- 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.
- 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
for the supply of air bag systems.
- 1993 Rolls-Royce was in discussions with
Mercedes-Benz on engine supply.
- 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
- 2002 Last of the line series models for Corniche and Park Ward
- 2002 Last ever "real" Rolls-Royce (a Corniche) was
presented to the press on August 30th at the Crewe factory.
- 2003 Jan 1: BMW AG assumed
the rights to use the Rolls-Royce marque.