First off, pardon the absence, a tree branch fell onto the cable at my house and knocked out the internet. Anyhow, my last post on the subject of the world's most expensive cars. You might notice that, up to now, the cars were in chronological order, with each successive car being newer than the previous one. The reason I have intentionally left this vehicle off until the last post is because it is unique in two ways: (1) it is largely considered to be the most valuable automobile in the world and (2) it's price has never formally been determined by the market.
The car in question is not a model, as the previous cars have been, but a specific car. The individual vehicle I am referring to is the 1907 Rolls-Royce 40/50, "The Silver Ghost," chassis number 60551, plate number AX201. There are a number of reasons this car is considered one of the most important vehicles in the world. For one, it was one of the first truly reliable cars ever built. For another, it was the car that basically started the Rolls-Royce car company. Because of those two reasons, it has become one of the most famous, and valuable cars in the world.
The Silver Ghost was not the first Rolls-Royce ever built, it was just the most important. Charles Rolls and Henry Royce used her to prove the bulletproof build quality and reliability of their cars by running her on numerous rallies and road tours. The Barker bodied Silver Ghost (in Roi de Belges style, named after the body style preferred by King Leopold II of Belgium) really hit its stride after completing a Scottish reliability trial, and driving from London to Glasgow 27 times. Raking up 14,000 miles with nary a problem, The Silver Ghost had proven that cars could not only be quiet, powerful, and smooth, but also reliable.
The Silver Ghost got its name because it was largely unpainted, revealing it polished aluminum body, and was 'quiet as a ghost,' a often noted sentiment by passer-byers who were amazed by who silent the car was. The name became so famous, in fact, that every Rolls-Royce 40/50 came to include the tag 'Silver Ghost' despite the fact that there is only one real Silver Ghost.
The history of the car is intriguing beyond its important reliability trials. After completing those tests, the car was purchased by an employee of Rolls-Royce who drove the car a subsequent 500,000 miles before returning the car to the factory for 'minor servicing.' Unfortunately, he died while the car was in the shop, but his family decided to donate the car to the Rolls-Royce company. The car recently changed hands, but not on its own, as part of the break-up of Rolls-Royce and Bentley following the 1998 fiasco that took place between BMW and VW. In the end, the VW, the owner of Bentley, ended up with the car but displays the car at many Rolls-Royce events.
As for the value of this famous car, lets just say VW claims that it is insured for somewhere north of $50 million.