular, and demand outstripped supply. Silver

Ghosts continued to be made until 1926, with about 8000 produced in total, including 1,703 which were made in Springfield, Massachusetts.