Video features a Rolls Royce prototype driverless electric car maintaining the luxury Rolls Royce is known for as shown in the 1912 model below.

From chauffeur driven luxury to driverless electric

1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

This 100 year old fetched 4.7 million pounds at auction in 2012

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Unique: This 100-year-old Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce has sold for a world-record price of £4.7 million after a furious bidding war at Bonhams.

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Through the roof: The lengthy auction saw two enthusiasts duelling for the pristine car as the bidding went up in increments of £100,000, smashing past the £2million estimate.

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In great nick: The six-cylinder, 7.3-litre car comes with perfect provenance and is still purring smoothly, doing about 15 miles to the gallon.  What it lacks in gadgetry, the British-made classic more than compensates for with an extraordinary level of luxury that leaves its modern-day counterparts looking a little unsophisticated.

It’s gleaming interior fittings are made of silver and ivory, while the door panels are embroidered silk, with brocade tassels attached to silk window shades for privacy.

The sale took place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex on Friday. Auctioneers had expected it to sell for around £2million and were astonished when the bidding between two rival collectors topped £4million.

James Knight, from Bonhams auctioneers, said: ‘There were three bidders, then one of them dropped out at £2.3million and we thought it would end there.

But then another bidder entered and the bidders were duelling. It went up in increments of £50,000, and then £100,000, and then back down to £50,000.

It went on and on and on and was the longest car sale I have ever witnessed.

It was pure theatre. Everyone was very respectful but when the price reached a milestone, like £3million, there was an intake of breath.

The bidders were duelling and when the hammer came down there was spontaneous applause.

It was fitting because the car was celebrating her centenary (2012).

The car was commissioned by Rolls-Royce connoisseur John M. Stephens, who also bought the first Silver Ghost the luxury car-maker produced in 1906.

The body was built by former royal carriage-maker Barker’s of Mayfair, which had previously built coaches for King George III and Queen Victoria.

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Traveling in style: The design chosen by its original owner echoed the luxurious ‘Pullman’ Railway carriages pioneered by American George Pullman.

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Luxurious: The elegant passenger compartment (left) complete with 29 bevelled glass windows and (left) the stylish steering wheel

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Standing the test of time: The 7.3-litre, six-cylinder engine is still purring smoothly and is capable of doing around 15 miles to the gallon.

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Mark of history: A plaque bearing the vehicle’s chassis number of 1907

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Touch of class: The original owner employed the services of the best coach-making company, Barker and Co. Ltd, to do the bodywork

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Classic designs: One of the car’s brake lights. The Rolls-Royce still had its headlights, carriage lights, rear lights and inflatable tyres when it went up for sale

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Miniature version: The Corgi toy of the roller, pictured, is a very accurate copy of the real Silver Ghost. The real car was sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The car even had an early speedometer – an important addition given that a 20mph speed limit was introduced in 1912.  Unlike most car enthusiasts of his time, Mr Stephens, from Croydon, South London, asked the makers not to include a glass division window between the driver and the passengers as he wanted to drive it himself rather than rely on a chauffeur.

The car’s distinctive cream and green design echoed the luxury ‘Pullman’ Railway carriages of the time, and it was known as a Double Pullman Limousine.

But it was nicknamed ‘the Corgi Silver Ghost’ in the 1960s after the toy-maker based its Silver Ghost toy car on this model.

Mr Stephens’s car is believed to be the only one of its kind to survive with its full interior and bodywork, as many Rolls-Royces from the era were converted into ambulances during the First World War.

Auctioneer Bonhams said: ‘It is a statement of refinement, grace and gentility that for many defines the qualities and the Edwardian period in which Rolls-Royce established the unsurpassed reputation it still enjoys today.’

The identity of the anonymous telephone bidders has not been revealed but sadly Bonhams has confirmed the car will now be leaving Britain once more.

It left Britain in 1992 after it was bought by a US enthusiast.

A Texas lawyer bought it from him in 2007 for £1.9million and kept it until 2009, when he was killed in a crash in a different car.

The Rolls was then sold once again before the latest seven-hour auction, which saw more than 80 cars go under the hammer for a combined £22million.

Astonishingly, the Silver Ghost was not the most expensive lot.

That honour went to a 1929 ‘Blower’ Bentley single-seater racing car, which sold for £5,042,000, the highest price ever for a British car at auction.

In 1932, fighter pilot and Le Mans winner Sir Henry Birkin set a 137mph speed record in the Bentley, described as the Concorde of its time.

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The Duke of Westminster in the driver’s seat of a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost in 1914. The Duke formed the 1st armoured division and this car was used on the Western front in the same year.

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A customised 1911 Silver Ghost owned by the Maharaja of Mysore

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Sir John Mills is driven in a vintage Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost in 2000 during the pageant celebrating the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday in Horse Guards Parade, London.

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