Select Page

Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club event in San Diego gathered 130 vintage and modern Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars

A chassis of a 1921 Silver Ghost

This 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost has never been fitted with a coach body. (Photo courtesy of Brad Zemcik)

BY MARK MAYNARD

More than 130 classic and modern Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles were on view at the 70th annual meet of the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, held at the Dana Resort on Mission Bay.

The Spirit of Ecstasy radiator top

The Spirit of Ecstasy.

The four-day event, held June 21-24, had registered owners from across the U.S. and enthusiasts from as far away as England, Australia, Germany, and Canada.

Throughout the week (and another three days of free time afterward), owners took advantage of backcountry tours of San Diego County, technical sessions, seminars, silent auctions, and vendor booths. There also were exclusive tours of some fabled San Diego car collections.

Event Planning

Much planning for the 70th annual meet fell to the San Diego chapter of the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club and its members. Meet chairs Brad and Michele Zemcik and club members had much heavy lifting to do. There had not been an official Rolls-Royce Owners Club show in San Diego since 1983.

The Zemcik’s got started with the planning in 2018.

“Things were moving along, and then Covid hit in 2020,” said Brad Zemcik. “For months, nobody would talk to us, but fortunately, I had secured the hotel. At the start of 2021, we started pouring on the gas.”

Brad Zemcik has been a Rolls-Royce enthusiast for 53 years. He acquired his first Rolls-Royce, a 1939 Wraith, when he was 20. Over the years, he has owned three others including a 1920 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer and a Bentley Mark VI (6). Currently, he owns a 1957 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, which was at the show.

“Rolls-Royce owners believe their cars should be driven,” Zemcik said in a phone interview. And at least two cars in the San Diego meet were long-distance travelers. A couple from North Carolina took a few weeks to drive their Silver Ghost to San Diego after attending a five-day Silver Ghost tour event and driving hundreds of miles in Utah.

A front view of a 1950 Bentley Mark VI that was driven to San Diego from Oregon

This 1950 Bentley Mk VI SSS (standard steel production) was driven to the meet from Oregon. But along the way, the owner had to stop to have a pacemaker inserted!

An Oregon owner traveling to San Diego in his 1950 Bentley 1950 Mk VI had an unexpected stop along the way. It wasn’t a problem with his Bentley. He had a medical emergency and had a pacemaker installed, er, inserted.

Classic Rolls-Royce and Bentleys in a lineup for a photo shoot

In line for the official photo session.

21 Judged Classes

There were 21 judged classes, including Senior and Preservation.

In all, the meet had “130 cars plus or minus,” Zemcik said, ranging in age from 1909 to 2017. “Some who registered did not show up, or others came just for the day.” And there were many local cars on view.

A 1952 Silver Wraith saloon in the Preservation group still wore its original dark Velvet Green paint. It still shined but was showing a gentle patina. The Silver Wraith owner from Long Beach, Calif., said the car was originally purchased by the Viscountess of Shropshire County, England. It was for chauffeured drives to and from the House of Lords in London and her local rounds as the Member of Parliament for the district she represented.

A dark green 1952 Silver Wraith sedan

Upright and bold front styling for the 1952 Silver Wraith.

Side doors open on 1952 Silver Wraith

This 1952 Silver Wraith was originally purchased by the Viscountess of Shropshire, England. Note the Mulliner plate at the driver seat.

Because the Wraith was a personal vehicle, there is no partition between the front and back seat, the owner explained. The only built-in cabinetry is the fold-out tray tables, and a lot of legroom, he said. The stately Silver Wraith, with a beige leather interior, was chauffeur-maintained by the Viscountess until 1977. The owner now drives the car at least twice a month.

The highly patinated 1921 Silver ghost tourer

The highly patinated 1921 Silver Ghost tourer.

A 1921 Silver Ghost tourer looked like a barn find, showing its heavily patinated red paint. Its aluminum fenders were scoured of paint, and a heavily crinkled red color still showed through other body parts. The car is actually well preserved, Zemcik said, and first saw duty as a fire truck in Sweden, noted by the heraldry on the door.

Hooper body Rolls Royce

The Hooper bodied 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.

