Rolls-Royces take to the beach

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ORMOND BEACH, Fla. - A flashy 102-year-old Rolls-Royce led the 2007 Birthplace of Speed Centennial parade on Jan. 20. Approximately 40 Rolls-Royces participated in the event, which marked the 100th anniversary of the day Charles Rolls won an international race on the sands of Ormond Beach, Fla.

The rare 1905 Rolls-Royce was taken to the Florida ocean-side site from Great Britain by John Kennedy, who said he had to take part in the event held by the Rolls-Royce Owners Club. Kennedy's prized Rolls-Royce features a steel starting crank, spoke wheels, brass headlamps on its big, box-like frame and body and, of course, manual control gears.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman at the event, which drew an estimated 200 spectators, said only one other 1905 Rolls-Royce race car exists. The model sold for about $2,000 in 1905, but would bring about $2 million today, because of its age and rarity.

The rear of the 2007 Birthplace of Speed Centennial parade was brought up by the newest Rolls-Royce, an experimental one-of-a-kind 2007 prototype, which was on its international promotional tour. It took approximately $5 million to finalize the model, which will sell for some $400,000, if it goes into production, said Robert Austin, a Rolls-Royce spokesman.

- By Michael Remas

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