Renowned Luxury British Car Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Limited was incorporated on 15th March 1906. The Company started in In 1884, by Henry Royce . who started an electrical and mechanical business and made his first car, a two-cylinder Royce 10, in his Manchester factory in 1904, and was introduced to Charles Rolls at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on 4 May of that year. Rolls was proprietor of an early motor car dealership, C.S.Rolls & Co. in Fulham.In spite of his preference for three or four cylinder cars, Rolls was impressed with the Royce 10, and in a subsequent agreement of 23 December 1904 agreed to take all the cars Royce could make. All would be badged as Rolls-Royces, and be sold exclusively by Rolls. The first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904. Rolls-Royce Limited was formed on 15 March 1906, by which time it was apparent that new premises were required for production of cars. After considering sites in Manchester, Coventry, Bradford and Leicester, they moved to Derby. The new factory was largely designed by Royce, and production began in early 1908, with a formal opening on 9 July 1908 by Sir John Montagu. During 1906 Royce had been developing an improved six-cylinder model with more power than the 30hp. Initially designated the 40/50 hp, this was the company’s first all-new model. In March 1908 Claude Johnson, Commercial Managing Director and sometimes described as the hyphen in Rolls-Royce,succeeded in persuading Royce and the other directors that Rolls-Royce should concentrate exclusively on the new model, and all the earlier models were duly discontinued. After the First World War, Rolls-Royce successfully avoided attempts to encourage the British car manufacturers to merge. Faced with falling sales of the 40/50 (later known as Silver Ghost) the company introduced the smaller, cheaper Twenty in 1922, effectively ending the one-model policy followed since 1908.
After the introduction of the Phantom model in 1925 this 40/50 model was referred to as the Silver Ghost. The new 40/50 was responsible for the company’s early reputation with over 6,000 built. In 1921, the company opened a second factory in Springfield, Massachusetts in the United States (to help meet demand), where a further 1,701 “Springfield Ghosts” were built. This factory operated for 10 years, closing in 1931. Its chassis was used as a basis for the first British armoured car used in both world wars.In 1931 Rolls-Royce acquired the much smaller rival car maker Bentley after the latter’s finances failed to weather the onset of the Great Depression. From soon after World War II until 2002 standard Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars were often identical apart from the radiator grille and minor details.In 1933, the colour of the Rolls-Royce radiator monogram was changed from red to black because the red sometimes clashed with the coachwork colour selected by clients, and not as a mark of respect for the passing of Royce as is commonly stated. Rolls-Royce and Bentley car production moved to Crewe in 1946 where they began to assemble complete cars with bodies from the Pressed Steel Company (the new standard steel models) for the first time. Previously they had built only the chassis, leaving the bodies to specialist coach-builders.
Rolls-Royce also started to produce diesel engines in 1951. Initially, these were intended for heavy tractors and earth-movers but, later, they were installed in lorries (e.g. Scammell), railcars, diesel multiple units and Sentinel shunting locomotives. Rolls-Royce took over Sentinel’s Shrewsbury factory for diesel engine production in 1956. The Rolls-Royce diesel business was acquired by Perkins in the 1980s. In 1971, Rolls-Royce was crippled by the costs of developing the advanced RB211 jet engine, resulting in the nationalization of the company as Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited. In 1973, the car division was separated from the parent company as Rolls-Royce Motors. Rolls Royce also made Torque converters and railcar engines were often used with Twin Disc torque converters which were built by Rolls-Royce under licence from Twin Disc of the USA. “Twin Disc” is the name of the company (which originally manufactured friction clutches) and does not describe the construction of the torque converter.Sadly in 1971 Financial problems caused largely by development of the new RB211 turbofan engine led – after several cash subsidies – to the company being nationalised by the government. (Delay in production of the RB211 engine has been blamed for the failure of the technically advanced Lockheed TriStar, which was beaten to launch by its chief competitor, the Douglas DC-10.)In 1973 the motor car business was spun off as a separate entity, Rolls-Royce Motors. The main business of aircraft and marine engines remained in public ownership until 1987, when it was privatised as Rolls-Royce plc, one of many privatisations of the Thatcher government.