The red, crusty hood of the 1921 Silver CloudWhat might be called a unicorn was a 1921 Silver Ghost that had never been bodied. It was just the chassis and driveline, as it was when it left the factory. It has had several owners, Zemcik said, but was never bodied.

Friday was the concours show and judging, with class categories organized among the hotel parking areas. Later, awards were presented on the flight deck of the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum at Navy Pier along San Diego Bay.

Next year’s 71st annual meet for the RROC will be in Gettysburg, Pa., in mid to late June, 2023.

Here’s a sampling of cars at the 70th annual meet of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club:

1909 Silver Ghost, Roi des Beiges body style (“King of the Belgians”).

A 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

A mirror image of the 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

A scrub brush footstep on the 1909 Rolls-Royce

Clean shoes only, please.

1913-Silver Ghost Cann Torpedo, Side

1913 Silver Ghost Cann Torpedo. Locally owned.

The wood and metal trimmed side board of the 1913 Silver Ghost

Meticulous details on the 1913 Silver Ghost Cann Torpedo.

Driver area in the 1913 Rolls

Blue on blue 1913 Silver Ghost Cann Torpedo.

A tire on the 1913 Silver Ghost Cann.

A front view of a 1921 Springfield (Mass.) Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost; locally owned.

A locally owned 1921 Springfield (Mass.) Silver Ghost.

The tool roll for the 1921 Silver Ghost Springfield

Never leave home without the tool roll.

The back seat area of the 1921 Springfield (Mass.) Silver Ghost

Lots of legroom in this Silver Ghost, built in Springfield, Mass.

1922 Silver Ghost Skiff;

A most unusual 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Skiff.

The wooden sides of the 1922 Silver Ghost Skiff

Skiff body by Olin J. Stephens and Co. LTD.

Driver area of the 1922 Skiff with much wood inlays

Wooden bodied, inside and out.

A front mug of a red 1924 Bentley.

A 1924 Bentley 3-liter tourer, with coachwork by Vanden Plas.

A front mug of a 1926 Bentley.

Ready for endurance racing at Le Mans.

A front three-quarter view of this 1926 Bentley in British Racing Green.

A locally owned 1929 Bentley 6 ½ liter Speed Six Le Mans-style tourer.

Red tape marks top-center of the steering wheel on this '26 Bentley Le Mans-styl

Red tape marks top-center in this ’26 Bentley Le Mans-style tourer.

The "B" fold-down foot step on this 1926 Bentley

Bentley branding.

The front mug of a A 1929 Springfield (Mass.) Silver Ghost Pall Mall.

A 1929 Springfield (Mass.) Silver Ghost Pall Mall. Coachwork by Merrimac, below.

The tire-mounted side mirror on the 1929 Springfield Silver Ghost.

A 1933 Rolls-Royce 1933 Carlton roadster.

A 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Carlton roadster. Below, note the distinct wheel weights used on all 1930’s era 20/25 Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.

Spare tire on the 1933 Rolls-Royce Carlton

A mid-blue and silver 1933 Rolls-Royce Thrupp and Maberly limousine.

1933 Rolls-Royce Thrupp and Maberly limousine. And below, aero disc wheel covers.

Aero disc wheel covers on this '33 Rolls-Royce limousine.

934 Phantom II Hooper-bodied limousine

A 1934 Phantom II Hooper-bodied limousine.

The '34 Phantom's 7.7-liter straight-six engine.

The ’34 Phantom’s 7.7-liter straight-six engine.

Front seat area of the 1934 Phantom II

Nicely broken-in leather of this 1934 Phantom II Hooper-bodied limousine.

The royal blue front view of the 1935 Bentley 3 ½ liter saloon, body by Park Ward.

A 1935 Bentley 3 ½ liter saloon, body by Park Ward.

A royal blue 1935 Bentley 3 ½ liter Park Ward saloon

Sleek lines of this 1935 Bentley 3 ½ liter Park Ward saloon.

A front mug of the 1949 Silver Dawn

The 1949 license plate of this Silver Dawn was made by inmates at Folsom Prison. The left-hand driver is powered by a 4.25-liter 6-cylinder engine.

