Best Car in Town : Rolls Royce1947 Rolls Royce Silver WraithAbout the Silver WraithThe MotorcarsThe Grille and Mascot
Bespoke and off-the-peg: Rolls-Royce's stand at the 1954 Motor Show with a Park Ward Touring Saloon in the foreground and an H.J. Mulliner Touring Limousine behind, both on Silver Wraith chassis. In the left background is a left-hand-drive Silver Dawn with a Silver Wraith Hooper Seven-Passenger Limousine behind. (Rolls-Royce)

The Grille and Mascot

The Rolls-Royce radiator grille is made entirely by hand and eye - no measuring instruments are used. It takes one man, one day to make a Rolls Royce radiator, and then five hours are spent polishing it.

" The Spirit of Ecstasy" is certainly the most attractive and best known motor car mascot in the world. Designed by Charles Robinson Sykes, she has adorned the radiators of Rolls-Royce motorcars since 1911.

This is the story of Eleanor Thornton, who was employed as a secretary to Lord Montagu, editor of the illustrated magazine "The Car" and a pioneer of automobiles in England. Lord Montagu commissioned sculptor and close friend, Charles R. Sykes to create a special mascot for his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The small statue illustrated a young woman in fluttering robes having placed one forefinger to her lips and was christen "The Whisper."

The Rolls-Royce Company was becoming increasingly concerned at the tasteless mascots appearing on all too many British cars, including Rolls-Royces and after seeing Lord Montagu's mascot, commissioned Charles Sykes to create a mascot. In February 1911 he presented to Rolls-Royce the "Spirit of Ecstasy", which was easily recognizable as being a variation on the theme of "The Whisper". The similarity was hardly coincidental because the model for both had been the lovely Miss Thornton, whose liaison with Lord Montagu remained a secret for a decade or more because both partners acted with the utmost discretion.

The mascot has become as much an instantly recognized feature of the Rolls-Royce motorcar as the famous radiator and the interlocking RR's. Rarely, however, is the correct term "Spirit of Ecstasy" used - detractors remark this was only done at the factory in Crewe. The name "Eleanor" is widespread and Americans speak of the "Silver Lady" or the "Flying Lady".

The Rolls Royce Owner's Club ( is open all who would like to enjoy the experience of owning a Rolls-Royce motorcar or even just to admire the marques.

NOTICEWhen booking a limousine, go to the City of Portland website to verify that the company is legally permitted.