Rolls-Royce 100-Year Anniversary

The 4th May 2004, marks the centenary of the historic first meeting between the Honourable Charles Rolls and Henry Royce at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, UK, which led to the formation of the world famous Rolls-Royce business, one of the greatest and best known brand names.

The celebrations will be jointly hosted by Rolls-Royce plc, the world-leading company in gas turbines for civil aerospace, defence, marine and energy systems; and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, (now owned by the BMW Group).

Since inception, the Rolls-Royce name has been synonymous with integrity, reliability and innovation. Beginning as a motor car manufacturer, it developed its engineering capabilities to include engines for air and marine propulsion, as well as for energy applications. The company’s far-sighted memorandum of association in 1906 referred to its aim to provide engines and vehicles ‘for use on land, or water, or in the air'. 100 years on, the two companies have achieved the dream of their founding fathers, with their futures firmly built on the foundation of a century of innovation.

To celebrate the event, a fly-past of an historic Avro Lancaster (from RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight), powered by Rolls-Royce engines, will provide an aerial salute over the centre of Manchester, where Rolls and Royce first met. A collection of classic Rolls-Royce motor cars will join the celebrations, as part of the Centenary World Tour – which began in New Zealand in January this year. A Rolls-Royce Centenary Phantom will also be displayed – one of just 35 examples of this special version of the new Phantom produced to mark the occasion.

Sir John Rose, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce, said:

"For 100 years we have powered the world’s most advanced machines on land, at sea, and in the air, creating value for our customers over the lifetime of every engine. Today, gas turbine technology lies at the heart of the company; our engines are now so powerful that just one 10 centimetre turbine blade is capable of delivering the same power as a Formula 1 racing car."

In its centenary year, Rolls-Royce has invested in its future by opening a new £85m factory in Scotland and has just announced a further £100m investment in new facilities around the UK. It has also been chosen by Boeing as one of two suppliers for its 7E7 Dreamliner, an aircraft that will come into operation in 2008.

"It’s important to look forward as well as to reflect on the past", continued Sir John. "Rolls-Royce will continue to break new ground and has gained strong positions on a new generation of programmes in each of our four businesses, which we know will shape the future of the company for at least the next 50 years."

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Tony Gott, added:

"This year we are celebrating not only a Centenary but also the first anniversary of a new era for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The new Rolls-Royce Phantom has been greeted with worldwide acclaim over the last year and here today we have one of just 35 examples of the special Centenary version."

"The Engineering excellence upon which the Company was founded remains at the centre of all of our plans for the future. At the Geneva Motor Show in March we unveiled a one-off experimental motor car named 100EX – a four-seater, two door, luxury convertible. This special motor car demonstrates the dedication, commitment and ingenuity of our engineering and design teams to secure a long and prosperous future for our Company."

Published 11 May 2004 Melanie Carter

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