Silver Ghost goes under the hammer for £4.7m at Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost which fetched nearly 5 million at auction.
The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost which fetched nearly 5 million at auction.
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A classic Rolls-Royce has gone under the hammer for almost £5m at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

An intense bidding war saw The Corgi, a 100-year-old Silver Ghost, fetch a record-breaking £4.7m at last week’s motoring festival, becoming the most expensive Rolls-Royce ever sold at auction.

The Silver Ghost initially attracted a trio of bidders, all keen to see the car, which has a top speed of 60mph and does six miles to the gallon become part of their collections.

“It went on and on and on, it was the longest car sale I have ever witnessed. It was pure theatre.

“Everyone was very respectful, but when the price reached a milestone, like £3 million, there was an intake of breath,” said James Knight, group head of Motoring at Bonhams Auctioneers.

The Rolls-Royce boasts window frames made of finely finished wood, with window pulls and door panels made of embroidered silk.

The interior fittings are made of silver and the door pulls are made of ivory.

“There were three bidders initially, then one of them dropped out at £2.3 million and we thought it would end there. But another bidder entered and they began duelling. It went up in increments of £50,000, then £100,000, and then back down to £50,000”, added James.

“It was the perfect storm if you like. We had two bidders who really wanted this Corgi car, and whoever lost out would have had to psychologically cross it off their collecting list, with no guarantee it would reappear for sale in their lifetime.”

Concealed in the rear compartments’s footrest is a complete picnic set and china tea service for four people, along with an alcohol-fueled burner and kettle to heat the water.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the sale of the Corgi Ghost. We felt the car had the potential to get up to, around or perhaps even a little more than £2 million, which in its own right for a Silver Ghost would have been effectively breaking new ground,” said James.

The body was built by former royal carriage-maker Baker’s of Mayfair, who built coaches for King George III and Queen Victoria.

The record books were also smashed after the £5m sale of a 1929 Birkin Bentley racing car, also at the Festival of Speed.

Robert Brooks, chairman of Bonhams, said: “We always believed that the Goodwood Festival of Speed was the perfect place to sell two of Britain’s most iconic cars.”

Spontaneous applause was heard when the hammer came down in the record-breaking bidding war.