October 18: Rolls-Royce launches its American arm on this date in 1919
Eager to find new business among the wealthy after the end of World War I, Rolls-Royce decided it would be easier to build cars in the United States than to keep shipping them. On this date in 1919, the company incorporated Rolls-Royce America in Springfield, Mass.; it would build a factory in 1920 and turn out nearly 3,000 cars over the next decade — with offices in 16 cities — before the Great Depression put a temporary end to luxury motoring. Supremely expensive even then, Rolls-Royce turned to advertising, running a full-page paean to conspicuous consumption famously titled "To The Man Who Is Afraid To Let His Dreams Come True." The Springfield factory was the only place Rolls-Royce ever built its vehicles outside of England; here's a look at how one American tobacco magnate had his car customized.
Photo: Dave Hamster via Flickr