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Rolls-Royce cars are the epitome of luxury and are built to last forever. The first Rolls-Royce rolled out from their Manchester factory in 1904. The quality, engineering, craftsmanship and the heritage that comes along with a Rolls-Royce model can be matched only by very few car manufacturers.
Over the years, many rare varieties of Rolls-Royce models were made, each having their own uniqueness. However, there was one unusual Rolls-Royce model with an even more unusual name that started it all - The Rolls-Royce Legalimit!
During the early 20th century, 7 out of 10 Rolls-Royce owners used to end up in jail. The primary reason for this was overspeeding. This seriously affected the brand image.
When Rolls-Royce was started, sales were not high and the brand faced tough competition from its rivals. Along with this, the bad reputation of ‘Rolls-Royce owners going to jail' affected the sales even more. Hence, Rolls-Royce came up with a solution to this. A car which could go below the legal limit of 32km/h, or the Rolls-Royce Legalimit!
The Rolls-Royce Legalimit is the brand's first V8-powered car and is also the first V8 passenger car. The Legalimit had three gears and two governor settings. The low-speed setting set the top speed for the first gear at 12.9km/h, second gear at 22.5km/h and the third gear at 34.6km/h. The high-speed setting allowed the car to reach 41.8km/h. Hence, the first V8-powered passenger car was built to make the car go slow.
Electric vehicles were popular between the 1880s and 1910s. They didn't have the smoke, sound or vibration associated with conventional engines. The wealthy community was slowly preferring electric vehicles over others. This affected the sales of Rolls-Royce models even more and they made a variant of the Legalimit to prevent this.
The special version of the Legallimit was labelled under the title, ‘The Car With An Invisible Engine'. The Invisible Engine Rolls-Royce used the same V8 engine, but it was placed under the driver's seat. The engine was well-enclosed to keep the sounds low.
Nobody actually knows if the sound-deadening of the engine, and that too, a V8, was enough tomatch that of electric vehicles.
However, the Legalimit and the Invisible Engine Car were flops. Perhaps they might be the only models in the history of Rolls-Royce to face market failure. Only threeLegalimits and a single Invisible Engine Rolls-Royce were made. None of them exists today. The unpopular Rolls-Royce models of the early 1900s remained unpopular ever since.
Thoughts On The Rolls-Royce Legalimit And The Invisible Engine Car
Rolls-Royce can never be imagined making a bad car. Be it power, pride or plush, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars towers over almost any other car. However, the fact that Rolls-Royce made a car which couldn't even be sold by at least one unit is unbelievable.
The Legalimit and the Invisible Engine Car were made during a time when manufacturers were experimenting with automobiles. Hence, the Rolls-Royce Legalimit remained as an experiment which is unknown to many today.