Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,270 pages of information and 234,239 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Rolls-Royce Motors

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1971 A new company, Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd, was created by the receiver of Rolls-Royce to contain the profitable parts of the company including the car manufacturing division, the marine and industrial diesel engines, military vehicle operations and rights to the Wankel engine. The new company included the coach building businesses of H. J. Mulliner, Park Ward and Bentley Motors (1931)[1]. The gas turbine businesses were put into a new company Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd[2]

1973 Having failed to attract sufficiently high offers in the sale by tender, the automobile business was spun off as a public company, Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd[3].

1974 L. W. Harris appointed as general manager of the diesel division. G. R. Torrance is appointed financial and commercial director and J. W. Bates as personnel director.[4]

1976 Second rights issue within a year to fund expansion as, unlike the rest of the motor industry, Rolls-Royce had increased profits in the past year[5]

1976 Took an interest in L. Gardner[6] but failed in a bid for Fodens

1980 Vickers bought Rolls-Royce Motors Limited[7] and continued producing Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.

1981 Rolls-Royce Motors closed the specialist engine division at Crewe with the loss of 50 jobs. Manufacture for military applications continued with commercial side of operation handled from Shrewsbury.[8]

1982 Rolls-Royce gave up its 50 % holding in Trackpower Transmissions.[9]

1983 Sold Rolls-Royce Diesels at Shrewsbury to Massey-Ferguson[10]

1985 Renamed Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited.

1992 Vickers considered selling Rolls-Royce Motors[11]

1998 After a contest, Volkswagen acquired Rolls-Royce Motor Cars from Vickers[12]. The losing bidder, BMW, acquired the rights to the Rolls-Royce name and the marque for use on Rolls-Royce cars for £40 million[13] from Rolls-Royce. A deal was struck with VW that BMW would make Rolls Royce cars from 2003. Bentley cars would continue to be made, under VW ownership, at Crewe[14]

The last model built at Crewe was the Silver Seraph, effectively the first all-new Rolls-Royce since the launch of the Silver Shadow more than 30 years earlier. Developed with help from BMW, it was powered by a 5.4-litre BMW V12 engine.

2003 Production of Rolls-Royce cars at Crewe came to an end. BMW took over responsibility for Rolls-Royce cars. The Rolls-Royce headquarters and assembly plant moved to Goodwood, West Sussex.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Mar 23, 1971
  2. The Times, May 22, 1971
  3. The Times, May 04, 1973
  4. The Engineer 1974/03/07
  5. The Times, Mar 31, 1976
  6. The Times, Jun 17, 1976
  7. The Times, Jun 26, 1980
  8. The Engineer 1981/05/07
  9. The Engineer 1982/06/17
  10. The Times, Apr 03, 1984
  11. The Times, April 20, 1992
  12. The Times, July 04, 1998
  13. The Times, October 26, 1999
  14. The Times, October 21, 1998
  • History of Rolls Royce Motor Cars [1]