Your motto should always be: “Never say never and never say always” (M&BG 2001) There can be exceptions. It has been normal practice to retro-fit this year’s new feature to last year’s model or to the model of several years ago. It was not unusual in the ‘twenties and ‘thirties to avoid the expense of buying a new model by simply having a more up-to-date body built on one’s existing car.

This is not intended to be a definitive guide and not every model is covered.

The invaluable information and some photos gleaned from the following books is acknowledged: Johnnie Green “ Bentley - Fifty Years of the Marque” Dalton Watson 1969 Paul Woudenberg “Illustrated Rolls-Royce Bentley Buyer’s Guide” Motorbooks International 1984 James Taylor “Original Rolls-Royce & Bentley 1946-65” Bay View Books 1999 and various photographers, too numerous to mention!

Thanks also go to Jim Kelso, Kim Stapleton and Tony Ward for their advice. All remaining errors are those of the author Margaret Gillings © 2006



‘AX201’ is a 1907 40/50HP chassis no. 60551. Originally named “The Silver Ghost”, the name has come to be applied to all of them. 40/50HPs, known as Silver Ghosts, were made in Manchester & Derby UK from 1907 to 1925 and in the U.S.A. from 1921 to 1926 (see below.) The radiator really is a radiator, not just a grille. British built Ghosts had no shutters and seldom had a bumper bar. Some early lights were acetylene, later they were electric

Some cars make it easy!

The “Springfield” Silver Ghosts were made in Springfield Mass. USA from 1921 to 1926. They have shutters, usually horizontal, occasionally vertical and a typically American bumper bar, sometimes cylindrical, sometimes flat. Don’t confuse it with the 20HP (next page). Look for drum-shaped headlights

1924 Springfield Ghost S64LK. Pickwick R-R Custom Coachwork body with horizontal shutters.

1926 Springfield Ghost S348RL vertical shutters, typical American style bumper & white wall tyres.

...and from the side

In Ghosts, Cantilever rear springs were often exposed above the running boards. In the later models, like the New Phantom, they are usually hidden.


The 20 H.P. is generally a smaller-all-over car, built in Brutain from 1922 to 1929. They nearly always have horizontal shutters. Some have bumper bars, some don’t. No 20 H.P.s were built in the USA.

PHANTOMS New Phantom (PI) Phantom II Phantom III

The New Phantoms (PIs) were built in Derby from 1925 to 1929 and in Springfield from 1926 to 1931. The PI’s radiator is virtually square. All pre-war Phantoms have vertical shutters. The Phantom II was built in Derby from late 1929 to 1935 and was the last model designed by Sir Henry Royce. It has a higher radiator than the PI and the chassis is lower. It has a larger radiator filler cap than a Ghost or a PI. Underneath, you can tell a PI by its cantelever springs and its torque tube, neither of which are on the PII.

Two 20/25 H.P.s 1931 GFT11 & 1934 GRC53

20/25H.P., 25/30H.P. and Wraith

20/25H.P.s were built from 1929 to 1936 and 25/30s from 1936 to 1938. Both were smaller cars than the Phantoms but, unlike the 20HPs, had vertical radiator shutters. 25/30s and Wraiths usually have kneeling mascots.. The only real observable difference between 20/25 and 25/30 is on the steering column. Both 25/30s and Wraiths usually have kneeling mascots.

Left: 20/25H.P. compared with 25/30H.P. & wraith steering column controls. 20/25s have throttle, carburettor & ignition controls whereas the 25/30 does not. The 25/30 horn is marked “loud/soft”

1936 Mulliner-bodied 25/30 H.P GGM10

James Young-bodied 1939 Wraith WHC80

Built in 1938 and 1939, the Wraith is still a 25/30 H.P. but with bigger 6