Rolls Royce History

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1902 The Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls started C. S. Rolls and Co..
1904 Henry Royce built his first car and founded Royce Ltd in Manchester.
Charles Rolls signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Royce and Rolls-Royce was founded.
A Rolls-Royce 10hp two seater was exhibited at the Paris Salon in autumn 1904 (the car sold for £3.52 million at auction on 3rd December 2007.)
1910 Charles Rolls died in a flying accident.
1911 The Spirit of Ecstasy radiator mascot was designed by Charles Sykes. It is said to be modelled on Eleanor Valesco Thornton, secretary, and mistress, of John Walter Edward Scott-Montagu, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. She died in 1915 when the SS Persia, en-route to India, was torpedoed by a German submarine off Crete; Lord Montagu survived the sinking.
1931 Depression hit Bentley sales and that company went into liquidation.
A bid by Napier to acquire Bentley was beaten by Rolls-Royce. Bentley production moved to Derby. W O remained with the company as a consultant.
1933 Henry Royce died.
1946 Production moved from Derby to Crewe. The first car built there was a Bentley Mark Vl.
1952 R Type Continental launched.
probably 1950s
1971 W O Bentley died.
1971 Rolls-Royce suffered crippling losses following technical problems with the RB211 jet aircraft engine. The Government rescue plan split the aerospace and automotive divisions; rights to Rolls-Royce trademark stayed with Rolls-Royce Plc.. Rights to the Rolls-Royce grille and Spirit of Ecstasy belonged to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars licensed its name from Rolls-Royce Plc..
1980 Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was acquired by Vickers Plc., a defence and engineering corporation.
1991 Vickers discussed the sale of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
1992 Rolls-Royce Motor Cars contracted with BMW for the supply of air bag systems.
1993 Rolls-Royce was in discussions with Mercedes-Benz on engine supply.
more modern version
1994 BMW and Rolls-Royce reached an agreement for BMW to develop engines for the new line of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.
1997 Oct Vickers Plc. put Rolls-Royce Motor Cars up for sale. BMW, in an aviation engine joint venture with Rolls-Royce Plc. since 1990, was considered the most likely buyer.
1998 April Vickers Plc. accepted a £340 million takeover offer by BMW.
VW AG announced a better offer.
1998 June VW AG agreed to pay Vickers Plc. £430 million for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars including Bentley Motors subject to shareholder approval. VW also agreed to acquire Cosworth Engineering from Vickers Plc. for an additional £120 million. Volkswagen AG announced a £500 million product development investment programme for Bentley Motors at Crewe.
1998 July Agreement was reached as follows: BMW acquired the Rolls-Royce name and logo from Rolls-Royce Plc. for £40 million and licensed VW AG to use the name to the end of December 2002.
1998 Launch of the Bentley Arnage Green Label & the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph.
1999 Launch of the Bentley Arnage Red Label. Bentley Motors announced the decision to launch a new car, codenamed MSB, the first of which was later confirmed as a GT coupe.
2000 Jan New Rolls-Royce Corniche in Los Angeles.
2000 Mar New Rolls-Royce Park Ward launched at Geneva Motor Show.
2001 Bentley returned to Le Mans and took third place overall.
2001 Last of the line series models for Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph announced.
2002 Last of the line series models for Corniche and Park Ward announced.
2002 Last ever "real" Rolls-Royce (a Corniche) was presented to the press on August 30th at the Crewe factory.
2002
August 2002
[-Bentley 8/2002]
2003 Jan 1: BMW AG assumed the rights to use the Rolls-Royce marque.
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