A silver colored A 1949 Silver Dawn. Claimed to be the 12th Rolls-Royce ever made; body and chassis produced by Rolls-Royce.

This 1949 Silver Dawn is claimed to be the 12th Rolls-Royce ever made. Its body and chassis were produced by Rolls-Royce.

The Silver Dawn interior

Lovely wood and hides in the 1949 Silver Dawn.

The tall chrome grille of the 1950 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

A 1950 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.

Bench seats in the A 1950 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.

Bench seats in the 1950 Silver Wraith.

The red interior of a1952 Silver Dawn

The red-on-red 1952 Silver Dawn.

The purple face of a 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Limousine

A 1952 Silver Wraith Limousine, locally owned. Coach built by Freestone & Webb.

The tall chrome grill of the 1952 Silver Wraith

Bold and upright grille work of the Velvet Green 1952 Silver Wraith.

A tire on the 1952 Silver Wraith

A robust rubber of the 1952 Silver Wraith.

The handsome wood veneer on the interior of a1952 Silver Wraith saloon

Striking colors in the veneer of the 1952 Silver Wraith Saloon.

A 1953 Silver Dawn with a clever license plate "DSH SOAP"

A 1953 Silver Dawn with a clever license plate.

A keyed hood lock on the 1953 Silver Dawn.

The hood lock on the 1953 Silver dawn.

A 1957 Bentley S1 saloon.

A 1957 Bentley S1 saloon.

A frnt mug of a dark green 1965 Bentley S3 Continental.

1965 Bentley S3 Continental. (The owners also have in their collection a Bentley S1 and a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.

The rear end of the 1965 Bentley Continental.

Sporting lines of the 1965 Bentley S3 Continental.

A 1967 Silver Shadow saloon.

A 1967 Silver Shadow saloon.

A front mug of a 969 Silver Shadow, from Canada.

The 1969 Silver Shadow, from Canada.

A tire and wheel cover of the 1969 Silver Shadow drophead coupe

Pinstriped body and wheel covers of the 1969 Silver Shadow

A side view of the blue 1971 Silver Shadow LWB saloon.

A 1971 Silver Shadow LWB saloon.

The stately chrome grille of a 1971 Silver Shadow LWB saloon.

The stately grille of the 1971 Silver Shadow LWB saloon.

A gold colored 1972 Corniche coupe; locally owned; body by Mulliner, Park Ward.

A 1972 Corniche coupe; locally owned; body by Mulliner, Park Ward.

Learn more tag for the 1972 Corniche

Learn more about this 1972 Corniche.

 

1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche front seats.

Burl veneer in the ’72 Corniche.

A dark green 1976 Silver Shadow saloon

1976 Silver Shadow saloon.

A 1976 Silver Shadow LWB saloon

A 1976 Silver Shadow LWB saloon; locally owned. Scots Pine paint with a beige Everflex coach top and tan Connelly leather. The car’s sticker price in 1976 was $44,225, while the average price of a single-family home in San Diego was $38,000.

Door handle and pinstriping

Complementing pinstriping to the paint color.

The matching pinstripes on the wheel and front fender of the 1976 Silver Shadow

Such delicate and tasteful pinstriping on this 1976 Silver Shadow.

A frone view of a 1991 Bentley Continental drophead coupe

1991 Bentley Continental drophead coupe.

The bold face of a 1991 Bentley Continental drophead coupe, with a red leather coach top and cream body color

A 1991 Bentley Continental drophead coupe. Body by Mulliner, Park Ward.

A locally owned 1991 Silver Spur II long wheelbase saloon.

A locally owned 1991 Silver Spur II long-wheelbase saloon.

A steel blue 2002 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph

A 2002 Silver Seraph saloon from Las Vegas.

Tan front seats of the 2002 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph

Sumptuous leather.

luxe back seat accommodations in the 2002 Silver Seraph

A well-padded back seat in the 2002 Silver Seraph.

back seat liquor bottles in the Rolls-Royce

And with crystal glassware.

The big front tire of a silver-blue 2002 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph saloon

Robust rubber for a heavyweight Silver Seraph saloon.

A black 2010 Bentley Azure T drophead coupe

2010 Bentley Azure T drophead coupe.