Letter to the editor 3, Oct. 5, 2017
Silver Ghosts in Hudson
It was an early Halloween last Thursday, September 28, as ghosts of the early 20th Century visited Hudson. Not the creepy, eerily scary ghosts of our childhood, but the Silver Ghosts created by Charles Rolls and Henry Royce between 1907 and 1926. If you were fortunate you saw more than 20 of these mechanical masterpieces driving around Hudson and Rigaud on that gloriously sunny day.
The Silver Ghost car established Rolls-Royce’s claim of making the “Best car in the World.”
The Silver Ghost was a logical progression of the development of motor cars by Royce. The car had an 80 hp, 7-litre engine. Electric lights were fitted. Early cars had brakes only on the rear wheels. Later cars had a dual brake system on the rear wheels with front brakes finally appearing in 1923.
Production of the cars ceased during WW I, but because of their durability and reliability relative to their peers, the chassis and engine were successfully used in a range of armored cars, made famous by Lawrence of Arabia’s exploits in the deserts of the Middle East. Following the war, the decision was made to start production of an identical car in the United States and Rolls-Royce of America opened a factory in Springfield, MA.
A total of 7,874 Silver Ghost cars were produced from 1907 to 1926. It is estimated that nearly 1,500 survive today.
The Silver Ghost Association ran its ‘Wholly Ghost Tour’ starting and ending near Ottawa. The tour took the cars through Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. (See photos on our Facebook page).
I count myself fortunate that by happenstance I met up with a gentleman from Tennessee who was driving one of these magnificent automobiles and who told me that they would be meeting at the Sucrerie de la Montagne later that afternoon. Seeing his car reminded me of former Hudson resident Hugh Jockel who owned a 1919 Town Landaulette Silver Ghost. It was a marvel to ride in and to drive. Hugh and I spent many pleasant hours talking about his cars, and other exploits (but that is a story worthy of another letter).