Unlike many of the concept cars we see at auto shows that are dummied up with clay, smoke and mirrors, Rolls Royce has always pursued an entirely different philosophy, building fully functioning “experimental vehicles.”
Each such car has been meticulously hand-built to investigate how a potential production model will operate in real world conditions since 1919, when the first such vehicle (1EX) was constructed, predating the 1938 Buick Y-Job (often claimed to be the world’s first concept car) by almost two decades.
The “Torpedo” styled 10EX was built in 1926 as a sports car version of the Phantom 1 and after many modifications, lapped Brooklands at an average speed of 91.2 mph. Most importantly, it stayed in the company as a staff car and occasional celebrity courtesy car for six years, being driven by many people of note, such as Lawrence of Arabia who once borrowed it for a European trip…
10EX was built in late 1925. Writing about the development of the 10EX, Henry Royce explained, “The object of preparing this chassis is that, if speed merchants in the form of English peers or Indian Rajahs or others doubt the capacity of the Rolls-Royce Phantom I, this specimen, which we should be able to repeat, can be tried by them… We have no thought of making a freak machine or to depart from the smooth and silent model, but we do think that the owners of the smooth and silent models within their large bodies capable of 80 mph will be pleased to know that the same chassis and engine when fitted to a touring car will be capable of 95-100 mph…”
So there you have it. 10EX is unquestionably exquisitely beautiful, it was one of the world’s first concept cars, has a splendorous and meticulously documented provenance, and … it’s for sale.
Lovely piece of automotive history. Too bad my wallet will never be expansive enough to afford such a lovely beastie.