How Much Do You Know About Rolls-Royce?



By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: effspot

About This Quiz

Ah, the Rolls-Royce. Few other brand names carry such a suggestion of wealth and luxury. From Jay Leno to Jay-Z, the rich and famous love these cars. Just consider the number of name-checks the Rolls-Royce brand gets in hip-hop lyrics; stars are forever "roll(ing) up to the club in the Ghost." Or the Wraith, or the Phantom -- it's a Rolls-Royce tradition to take names from the world of the paranormal. 

The Rolls-Royce brand goes back to the early 20th century, when an automotive engineer and a salesman fascinated with vehicles of all kinds -- cars, bicycles, airplanes and hot-air balloons -- went into business together. Their goal was to create the world's best-made car: reliable, durable, powerful and comfortable. From those beginnings, Rolls-Royce became a thriving company and an increasingly prestigious brand. It has survived the premature death of one of its founders, a near-bankruptcy and receivership, and now foreign ownership. Even now, its high standards and production costs limit it to making 6,000 cars per year. These few cars are eagerly purchased by celebrities with famous faces, as well as billionaires whose faces the world doesn't know, but who could probably buy and sell celebrities half a dozen at a time. 

How much do you know about this prestigious car brand and its history? Prove your Rolls-Royce savvy, or learn a few new things, with our quiz!

Rolls-Royce is best known as a _____ car brand.

If "Cadillac" is a shorthand for wealth -- at least, a six-figure income -- "Rolls-Royce" is the symbol of the one percenter. It didn't start out that way, though. Early on, the company made its selling point the durability of their cars.


In what country was Rolls-Royce born?

Rolls-Royce is a classic English company. When it began to struggle financially, the UK government bought it, to keep it alive.


Charles Rolls was an engineer; what was Henry Royce's early line of work?

The "marriage" of an automotive engineer and a car salesman was a match made in heaven. They met in 1904.


In what city was the first plant located?

Charles Rolls began making cars in Manchester, which is where he met Henry Royce. However, they chose to situate their first plant just outside Derby.


Other than cars, what was Charles Rolls interested in?

Rolls was interested in more than one kind of machine; he liked bicycles, balloons and airplanes as well as cars. He made more than 150 balloon flights, and bought an early airplane licensed by America's Wright Brothers.


How much horsepower did the first Rolls-Royce have?

While there have been small cars with as little as 2 horsepower (see the Citroen "deux chevaux"), the larger bodies of early cars needed stronger engines. The first line of Rolls-Royces were planned to have from 10 hp to 30 hp.


Which of these is a common name for a Rolls-Royce model?

Rolls-Royce has a tradition of taking names from the world of the paranormal. "Ram" is, of course, a line of Dodge trucks.


What is the name of the R-R mascot/hood ornament?

The sculptor used a socialite of the time, Eleanor Thornton, as his model. Somehow, the figurine has gotten the nickname "Emily" instead, as well as the "Flying Lady" and the "Silver Lady."


What smaller logo, along with the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, identifies a Rolls-Royce?

This most obvious answer here is the correct one. The logo simply represents the company's name.


Where was the first Rolls-Royce introduced?

Today, this is better known as the Paris Auto Show. It was there that the Rolls-Royce 10 hp made its debut.


In what American city did the company open a plant in the 1920s?

If Springfield's name is familiar, it's probably for other reasons than once hosting a Rolls-Royce factory. The famous "Springfield rifle" was made at its armory, and James Naismith created the game of basketball there.


What carmaker did Rolls-Royce buy in the early 1930s?

Bentley was known for making smaller racing and sports cars. But one of the things Rolls-Royce did after buying the company was shut down production of Bentley's larger, 8-liter model, which was too similar to the Rolls-Royce Phantom.


What was the original name of the 1906 Silver Ghost?

This early model was simply named for its horsepower. But when a individual car was named "the Silver Ghost," the nickname caught on.


About how many of the first-model Silver Ghosts were made?

That seems like a lot for the very early 20th century, when few people could afford cars. However, this was over a time span of 20 years, which puts the number in perspective.


Other than cars, Rolls-Royce is known for making _____.

The company began making engines in the early 20th century. Even today, you might fly on a jet powered by Rolls-Royce engines.


What prompted Rolls-Royce to start making airplane engines?

