Belfast Telegraph

Titanic Ghost Rolls Royce returns to Northern Ireland

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

It turned heads when it was built more than a century ago.

Made to order for the chairman of Harland and Wolff, this car, like the luxury liner it is named after, was the last word in absolutely everything.

And all eyes will again be on the 101-year-old Titanic Ghost Rolls Royce when it returns to Northern Ireland for the first time in 85 years later this month.

The striking vehicle, which was built for Lord William Pirrie shortly before Titanic was launched in April 1912, is to be the star attraction at a vintage car show in Co Down.

"This car has a unique link to a special time and place in our history and we are thrilled to be able to bring it back to Northern Ireland in the year when so much attention is focused on the Titanic," said organiser of the Newcastle Vintage, Classic and Sports Car Show Martin Cromwell.

Former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Pirrie was chairman of Harland and Wolff until his death in 1924 and was instrumental in ensuring Titanic and its sister ships were built in Belfast.

His much-prized car was sold shortly after he died at sea off the coast of Cuba and was converted into an ambulance. It later became a breakdown truck before being renovated in the 1950s and sold to an American owner in the 1980s.

It was brought back to the UK in 2000 and painstakingly restored over four years, and is now kept by a collector in Lincolnshire, England.

The car still bears its Titanic Ghost nameplate and Lord Pirrie's family crest.


William James Pirrie was born in Canada but moved to Conlig, Co Down, at the age of two. He was educated at Belfast Royal Academy and joined Harland and Wolff aged 15 as a 'gentleman apprentice'. He was made chairman of the shipbuilding firm in 1874. He was Lord Mayor of Belfast between 1896 and 1897.

Belfast Telegraph


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