Balsingh George is the first Indian to own the new Rolls-Royce Ghost, which is a tribute to the legendary Silver Ghost

Balsingh George is the first Indian to buy a Rolls-Royce Ghost. Readers with a highly retentive memory might recall that George was in the news three years ago for a similar reason. He had made headlines then for driving home a Mercedes Benz SL600 before any other Indian did. Now as well as then, George maintains that being the first was not the aim. “It just happened,” he says.

It obviously does not hurt to be the first. With a wide smile, he shares a communiqué from Sue Carling, sales support manager, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, APAC. “I am delighted to confirm that your car was indeed the first Ghost to be delivered to a customer in India”. George had contacted Carling after reading reports in a Mumbai newspaper and on a website which stated that “a Chennai-based builder, Balsingh George has got the first Ghost”.

The story of how George got there first begins with an invitation from Rolls-Royce to visit its Goodwood factory in mid-2008. George (46) considered himself too young for a Rolls-Royce and the trip (made in a Rolls-Royce Phantom from Central London) was meant purely to satisfy his family's curiosity about Rolls-Royces. When he noticed that his wife Madhurima was immensely impressed with the cars, especially the Phantoms, on display, he thought a Rolls-Royce would make a befitting birthday gift. But the Rolls-Royce Phantom would require a chauffeur — an idea that did not appeal to the Georges. When Rolls-Royce wrote to George in mid-2009 about the advent of a more owner-drivable Rolls-Royce that had the added charm of a very powerful engine, George did not waste any time before making the first payment. He hoped the car would arrive before Valentine's Day (2010) and kept in constant touch with the Mumbai-based Navneeth Motors, dealers for Rolls-Royce in India.

The Ghost missed Cupid's special day; but when it appeared a few weeks later, it was indeed a special gift. “As it is more her car than mine, she should be called the first Indian to get a Ghost,” says George. Madhurima is as efficient at the wheel of a fast car as George, and the Ghost has a speed quotient that is much to her liking.

“The Ghost accelerates from 0 to 100 in 4.7 secs,” says George. The chief architect of this tearing speed is a 6.6. litre twin-turbo V12 engine. Despite churning so much power, the car is silent like a ghost — in keeping with an enduring Rolls-Royce feature. The Ghost has a historic link. It is a tribute to the legendary Silver Ghost (1906-1926), which was superseded by the Phantom line. The new Ghost is closely related to the Phantom.

Besides instilling a proud sense of owning Rolls-Royce history, the Ghost serves as a reflection of the Georges' tastes. For one thing, it underlines their fondness for black. In November 2009, George made a trip to Goodwood to choose the interiors of the car. He did not stop with choosing an all-black colour option for the interiors; he wanted the exteriors also in the same colour.

Ghost is characterised by a brushed steel bonnet and pillars (supporting the windscreen) that bear the colour of steel. George wanted this portion to blend with the rest of the car. The result is an all-black Ghost.