This legendary brand finds its roots in Henry Royce's electrical and mechanical business, which started in 1884 and went on to become a car manufacturing company in 1906. Royce made his first car in 1904, and was soon introduced to Charles Rolls, a proprietor of a car dealership. Royce's car-making skills brought together with Rolls' business acumen resulted in Rolls-Royce Limited, a car manufacturing company founded on March 15, 1906. Other than the brand's charisma, it is the bonnet ornament on Rolls-Royce cars that is much more symbolic of the brand. Called the Spirit of Ecstasy, it features a woman leaning forward with her arms stretched behind her. Also a surging cloth runs from her arms to her back, resembling wings. However, Rolls-Royce started its association with India via the country's aerospace sector in 1932 when Tata Aviation Services, launched its first aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Gipsy engines and soon after the Indian Air Force took to the skies in 1933, powered by Bristol Jupiter engines.
There is no doubt about the fact that Rolls Royce is a name to be reckoned with in the luxury car segment, but Rolls-Royce cars in India hold a totally different place together among the luxury cars. Officially, the first Rolls Royce car in India was the Rolls-Royce Phantom. This ultra-luxury sedan first traveled to Indian shores in 2005 with a price tag of Rs 4 crore. Fitted with a hefty 6.75-litre V12 engine, this classic Rolls-Royce baby churns out a power of 453bhp and is available in four variants, namely, Rolls-Royce Phantom, Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, and Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase. No new versions were introduced in the Phantom family until the launch of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II in June 2012, which sees a new 8-speed automatic transmission along with an array of other new features.
Rolls-Royce cars in India have always found a unique place among the nation's elite. So much so, that Rolls-Royce cars were an integral part of the lives of the Indian maharajas much before India became an independent nation. Some interesting owners include the Maharaja of Patiala, who owned nearly 27 Rolls-Royce cars. Other owners include the Maharaja of Kashmir and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Bollywood celebrities who happen to own a handful of Rolls-Royce cars include Sanjay Dutt's wife Manyata Dutt, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, and Shahrukh Khan. These names prove that India's affair with this extravagant symbol of class and elan will continue to grow and strengthen over the years.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a BMW subsidiary, responsible for the Rolls-Royce automobiles since 1997.
In 1998, owners Vickers decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The most likely buyer was BMW, who already supplied engines and other components for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, but BMW's final offer of £340m was beaten by Volkswagen's £430m.2003 Phantom ? Launched in January 2003 at Detroit's North American International Auto Show, this is the first model from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited.
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