Why Do Rolls-Royce Cars Have Spooky Names? — Ghost, Phantom, & Wraith

Rolls-Royce cars have a legendary reputation for beautiful designs, quality craftsmanship, outstanding performance, and high-level luxury. There’s another element of Rolls-Royce cars that many people might not realize, though. They have spooky names — with the Ghost, Phantom, and Wraith. In the “spirit” of Halloween, let’s find out why. 

Rolls-Royce cars are named after scary supernatural beings

Front angle view of black Rolls-Royce Ghost, highlighting why Rolls-Royce cars have spooky names
Rolls-Royce Ghost | Rolls-Royce

A common trend for luxury cars is to use alphanumeric names with numbers and letters, such as the BMW X3 or the Tesla Model 3. Other automakers create names based on capabilities (Ford Explorer), animals (Ford Mustang), or even locations (Chevy Colorado). 

However, Rolls-Royce went in a completely different direction. It named some of its cars after spooky supernatural beings. Few other automakers could get away with such a naming scheme. Could you imagine a Kia Ghost? Or a Honda Phantom or a Chevy Wraith? However, Rolls-Royce has achieved much success with scary-named cars such as the Ghost, Phantom, and Wraith.

Silver Ghost was the first spooky name for Rolls-Royce

Front angle view of green 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, highlighting why Rolls-Royce cars have spooky names
1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost | John Keeble/Getty Images

The spooky naming scheme dates back over a century. It all started with the Silver Ghost, which debuted in 1907. Like many automakers during this period, Rolls-Royce had numerical names for its cars. Originally, the Silver Ghost was called a “40/50.” As detailed by Autoweek, the Silver Ghost Association states that “the chassis of this car [40/50] was first produced at Royce’s Manchester works and later produced from 1908 at the Derby factory (still in use for aviation engine production) and between 1921 and 1926 in Springfield, Missouri.”

Eventually, the Silver Ghost name was given to the model with “chassis number 6055” — but not by Rolls-Royce — at least initially. The press called this car Silver Ghost. It wasn’t until the introduction of the new Phantom range of cars in 1925 that the British automaker officially recognized the Silver Ghost name. 

So, the credit for the start of the spooky Rolls-Royce naming scheme can be given to journalists. Originally, the Silver Ghost had a mundane numerical name, but journalists rescued the 40/50 from numerical obscurity with a scary supernatural name. 

With the Phantom, the British automaker recognized a marketing opportunity

Front view of black Rolls-Royce Phantom
Rolls-Royce Phantom | Rolls-Royce

As previously mentioned, the Phantom debuted in 1925. It replaced the Silver Ghost. Recognizing the marketing opportunity after the success of the Silver Ghost, Rolls-Royce continued with the spooky supernatural being naming scheme for the Phantom. The British automaker marketed it as the “New Phantom.” 

In later years, Rolls-Royce continued with the ghostly names. The Ghost, named in honor of the Silver Ghost, debuted in 2009. Also, the Wraith joined the lineup in 2013. Additionally, the Phantom, which is now on its eighth generation, is still in production and nearing its 100th anniversary. Furthermore, in 2023, Rolls-Royce will release its first electric car, the Spectre. Spectre (or specter in American English) is another word for a ghost. 

Also, Rolls-Royce states that the eerie names “evoke a slight feeling of unease,” according to HotCars. The site explains that “Humans are not very accepting of ghostly apparitions, but if and when any of us experiences a close encounter of the paranormal kind, the sense of wonder remains long after the fear subsides.” Like ghosts and other supernatural beings, Rolls-Royce cars create a lingering sensation of wonder.

However, not all Rolls-Royce models are named after spooky supernatural beings. There’s the Dawn convertible grand tourer and the Cullinan SUV — named after the Cullinan Diamond, which is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered. 

Other cars with scary names

Front angle view of black Rolls-Royce Wraith
Rolls-Royce Wraith | Rolls-Royce

Along with the Rolls-Royce Ghost, Phantom, Wraith, and Spectre, there are some other car models with scary names. This includes:

  • Dodge Demon
  • Dodge Hellcat
  • Lamborghini Diablo (Diablo is the Spanish word for devil.)
  • Pontiac Banshee (Banshee is a female spirit in Irish folklore.)
  • DF Goblin
  • AMC Gremlin

Happy Halloween, and “enjoy” a spooky journey in a Rolls-Royce car or another vehicle with a scary name!

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