World War I was the first war to substantially use air warfare. The need for planes and engines inevitably pulled Rolls-Royce into a new line of production.


In what decade was the Silver Cloud introduced?

The Silver Cloud rolled out in 1955. It was an update of the earlier "Silver Dawn."


Which of these was the name of Rolls-Royce's early business manager and third partner?

If the third member of the top management had had the name "Rollins," it probably would have become part of the name, to facilitate a triple-R logo. As it was, Johnson had to call himself "the hyphen in the Rolls-Royce name."


True or false: Does the Spirit of Ecstasy have wings?

This is a common misconception. It is actually long, fluttering robes that give the "Silver Lady" the illusion of wings.


What was a drawback to the early Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornaments?

We can't rule out that puncture wounds to hapless pedestrians were a possibility -- but only the first two reasons have been cited. Rolls-Royce changed the plating to nickel to resolve the first issue, and designed a kneeling version of the Silver Lady to improve visibility.


Many of Rolls-Royce's offerings are called "saloon cars." What is this in North American English?

"Saloon" means "sedan" in UK English. There are more specifics to this body style than just having four doors and a trunk, but if you're a car buff, you already know them, and if you're not, well, you don't care!


What year was Rolls-Royce nationalized?

The de-merger and nationalization of Rolls-Royce is so complicated that you almost need a business degree to understand it. Suffice it to say that Rolls-Royce was a national icon that the British government did not want to allow to fail.


What prompted Rolls-Royce's financial collapse?

Rolls-Royce had committed to creating this powerful new engine for US airframe makers. However, a brilliant chief engineer died in the middle of its development, the process dragged on, and cost overruns threatened to bring Rolls-Royce down.


Who owns the Rolls-Royce line today?

Clarkson is rich, but we don't think he can afford a luxury car line! German company BMW is the current owner.


In the present day, where does Rolls-Royce sell most of its cars?

Is it any surprise that the land of NBA stars and hip-hip millionaires buys the most Rolls-Royces? China is the second-largest market.


True or false: Does Rolls-Royce make an SUV?

This is a risky move on Rolls-Royce's part. SUVs had their heyday in the 1990s and 2000s, but fluctuating fuel prices have made them less popular. The company will release the "Cullinan," named for the largest diamond ever found, in 2019.


Who designed the Spirit of Ecstasy symbol?

Sykes is best known for his work on the mascot. His first version, featuring the Lady with her finger to her lips, is called "The Whisper" and is displayed at the National Motor Museum in England.


Which of these celebrities owned/owns a Rolls-Royce?

That's right, even "Working Class Hero" John Lennon owned a Rolls. It was a Phantom V, which he had painted to look like a gypsy wagon, presumably in an attempt to fend off accusations that he'd gone posh.


One of R-R's popular offerings is a "drophead coupe." Put more simply, what is this?

"Drophead coupe" is a fancy name for a convertible. Among others, Khloe Kardashian owns one.


Today, about how many cars per year does Rolls-Royce sell?

Approximately 4,000 was the number in 2016. This was probably due to a strong stock economy in both the USA and China, big markets for Rolls. The company is only capable of producing 6,000 cars per year, at any rate.


Celebrities make up about what percent of R-R's buyers?

About 1 in 5 Rolls buyers has a famous name, including two Kardashians, Simon Cowell, Jay-Z, Jay Leno and more. That still leaves room for a lot of captains of industry, governments and more.


Which market was the "Year of the Dragon" special edition created for?

Not surprisingly, this car was made to be sold in China. It included hand-stitched rear seat cushions and the "Phantom" name in gold. (Should people in a Communist country be driving these?)


How old was Charles Rolls when he died?

Rolls died in a flying demonstration, when the tail of his plane broke off. His was the first aviation fatality in the UK (not counting ballooning accidents).


According to Bloomberg Financial News, what list did Rolls-Royce top in 2015?

Actually, the list analyzed songs from May 2014 to May 2015. It didn't just count shout-outs to car brands, but any brand. Rolls was the most often mentioned, followed by Ferrari and then by Hennessy whiskey.


Which of these is the NOT name of a Rolls-Royce airplane engine?

Rolls-Royce's tradition was to name its airplane engines after birds of prey. The Mustang is a horse (as well as the name of both a warplane and a car).


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