AUTOS: Rolls on the Block

The name Rolls-Royce has been synonymous with elegance on wheels for nearly three-quarters of a century. All the more embarrassment, then, when Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd. was unceremoniously put on the auction block last week by a British bankruptcy receiver to help pay off old debts.

The old Rolls-Royce company went bust in 1971, overwhelmed by the cost of producing advanced jet engines for American planes; its aero-engine division was nationalized by the Crown and a new operation, Rolls-Royce Motors, was created to continue making cars, diesel engines and turbine parts. The motor business has done well; it posted nearly $10...

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