​Almanac: Rolls-Royce

Almanac: Rolls-Royce 02:35

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac, March 27th, 1863, 153 years ago today ... the day a motorcar legend started its roll.

Sir Henry Royce. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

For that was the day Henry Royce was born near Peterborough, England.

A gifted engineer, Royce tried his hand at building his own automobile in 1903. His car impressed an auto dealer named Charles Rolls, who agreed to sell as many of the cars as Royce could build.

And so was born the Rolls-Royce, which went on to become THE standard for automotive luxury.

And though Rolls and Royce are both long gone, their car ... and its mystique ... live on.

Its reputation won it a starring role in the 1964 movie, "The Yellow Rolls Royce," with Rex Harrison as a fussy British lord who tries out the posh back seat, and claims to find imperfections:

"I don't much care for the shape of the decanter. And the telephone is badly placed!"

Beatle John Lennon did the Yellow Rolls-Royce one better when he gave his car a custom paint job.

And customizing remains the name of the game, as Mark Phillips learned when he visited the Rolls-Royce factory two years ago.

"The whims and wishes, the desires of the wealthy know no bounds," said Richard Carte, Director of Global Communications at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

A 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, one of the rarest cars in the world. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Not content with the usual hand-crafted leather and burnished wood interiors, Rolls buyers today are ordering, and getting, just about any feature imaginable.

Chen Ann Ger of Shanghai is just one of the tycoons who've made China the leading market for Rolls-Royces.

"Green is my lucky color," he told Philips. "It'll bring me more friends and prosperity."

Speaking of green, he says he paid $1.8 million for his.

But don't let the price tag discourage you.

A so-called "entry-level" Rolls-Royce Ghost can be yours for just a tad more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

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