The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud
“Nil fato relinquemus”
The Silver Cloud was the epitome of luxury…
Silver Cloud Series I 1955-1958
Silver Cloud Series II 1959-1962
Silver Cloud Series III 1963-1966
A tumultuous applause is in order for the iconic model that catapulted the brand to world-wide notoriety and success. It is the single most immediately recognizable automobile in history. Its silhouette appeared on TV, in photographs depicting ‘the good life’, or any place where splendor was the theme.
The automobile I rave about is the incomparable Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series. Built from 1955 until 1966, it was available in many coachbuilt body styles as well as the stately standard saloons. The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud was produced in three elite series.
Silver Cloud Series I was built from 1955 until 1958. The bodyshell was produced by Pressed Steel as were all Rolls Royce standard saloons. The beauty of the Silver Cloud Series was its versatility. They were built as body on frame construction which allowed special bodied versions from various coachbuilders to create highly bespoke vehicles of distinction. The stressed-steel bodies were fitted with aluminium alloy doors, bonnet, and boot lid.
The Series I standard saloon measured 212” and rode upon a 123” wheelbase. The extended wheelbase variant was offered in 1957 and 1958 with its wheelbase measuring 127” with the 4” additional length added to the rear cabin. The additional length was anonymously integrated into the rear doors and quarter panels retaining the Silver Cloud’s original design.
Silver Cloud Series I was powered by the Rolls Royce 4.9 litre in-line 6-cylinder engine. It produced 155 hp @ 4,000 rpm. It sprinted from 0-60 mph in 13.5 seconds and had a top speed of 102 mph. Twin SU carburetors were added in 1957. The engine was mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission.
Brakes and suspension were hydraulic and pressurized by engine-driven pumps. It had mechanical servo-drums front and rear. Independent coil springs were fitted to the front suspension and semi-elliptic springs to the rear. Dual hydraulic braking systems were added for the 1956 model year. Power steering and air conditioning were options available beginning the 1956 model year as well.
2,238 Silver Cloud Series I saloons were built. 85 Were extended wheelbase saloons and 121 were coachbuilt as coupes, convertibles, hearses, etc.
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series I
This 1955 Series I belonged to Actor Fred Astaire
Power windows weren’t available for the Series I
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series II
Silver Cloud Series II was built from 1959 until 1962. It retained the classic bodyshell and underpinnings of Series I but received an upgrade in power. A 6.2 litre Rolls Royce V8 was introduced. Performance was improved. It went from 0-60 mph in 10.9 seconds. Its top speed was raised to 114 mph.
There were issues with early Series II models. Crankshafts were known to break due to lack of lubrication to the bearings. The V8 engines were not as quiet and smooth as the former 4.9 litre in-line 6-cylinder engine. This massive powerplant was cramped into the engine bay that was intended for a narrower block. The car’s right front wheel had to be removed in order to replace the spark plugs!
Production of the standard saloons totaled 2,417 for the Silver Cloud Series II. There were 258 extended wheelbase versions and 107 coachbuilt editions that included coupes, convertibles, 4-door convertibles, hearses, and limousines.
Power steering became standard for the Series II. Power windows were available as an option. If you are in the market for a Silver Cloud Series II approach with caution. Most engines have already been rebuilt but there could be a few without the necessary procedure and it is expensive!
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series II
Traditional walnut veneers and Connolly Brothers leather
The 6.2 litre V8
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series III
Silver Cloud Series III was built from 1963 until 1966. It is more readily distinguished by quad headlamps and a slightly lower radiator grille and bonnet. The interior was refined and upgraded. Wider front seats were added in 1964. Improvements to the engine included a nitride hardened crankshaft and a 9:1 compression ratio for higher octane levels of premium fuel. GM’s Hydra-Matic was now used.
There were 2,044 Silver Cloud Series III standard saloons built. Extended wheelbase versions totaled 206, and there were 328 coachbuilt versions as coupes, convertibles, hearses, and limousines.
Power windows were standard for Series III
Notable coachbuilders included James Young LTD. They were British coach crafters established in 1863. They built automobiles for Parliament Members as well as individual commissions. The company was purchased by London Rolls Royce dealer Jack Barclay in 1937. During WWII they built aircraft components. Coachbuilding resumed after the war. The last bodyshells to be designed by James Young were the 1968 Phantom V chassis. Fifty Silver Shadow coupes were built in 1966 and 1967.
1958 Silver Cloud “Honeymoon Express” by Freestone & Webb
HJ Mulliner was an eminent British coachbuilder operating in West London. Henry Jervis Mulliner formed the company in 1897. One of his more famous clients was Charles Stewart Rolls who had a Silver Ghost custom bodied for his own use. Rolls Royce acquired Park Ward coachbuilders in 1939. They merged in 1961 to form Mulliner Park Ward. Mulliner is now an exclusive in-house bespoke design studio for Bentley UK.
This Mulliner Park Ward convertible sold for six figures
Park Ward was also a British coachbuilder. They were established in 1919. The North London firm built all-steel bodies for Rolls Royce in the 1930s. William MacDonald Park and Charles Ward produced a variety of cars and early in the 1920s became associated with Bentley.
In 1922 they were commissioned by Rolls Royce to make standard steel bodies for their small model “Twenty” but did bespoke bodyshells also, for Rolls Royce clientele. By 1937 ten cars per week were built at the facility.
Mulliner Park Ward Phantom VI
Many consider the beautiful Silver Clouds to be the ultimate in luxury motorcars. They were the quintessential status symbol. Movie stars, singers, public officials, not to mention royalty, chose the Silver Cloud as the ultimate Rolls Royce.
They have appreciated positively in value. They are valued into six figures. The most popular is Series III and considered highly collectible. Any Silver Cloud represents Rolls Royce as the epitome of luxury and elegance. The pleasure of owning a Rolls Royce is exceeded only by that of driving it…
The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III
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