British Touring Car driver and Hairdressing Legend Tom Chilton was born 15th March 1985. Tom was educated at Reigate St. Mary’s School and Shiplake College. A keen racer from an early age, he competed in the BRSCC T-Cars Championship in 1999 and 2000, going on to take the BRSCC Saloon Car winter championship in 2001.Turning his attention to the BTCC, he was team mate to ex-Superbike racer Aaron Slight in 2002 driving a Vauxhall Astra Coupé for Barwell Motorsport. He proved to be very quick, and although his lack of experience counted against him he nevertheless finished the season in 15th place overall and 5th in the Independents’ Cup.
In 2003 he finished in 9th place overall driving a works Honda Civic Type-R run by Arena Motorsport alongside Matt Neal and Alan Morrison. With Honda withdrawing manufacturer support for 2004, Arena only had the budget to run a single car for Chilton. However, the car was still well-prepared and he came through to take his first victory during the 9th race of the season, at Silverstone, in the process becoming the youngest winner of a BTCC race. He won again in the 29th race at Donington. His plans for 2005 centered around the DTM with a new programme backed by MG Rover, but this fell through with the demise of the British marque. He and Arena rejoined the BTCC at the second meeting of the season and combined his touring car duties with racing for Zytek in the ALMS and LMS endurance series. Chilton won in both ALMS and LMS racing. He was classified 5th in the 2005 British Touring Car Championship season despite only starting 24 of the 30 races. Chilton’s involvement with Zytek continued, subject to funding and availability; Tom and his brother Max drove the car at the Silverstone 1000 km in September 2007.
VX Racing signed him for 2006 to drive the #5 Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch. In a disappointing season for Vauxhall, Chilton never won a race and slipped to 7th overall. However, Vauxhall retained Chilton and Fabrizio Giovanardi for 2007, but Chilton did not want to stay at VX Racing in 2008.For 2009 Chilton returned to Arena Motorsport to drive a Ford Focus ST in the BTCC under the Team Aon banner, but spent much of the year developing the car and he ended the season 13th in the drivers’ standings. He remained with the team for 2010. The LPG-powered car was more competitive, taking four of the first five poles, but bad luck meant team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole took better results than Chilton initially. Both were on the podium in race two at Snetterton. At Silverstone the team was dominant, and Chilton was allowed to take both wins ahead of team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole, who finished ahead in the overall drivers’ championship but Chilton secured the Independents’ Trophy by a two point margin over Steven Kane.For 2011 the team developed a new car based on the new third generation Ford Focus which ran to Super 2000 regulations powered by an NGTC turbocharged engine. Results were poor initially as the car was developed but Chilton took the car to pole position at Knockhill, going on to win race one. He also won the final race of the season at Silverstone. He finished the year 7th in the drivers’ championship on 197 points.
Chilton made his debut in the World Touring Car Championship in 2012, driving for the Arena Motorsport team with their Ford Focus S2000 TC alongside fellow WTCC debutant James Nash. Although he was new to the championship, Chilton was ruled out of the Yokohama Trophy due to his experience in the BTCC as both a privateer and a works driver. In race one in Morocco, he scored the first points for Ford in their WTCC return after coming home in seventh place.He scored another point in race two in Slovakia. Chilton was given a five place grid penalty for a collision during qualifying for the Race of Austria, he locked up down the inside of Franz Engstler and made contact, putting Engstler out of Q1.An engine change for both Fords at the Race of Japan sent Chilton to the back of the grid for the first race. In the final race at Macau, Chilton lost control in the oil left on the track from Alex MacDowall’s collision with the barrier on lap 4, the subsequent crash forced him to retire. Chilton finishes 22nd in the drivers’ standings, two places behind team mate Nash. Chilton moved to RML for the 2013 season, driving a Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T alongside former world champion Yvan Muller.
He was also one of many racing drivers rumoured to be The Stig on BBC2 show Top Gear, after the previous Stig revealed his identity and has appeared in five series of Top Gear. He was one of the drivers in the People Carrier Race. He then again appeared as one of the drivers in the Toyota Aygo football match and also raced a Chevrolet motorhome with other touring car drivers as well as Richard Hammond and has also raced (and then rolled over) a double decker bus, and had earlier on in the episode raced against Jeremy Clarkson whilst driving a BMW M3. He has also appeared in Top Gear, racing against other touring car drivers, driving many other vehicles including, airport vehicles, buses and taxis, with most of these races ending in absolute carnage.