This Is The Small Car Rolls-Royce Never Made

When you hear the words "Rolls-Royce Myth" chances are you imagine stories of engineers flown out to remote deserts to effect repairs on Rollers before their wealthy owners' caviar-cones melt, or perhaps tales of the fairy genocide that was the result of the systematic capture and metal-casting of fairies to make Rolls hood ornaments. What you probably don't think of is a small car.

But you'd be wrong.

Decades and decades before the Aston Martin Cygnet attempted to package opulence in a very little box, Rolls-Royce was thinking along similar lines.

It was right after WWII, and things weren't exactly great for anyone in Europe. Even proud, stalwart Rolls-Royce needed to at least consider a more attainable car in order to stay afloat, at least in the very uncertain early post-war years. Remember, this was the era where BMW was kept alive by the humble Isetta.

Another big help was the appearance in 1949 of what appeared to be a Rolls-Royce in the distance, no matter how close you were to the car: the Triumph Mayflower. The Mayflower was one of Triumph's first post-war small cars, and was styled to look very upmarket, even if the tiny proportions made it look a bit like a cartoon.

Rolls took notice of the little cartoon Roller, and prepped their response: the Myth. Powered by a 1497 cc engine that seemed to have chronic cooling issues, the littlest Rolls had a body built by coachbuilders Park Ward.

The body had the expected Rolls-Royce look, with sweeping external fenders flanking a tall, vertical grille, and a very traditional upright rear that still hinted at its steamer trunk origins. Except everything was done in what looked like 3/4 scale. As a result, the Myth was nicknamed the "Watch Charm Rolls Royce," which is impressive, since the car only existed 10 days and 407 miles. Getting any kind of nickname in a 10-day lifespan is an achievement, if you ask me.

This Is The Small Car Rolls-Royce Never Made

In the end, Rolls-Royce decided developing the little car just wasn't worth the teething issues and development, since it's not much more expensive to make a large, exclusive car and sell it for a Royal Crapload more. Classism was also a factor, as RR suspected that their usual rarified clientele wouldn't like the idea that the help could possibly own a car of the same brand as theirs, even if it was tiny, and they were the thirtieth owner and it was painted with expired cake frosting. There's just some things that the really rich won't stand for.

So the Myth died. I hold a number of beliefs at odds with almost everybody: the healing power of gravy, the erotic potential of the Oxford Comma, and a firm belief that the day of the Luxury Small Car is coming. I think one day we will see a tiny, exquisite Rolls-Royce city car, but until that day please pour 4 oz of sherry on the carpet in memory of the littlest Rolls that never was.

(Source: Triumph Mayflower Historian)