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Rolls-Royce used to absolutely dominate the world speed record books while making one of the world’s best jet engines.

Rolls-Royce Holdings is a British multinational public limited company incorporated in February 2011.

It is a business established in 1904 which today designs, manufactures and distributes power systems for aviation and other industries.

Rolls-Royce is the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines. Its major businesses are in marine propulsion and energy sectors.

Rolls-Royce was the world’s 16th-largest defense contractor in 2011 and 2012 when measured by defense revenues.

As of June 2013, it had a market capitalization of £22.22 billion. It is 24th-largest of any company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Its headquarters are in London.

In 1973, Rolls-Royce split up, with the Rolls-Royce cars splitting off, airplane engine and military contractor remaining on its own.

But did you know that their iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament exists because of an extramarital affair? Did they build nuclear friggin reactors?

It’s modeled after a woman named Eleanor Thornton. She had a long open-secret affair with a man at the forefront of early car culture. Her lover was both wealthy and wanted a nice hood ornament. Thereby he commissioned a sculptor to put Eleanor on the front of the car. In some of the earlier models, she has her finger to her lips as a nod to their secret love.

The Spirit of Ecstasy is worth $40 million.

BMW bought Rolls-Royce in 2002 and rights to the ornament was owned by Volkswagen. BMW paid $40 million to make Rolls-Royces with the winged lady on the front.

It can get be in gold or illuminated crystal.

Charles Stewart Rolls, one half of the eponymous carmaker, was the first man to fly across the English Channel and back.

He was an avid aviator, and flew his Wright Flyer over the Channel and was back in 95 minutes.

In 1906, he won the world’s most famous motorcycle race using a car.

In 1906, there was a category for cars. Charles Rolls entered two cars and won the race.

He was also the first Brit to die in a plane crash.

The tail of that Wright Flyer fell off and he fell to his death on July 12th, 1910.

The first Rolls-Royce model ran a ridiculous 14,371 miles non-stop, back in 1907. They drove it back and forth between Glasgow and London 27 times and established the brand as a player in the motoring world. They were the original rally cars.

The 1913 Rolls-Royce Alpenfahrt was a contest that covered 19 different Alpine passes when most of them were dirt.

They still recreate that Alpine run.

You can use a new Rolls-Royce if you’d like, but you’re encouraged to use your old one.

They didn’t build their own bodies until after WWII.

RR would build the best chassis they could, put the best engine they could in the chassis. They allow specialized coachbuilders to handle the body.

That led to some interesting designs and not using machines for most of the interior.

For the back seat Champagne flutes really are a factory option.
The “R” airplane engine was the fastest thing on earth powering a Supermarine S6B to over 400 mph.

It won the ultra-competitive Schneider Trophy air race.

In the early 1930s, a supercharged R was dropped into Blue Bird and the car topped 300 mph. Thereby making it fastest thing on land.

Sir Henry Segrave set the water speed record in this boat, hitting a log in the process. It died shortly after they told him to set the record making it the fastest thing on the water.

Sir Henry Royce made the initial engineering sketches of that engine while walking on a beach with his top engineers.

It helped them to beat the Nazis when they figured out how to make it not blow up. It became the heart and soul of the legendary Spitfire fighter plane.

They dropped the Merlin engine into a P-51 Mustang. Thereby transforming it from a very good low-altitude plane to one of the best warplanes ever built.

They made armored cars from tons of steel which were used in the fight against Germany.

Rolls-Royce makes nuclear reactors, for British submarines with some U.S. tech help.

They still make some of the world’s best jet engines from Gulfstreams and 777s to British Harriers.

They also powered the Concorde past Mach 1. It was the best passenger jet of all time to have something other than a Rolls-Royce engine.

Rolls-Royce used to have an American factory from 1921 until 1931 where they used to produce Silver Ghosts in Springfield, MA.

Royce invented the adjustable shock absorber while on his deathbed. He felt the first Rolls-Royce-produced Bentley was too fast and needed a better way to control the suspension. He drew up some plans, handed them to his nurse, and died the next day.

The Phantom IV was built to be used only by heads of state where only 18 were ever built.

There are over 1,600 hand-placed fiber optic lights inside a Wraith which seems like you’re cruising under the stars.

Rolls-Royces are so unbeatable that the Russians never even bothered to copy them. Yuri Gagarin went to space, and the first thing he did when he got back was the ride in a Rolls.

John Lennon murdered out his Rolls before rap was even invented. He first had his Rolls painted in matte black, then got bored with it. He painted something a bit more lively. It worked.

Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He once watched a Concorde take off from de Gaulle Airport in Paris which was loud.

Also, read What can be said about BMW that hasn’t been said before?

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