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World's Second Oldest Rolls Royce on Display in Riverside Museum

01/04/2014
 

The world’s second oldest Rolls-Royce car has gone on display at Riverside Museum, Glasgow.  Built in 1905 it is the only survivor of 6 three cylinder cars made by Henry Royce as he was forging his partnership with C.S.Rolls.  It has been loaned to Glasgow Museums for three years by the Trustees of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club.

This wonderful example of an early car of great quality will complement Glasgow’s world-class Transport and Technology Collection, which is housed in Riverside Museum, Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel and European Museum of the Year 2013.

The Rolls-Royce has been delicately and sympathetically restored.  A recent partnership with Bridge of Weir Leather gifted Glasgow Museums conservators the opportunity to painstakingly refurbish the interior of the car with fine leather which blends visually with the original in both colour and texture.

RSAC Trustee Mike Gascoigne, who was at Riverside Museum to see the Rolls-Royce take up position on the main floor, said: “Apart from a short period of its initial ownership and when it was with P & A Wood, Essex for restoration or on display in the Midlands by the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, this wonderful old car has always been in Scotland.  

“It was gifted to the Royal Scottish Automobile Club in 1974 by its third owner, Adam McGregor Dick, who called it ‘the Old Girl’.  The gift was conditional on trustees being appointed by the RSAC to preserve the Old Girl in perpetuity and to put her on public display in Scotland.  The vehicle was initially an exhibit at Lord Moray’s Motor Museum at Doune from 1974 to 1998.  Now, with the very generous financial support of various Scottish benefactors who met the cost of the latest mechanical restoration, the generosity of Bridge of Weir Leather and the dedication of the Glasgow Museums conservators, the vehicle can again be on public display.  

“The Old Girl Trustees are delighted at the outcome of our 15 years’ quest to achieve this and even more so that the Old Girl is now an exhibit in the stunning Riverside Museum in Glasgow”.

Jonathan Muirhead, Chairman, Scottish Leather Group Limited added; “Much like this wonderful Rolls Royce, Bridge of Weir Leather Company was born in 1905.  So it is highly appropriate and fitting that we were selected to be a part of the delicate and sensitive restoration of this historic car's interior. 

“In the 109 years since this car's manufacture, automobile interiors have come a long way, but one thing that is still a feature and attribute of some of the world's finest cars is leather from Bridge of Weir., still the choice of the motor industry in 2014. Our usual business is supplying manufacturers of new cars in all corners of the globe with the world's only low carbon leather, so a restoration, one of such historic significance, was very interesting new territory for Bridge of Weir. I am very proud of the result and would highly recommend a visit to the Riverside Museum to view this beautiful and important vehicle."

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham, said “This is a very fine example of the highest level of craftsmanship in a car.  It is simply stunning to look at.  Everyone at Glasgow Museums is delighted to be working with the Royal Scottish Automobile Trustees to bring this Rolls-Royce into our collection and share it with the millions of people from across the globe who visit Riverside.  

“We were also grateful to Bridge of Weir Leather.  The partnership has enabled our conservators to learn more about preserving something as beautiful as this truly remarkable and very rare car.  It is more than worthy of its place in this inspiring museum and I hope many people will come to see it.”

The three cylinder Rolls-Royce was built in 1905 and was a demonstration car initially before being sold to a gentleman in Yorkshire. It was then bought by a lady in Dumfriesshire.  History recounts that her chauffeur wasn’t fond of driving it and it was sold to Adam McGregor Dick, a garage owner in Kilmarnock.  Mr Dick willed it to the RSAC in 1974.  It went on show in the foyer of the RSAC in Blythswood Square between insert date and insert date.  The Trustees of the RSAC have now taken ownership of the Rolls-Royce and have generously loaned it to Glasgow Museums.  

The Rolls-Royce is situated on the main floor under the Infinite Velodrome in Riverside Museum, Glasgow and will remain on show until spring 2016.  The display is complemented by a Riverside-style e-intro where visitors can explore in a myriad of images - many supplied by the Trustees of the RSAC - the Rolls-Royce’s journey through the decades, the RSAC and competitive motoring in Scotland in the 20th century, thus allowing visitors to learn a little more of the unique car’s history.

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