Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce
Bruce Lawson

9781909644397 In 1900, aged twenty-two, Charles Stewart Rolls was the best known motorist in Britain, better known than Jeremy Clarkson today, having won the ‘Thousand Mile Trial’ of that year, the event that launched motoring as a practical popular concept. Rolls followed his success in the Trial by racing in highly dangerous inter-city races in Europe. He drove the fastest time ever achieved in Britain although this was never ratified. At the same time Rolls ran a large car-sales and service showroom in London, employing seventy staff with space for two hundred cars. In the space of six months he persuaded the secretary of the Automobile Society of Great Britain & Ireland to join him and then, shortly after, discovered Henry Royce with whom his name is now forever linked.
Hardback:360 pages

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This triumvirate of talented engineers and businessmen took Rolls-Royce Ltd. to the pinnacle of motor and aero engineering that the company has occupied ever since. Rolls helped create the new sport of hot-air ballooning and raced his balloon for his country. He then joined a select band of intrepid pioneers who risked all to prove the theory of powered flight. He was first to fly the English Channel both ways but weeks later perished at Bournemouth Air Show. Engineer, salesman, aristocrat, pioneer and businessman, Charles Rolls offers us a timely reminder of British invention, courage and ingenuity a hundred years ago.


Andrew Marr
Charles Rolls was a great British hero, out of Central Casting and we’ve been missing probable good about him for far too long..This is a lavishly-illustrated and excellent read, about one of the heroes of modern Britain.

Classic Car Club of America
Within the pages of this 256-page hard-cover book the reader will discover rare and unfamiliar photographs, advertising reprints and posters. Photographs and overviews are included of Rolls’ colleagues involved in early motoring and aviation: Frederick Henry Royce; Claude Johnson, often called the “hyphen” in Rolls-Royce; James Gordon Bennett Jr, newspaper tycoon who sponsored early ballooning events; Selwyn Francis Edge who along with Rolls and Charles Jarrott, a successful race driver, were the trail-blazers in early motoring, and saw racing as the way to promote and market motorcars, and make money. And we must not forget Henry Edmunds, an early investor in the Royce car, who introduced Rolls to Royce.

The level of detail is remarkable and it is obvious that the author Bruce Lawson was devoted to getting it right. The foreword by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, who wrote an earlier biography and whose own father was a good friend of Rolls, validates its authenticity.
I urge anyone fascinated with the early days of motoring and/or aviation to add this volume to his collection.