Landaulet body from Chassis 1492
The arrival of the “1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost – Chassis No. 1492 – Timber Body”. Kindly donated to the Sir Henry Royce Foundation by Bill Hall, the Timber Body from the 1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost – Chassis No. 1492 duly arrived at the Geebung Museum on Tuesday, 11th January 2022 just in time for the re-opening of the Museum on the 15th January. Timber Body being collected from Sydney by Trustee Frank Carroll and his wife Joan – aided by volunteers Steve, Martin, Brian and Bill Hall who assisted with loading the body ready for transport.
Transported on an open Trailer, with due care and careful driving, the body arrived in very good condition at Geebung. Its arrival sparked animated conversation on what to do next to prepare the Body for display within the Museum. Curator Barry Sparks, Volunteers Sue, Ann and good neighbour Dean were on hand to meet Frank and Joan and to assist with the unloading and homing of the Body. Many hands make light work, as they say, and within an hour the body was homed ready for preparation.
1915 begins the history in Australia of the 1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost - Chassis No. 1492 – with its original owner being a Mrs. Dunlop of Kew in Melbourne. Sold on, the custodians became the Whitney’s of Orange, NSW who sold it on to Kinsela Funerals in Sydney in 1925. Kinsela’s Funerals had the body converted to a Hearse. The Hearse was then sold again into the ownership of Coopers of Uralla in the 1940’s.
In 1956, 1492’s next custodians were Margaret and Barrie Gillings of New South Wales. As the Gillings were committed to Post-Graduate Studies overseas in early 1957, George Green, a well-known Vintage Car enthusiast volunteered to curate 1492 in their absence and to organise a more appropriate body than a hearse to be built on the Chassis. After extensive research a Landaulet body was chosen.
The body was built in 1958 by W. S. Grice, Body Builder of Summer Hill NSW who built Ambulance bodies at the time which, Margaret supposes, could have been why the body has always been white. This company still exists today. The only modification to the body has been the addition of half-doors to the front cabin.
Respecting the chassis number 1492, the Silver Ghost was christened “Christopher”. ‘1492”, with its distinctive Landaulet body has, with the exception of Western Australia, travelled to every other State in Australia numerous times, twice attended Bi-Centennial Rallies, has been used by numerous brides, extensively used by the whole Gillings family and had the distinction of driving NSW Premier, John Fahey, as the first car driven through the Sydney Harbour Tunnel at its opening in 1992.
“Christopher – Chassis No. 1492” turned 100 years on 28th December, 2010. In the custodianship of the Gillings family it was owned and lovingly maintained for 60years. It proved to be a very reliable vehicle and had not been off the road for more than a few weeks during the period of their ownership. Chassis 1642 was sold to Bill Hall in 2016. Bill has had a complete rebuild of its engine and a new body, built by Roger Fry of Western Australia, fitted.
His donation of the Wooden Body is greatly appreciated. A remarkable history for Chassis 1492 and for the Timber Body thus far. Look for notification in future Newsletters as to when this Body will be on permanent display in the Geebung Museum of Sir Henry Royce Foundation.
Photos courtesy of Margaret Gillings, A. Sparks, Brian Crump.