1914 Rolls Royce 40/50 Continental ‘Alpine Eagle’

The Alpine Eagle is a variant of the infamous 40/50 ‘Silver Ghost’.   It was actually referred to by Rolls Royce as the Continental model.  However, the Continental was a replica of the cars entered in the 1913 Austrian Alpine Trial.

During the 1912 Trial, the three speed gearbox had proven insufficient.   Therefore, four cars were prepared for the 1913 season with four speed gearboxes.   Power was increased to 75hp (from 60) through increased compression and and improved carburettor.   The four cars were known as Alpine Eagles.

The success of the Alpine Eagle allowed Rolls Royce to market the model to the public as the Continental.  However, both the original four cars and the production model were known informally as the Alpine Eagle.

The car in the video was owned by Lord Montagu and used in many historic rally events.   Perhaps the best known of these was the 1988 Bicentennial Rally where it was driven from Canberra to Perth by Lord Montagu and Prince Micheal of Kent.  Despite being over 100 years old the car is still used on a semi regular basis for historic rally events.

The car is now in the collection of the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu.    It can be seen in the museum, and I was lucky enough to see it being started up by the curators.   It is a really impressive machine, and forms an interesting comparison with the Phantom II parked next to it.   The car has been fitted with an electric starter and was re-bodied in 1950.    As can be seen in the video it is started on a trembler coil and then switched to a Magneto.  It therefore has two spark plugs per cylinder.

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