When you think of Rolls-Royce, you probably think of slick, high-end luxury vehicles with huge price-tags. These cars are famed for their aesthetic appeal, mechanical flawlessness, and overall quality of construction. The seeds of the company were planted back in 1884, when Henry Royce started his own business focusing on mechanical and electrical engineering. He manufactured several machines, including electric cranes. However, it was not until 20 years later that Royce created his first vehicle.
After a fateful 1904 meeting at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, aristocrat Charles Rolls agreed to purchase all of the vehicles that Royce created (he was quite impressed with his designs!). And thus, Rolls-Royce was born. The company produced top-of-the-line vehicles for nearly 70 years, before financial troubles caused the company to be reorganized and relaunched as two separate companies: Rolls-Royce Plc and Rolls-Royce Motors Limited. The British defense company Vickers acquired Rolls-Royce Motors, but sold it in 1998 to the Volkswagen Group.
Volkswagen did not have the right to build a Rolls-Royce, however. This right was still held by BMW. After further negotiation, Volkswagen and BMW agreed that BMW could brand its cars Rolls-Royce, whereas Volkswagen would take control of the Bentley/Rolls-Royce division of Rolls-Royce Motors.
Today, Rolls-Royce is owned exclusively by BMW AG, with headquarters in Goodwood, United Kindgom. They continue to produce several models of car, including the Ghost, Series II, Phantom, Wraith, Silver Seraph, and Corniche (along with subvariants of each). But Rolls-Royce isn’t just a top-end vehicle producer. It has a long, interesting history that you may not know about. So, without further ado, here are Twenty Facts You Never Knew about Rolls-Royce.