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Rolls Royce Armoured Cars

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Rolls Royce 1914 India Pattern Armoured Car

Official Designation: ?

Designer(s): ? Designed in India.

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce (Silver Ghost)

Drive-train: 40/50 hp Rolls Royce (Silver Ghost)

Armoured body maker: ? Built in railroad shops in India.

Armament: Maxim Machine Gun(?)

Distinguishing features: Wire wheels with narrow tires, tall boxy body without turret, and ?

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: 3(?)/0 (48 cars were armoured in India of which some were Rolls Royces.)



Rolls Royce 1914 RNAS Admiralty "Pattern 1" Armoured Cars for use in Belgium

Official Designation: ?

Designer(s): Royal Navy design team led by Lieutenant Walter Gordon Wilson.

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce (1907-1914 Silver Ghost)

Drive-train: 40/50 hp Rolls Royce (1907-1914 Silver Ghost)

Armoured body maker: ?

Armament: Maxim Machine Gun(?)

Distinguishing features: Wire wheels with narrow tires, open automobile style armored body without turret, armoured fenders, and ?

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: 3?/0 (Some or all reportedly reconfigured into 1914 Admiralty Pattern Armoured Cars.)



Rolls Royce 1914 Admiralty Pattern Armoured Car

Official Designation: Admiralty Pattern

Designer(s): Designed in October of 1914 by an Admiralty Air Department committee composed of Squadron Commander W. Briggs (RNAS), Flight Commander Thomas Gerard Hetherington (RNAS), Lord Wimborne, and N.C. Macnamara.

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce (1907-1914 Silver Ghost)

Drive-train: 40/50 hp Rolls Royce (1907-1914 Silver Ghost)

Armour maker: William Beardmore & Co.

Body assembly and Wooden rear deck/storage maker: ? (Possibly by Beardmore in Glasgow, Scotland or by the RNAS at the Clemont-Talbot Works in Wormwood Scrubs, London?)

Turret assembly: William Beardmore & Co.

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret. (Some early machines were originally equipped with Vickers-built Maxim machine guns transferred from ships of the Royal Navy.)

Distinguishing features: Wire wheels with narrow tires, short Admiralty turret, lack of louvers in radiator shields, running lights mounted on fenders, and ?

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: 89+/1 Reportedly some of the earlier Rolls Royce armoured cars used in Belgium were returned to have new 1914 Admiralty Pattern turreted bodies fitted. This may account for the unusual odd number of chassis (89) ordered from Rolls Royce. (One modified and deteriorated car survives at the armoured cavalry museum in Ahmednagar, India – any additional info is appreciated! Note: The car seen in the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” was a replica built on an actual Rolls Royce passenger car chassis – following the movie the armoured body was removed and the car restored to its passenger car configuration. In this form it is now in a museum.)

Notes: It is unknown how many -if any- of the 1914 pattern cars remained in service at the beginning of WWII. There is a photo taken in Cairo and dated "ca. 1936" that shows a 1914 Pattern car in service. A number of the 1940 Fordson cars do have bodies that appear consistent with those of the 1914 Pattern cars. Also note: There is reportedly a Royal Flying Corps variation of this pattern that differs in minor details.



Rolls Royce 1920 Pattern Armoured Car

Official Designation: Rolls Royce Armoured Car Mark I

Designer(s): ?

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce (Silver Ghost)

Drive-train: 40/50 hp Rolls Royce (Silver Ghost)

Armoured body maker: ?

Turret maker: ?

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: ?

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret.

Distinguishing features (As per 1914 Pattern except): Essentially a standardized copy of the 1914 Pattern with various alterations including metal disk wheels with narrow tires, height of Admiralty turret increased by 1”, louvers added in radiator shields, running lights mounted between fenders and radiator, and ?

User: Great Britain, Ireland (13)

Number constructed/surviving: ?/5 (one at the Bovington Tank Museum, one privately owned (?) in Great Britain, two in Ireland and one in France at the Musee National de l'Automobile (chassis and drivetrain only). Note: The car at the RAF Depot Honnington Museum is reportedly a replica. There is also a known replica in New Zealand.)

Notes: Mark IA "Heavy" sub-type distinguished by the addition of a cupola, thicker armour, and armoured machine gun in a ball mount - 15 cars of this type were constructed. Reportedly as of Sept. 1, 1939 there were 20 1920 Pattern Mark I and 10 1920 Pattern Mark IA cars still in service with the British Army.



1920 Rolls Royce Armoured Car Type A

Official Designation: Rolls Royce Armoured Car Mark I Type A

Designer(s): ?

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce (Silver Ghost)

Drive-train: 40/50 hp Rolls Royce (Silver Ghost)

Armoured body maker: ?

Turret maker: ?

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: ?

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret.

Distinguishing features: Virtually identical to 1920 Rolls Royce except for lack of louvres in radiator doors

User: Great Britain - RAF only in Iraq and Egypt

Number constructed/surviving: ?/?

Notes: Some sources identify the RAF version as "Rolls Royce Armoured Car Type N". “Type A modified” subtype used only by the RAF in Iraq and Egypt distinguished by heavier wheels with broader tyres.



1921 Rolls Royce India Pattern / 1923 Vickers Armoured Car / 1925 Crossley India Pattern

Official Designations: IGL1 (in Indian service), Dowa (Japanese service)

Designer(s): Vickers

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce / Crossley 1.5 ton truck / Crossley 1.5 ton truck

Drive-train: Rolls Royce / Crossley 1.5 ton truck / Crossley 1.5 ton truck

Armoured body maker: Vickers

Turret maker: Vickers

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: Vickers

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret.

