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The Rolls-Royce mascot: the Spirit of Ecstasy © TopFoto.co.uk

The most luxurious classic car in the world was the brainchild of a business partnership forged over 100 years ago by Charles Rolls and Henry Royce. Their aim was nothing less than the best, and that's exactly the profile their company's cars quickly gained for themselves, initially through the iconic Silver Ghost, so called because it purred along country roads making barely enough noise to startle the birds.

As the reputation of the cars grew, everybody who was anybody wanted one, from General Franco to John Lennon and the other Beatles. Now based at Goodwood in Sussex, the Rolls-Royce brand remains a byword for uncompromising quality. And if you have to ask the price, you can't afford one. (Neither can we.)