Like most Rolls-Royce names, the automotive history buff might find this hauntingly familiar.
Rolls-Royce’s tendency to name its vehicles after supernatural entities is quite well-known at this point, and with the brand’s first all-electric model being called the Spectre, it’s strange that the name hasn’t been used before for a series-production Rolls-Royce. If you’re thinking that, it’s because the Spectre name has been used before, just not in a series-production model from the brand. The name actually has a long history with the Rolls-Royce brand and bringing it back not only continues the trend of “ethereal” names for Rolls-Royce but shows how despite being an electric model, the Spectre fits right in with the philosophy of the Rolls-Royce brand.
Besides the Cullinan, all Rolls-Royce models have historic names, and the Spectre name has its origin with Claude Johnson, the commercial managing director of Rolls-Royce during its earlier days, responsible for individually naming nearly 50 early Rolls-Royces, most famously The Silver Ghost. Chassis 1601, built in August 1910 and used for trials and demonstrations, was named The Silver Spectre by Johnson, marking the first recorded use of the name by Rolls-Royce, and the car was re-bodied three times and passed along until its last known whereabouts were with a firm of engineers in Sheffield in 1933.
It would be more than 20 years later that the Spectre name would be used again, for an experimental model that Sir Henry Royce began developing in 1930, with a new V12 engine, a new chassis, and an independent front suspension. He passed away in 1933 before the car, the 30EX would be ready for road testing in 1934. It was codenamed the Spectre, and the name would carry on to nine more experimental cars until the model was introduced as the Phantom III in 1936. The experimental, forward-thinking connotation of the Spectre name in Rolls-Royce history made it the perfect name for the brand’s first battery-electric model, which is coming soon to make a radical change in the Rolls-Royce brand the same way that the Spectre of the 1930s did, which introduced the V12 engine to the brand, which is still today used in all Rolls-Royce models.