Distinguishing features: Visually similar to 1920 Pattern except turret and rear of vehicle are of distinctly different design, turret is large and bulbous, different wheels (split rim?) with narrow solid rubber tires, louvers in radiator shields, running light mounting location similar to 1920 Pattern but details vary, front fenders vary between types sold to different countries, hull of the 1923 model could be electrified, and ?

Users: Great Britain/India, Argentina, Japan, South Africa, Iran, Iraq (6 wheel version)

Number constructed/surviving: 100?/4 (1 at Bovington Tank Museum, 2 in South Africa, 1 in India)



Rolls Royce 1924 Pattern Armoured Car

Official Designation: Mark II

Designer(s): ?

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce

Drive-train: 66 bhp Rolls Royce

Armoured body maker: ?

Turret maker: ?

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: ?

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret.

Distinguishing features: Generally similar in appearance to 1920 Pattern but actually totally redesigned (note differences in body shape in front of driving position), steel wheels with wide section tires, new turret design which lacks the sloped sides of the previous Admiralty turret, running lights mounted between fenders and radiator shield but higher than 1920 Pattern, hinged doors in sides, and ?

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: 24/0 (There is a story of a RR being stripped of it's armour and turned into a coupe for an RAF officer at Helwan. – Fate unknown.)

Notes: As of Sept. 1, 1939, 24 1924 Pattern cars were still in service with the army.



1924 Transfer of 1914/1920 Armoured Car Bodies to New Rolls Royce Chassis

Official Designation: Mark I Modified (and presumably Admiralty Pattern Modified)

Designer(s): Transfer of 1914/1920 bodies and turrets onto new Rolls Royce chassis, modification designed by ?

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce

Drive-train: Rolls Royce

Armoured body maker: As per 1914 or 1920 Pattern.

Turret maker: As per 1914 or 1920 Pattern.

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: As per 1914 or 1920 Pattern.

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret. Later, a box-shaped mount was added to the side of the turret in a number of cars for a Boys ATR - later changed to a 0.50 Browning HMG in some vehicles.

Distinguishing features: Wide heavy duty wheels (split rim with solid tires), both heights of Admiralty turret are seen in photos, both with and without louvers in radiator shields, running light mounting location similar to 1920 Pattern but component details vary, and ?

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: ?/0



1939 Chevrolet India Pattern 1939

Official Designation: ?

Designer(s): Field modification (?) of bodies of 1921 India Pattern Rolls Royce armoured cars mounted on Chevrolet chassis

Chassis maker: Chevrolet

Drive-train: Chevrolet

Armoured body maker: Vickers

Turret maker: Vickers

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: Vickers?

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret.

Distinguishing features:

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: ?/?



Common name: 1939(?) Chevy Chassis “Rolls Royce” Armoured Car

Official Designation: ?

Designer(s): Field modification (?) of 1920 bodies and turrets onto Chevrolet truck chassis, modification designed by ?

Chassis maker: Chevrolet

Drive-train: Chevrolet

Armoured body maker: As per 1914/20? Pattern.

Turret maker: As per 1914/20? Pattern.

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: As per 1914/20? Pattern.

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret.

Distinguishing features: Dramatically shortened wheelbase, Chevy truck wheels, Admiralty turret, louvers in radiator shields, running lights mounted on fenders, and ?

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: 1/0 (body reportedly moved onto Ford chassis)



Rolls Royce 1924 modified 1940

Official Designation: Rolls Royce 1924 modified 1940

Designer(s): Installation of Morris Model CS9/LAC turret onto existing 1924 Pattern armored car bodies/chassis.

Chassis maker: Rolls Royce

Drive-train: 66 bhp Rolls Royce

Armoured body maker: ?

Turret maker: Morris(?) 1940 installation of turret from Morris Model CS9/LAC was done by Nairn Transport Company of Cairo.

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: ?

Armament: Boys AT rifle, Bren gun and smoke discharger in turret, Bren sometimes mounted on AA mounting at rear of turret.

Distinguishing features: As per Rolls Royce 1924 Pattern except for Morris Model CS9/LAC turret, and ?

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: 4? / 0



1940 Ford Chassis “Rolls Royce” Armoured Car

Official Designation: ?

Designer(s): Field modification of 1914 and 1920 bodies and turret onto 158” Ford truck chassis, modification designed by ? This work reportedly was done at an RAF facility in Egypt in October 1940.

Chassis maker: Ford

Drive-train: Ford

Armoured body maker: ?

Turret maker: William Beardmore & Co. (some)

Wooden rear deck/storage maker: ?

Armament: Vickers .303 machine gun in turret. Later, a box-shaped mount was added to the side of the turret in a number of cars for a Boys ATR - later changed to a 0.50 Browning HMG in some vehicles. Lewis machine gun (single or pair) in scarff ring on top of turret, later changed to Vickers K guns and later still to dual 0.303 Brownings. Other armaments including the 37mm Bofors are rumored to have been fitted to some cars.

Distinguishing features: Somewhat longer wheelbase, Ford truck wheels, Admiralty turret of both heights observed in photos, some vehicles have louvers in radiator shields while others do not, running lights mounted on fenders, most (possibly all) were fitted with a large armoured box called the “coffin” behind the turret in location of former truck bed which enlarged the fighting compartment and allowed the installation of a wireless set Type 19(?) - The top hatch for the wireless compartment appeared to be one of the rear fighting compartment doors, and ? Note: Some of these cars, referred to as “Heavies” featured ball mounted Vickers heavy machine guns and apparently heavier armour.

User: Great Britain

Number constructed/surviving: ?/0

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