Organized by the Austrian Automobile Club beginning in the early 20th century, the Austrian Alpine Trials were among the first events that challenged participants to tackle the elevation, thin air and unforgiving terrain of the mountains.
As Rolls-Royce tells the tale, its fleet of four 40/50 hp Silver Ghosts tackled the 1,820 hard mountain miles of the 1913 Austrian trial with a deftness that was admired and revered by onlookers. Having developed some insight into the rigors of the Alps the previous year, Rolls-Royce added a new four-speed gearbox with low-gear, fortified the chassis and suspension, and beefed up fuel capacity in preparation for the steep inclines and unforgiving terrain presented by the week long event. Some of the modifications, including the four-speed gearbox, found their way into Rolls' production line, and the company credits the successful event for helping to establish its reputation as an elite auto manufacturer. In fact, the event earned the Silver Ghost a rather prestigious nickname: the best car in the world.
"The 1913 Alpine Trial was an extraordinary moment in the rich history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.“The standards of engineering and pioneer spirit required to achieve such feats stands as inspiration to everyone associated with the marque.”
Inspired by those pioneering efforts, the Alpine Trial Centenary Collection is a modern-day Ghost with design cues from the original Silver Ghosts. The car's black grille is the first painted grille on one of Rolls' modern-day motor cars, and the blue exterior is colored similarly to the 1913 model driven by James Radley, a privateer entrant in the trial. Rolls-Royce says the Alpine Trial Centenary is its first bespoke model to be inspired by a heritage car.
The story of the 1913 trial truly unfolds in the interior. The clock includes a trial-inspired design, and inlays in the rear picnic tables and front fascia showcase the topography and distances of the route through the Alps.
The Rolls-Royce Alpine Trial Centenary Collection will appear alongside Radley's original Silver Ghost at the Shanghai Auto Show, which starts this weekend. A few weeks after that, both cars will participate in a reenactment of the 1913 event organized by the 20-Ghosts Club. It will begin on June 14 in Vienna and proceed through Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia, circling back to Vienna on June 29.
Source: Rolls Royce