“…And this maiden she lived with no other thought than to love and be loved by me…” Edgar Allan Poe –
Rolls Royce is the most avant-garde manner to experience total opulence in a motorcar. It pampers its passengers the way the epochal Ritz Carlton provides a surfeit of grandeur. A Rolls Royce is satisfying…as a bottle of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1998 with your favorite Almas Iranian Caviar.
You spend your winters in St.Moritz…and summers in St.Tropez – there is only one car to augment your lifestyle. A classic Rolls Royce is a thing of beauty that grows in loveliness and value. Nothing can compare to a hand-crafted Rolls Royce from the historic Crewe facility in the UK. The legendary skills were achieved through the relentless pursuit of excellence.
Did I mention avant-garde? How about the iconic Silver Cloud? It is the single most readily identifiable model in the history of the brand. This classic body style is built in three opulent series. This is the car that put Rolls Royce on the map. The car reeks distinction from bumper to bumper. The Silver Cloud blends old world craftsmanship and charm, time-honored materials, and a great sense of pride in its construction.
The old world charm of the Silver Cloud made it an immediate hit with connoisseurs world-wide. In pristine condition they command mid-six figures on the auction block. Coachbuilders created highly collectible automotive treasures that are a collector’s dream to own. The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud series is the pride of Crewe…and the envy of the entire world –
1963 Silver Cloud III owned by actor Cary Grant
The majestic Rolls Royce Silver Cloud saloon was built in three series. The magnificent Silver Cloud Legend began as: 1955 until 1958 as the Silver Cloud I, 1959 until 1962 as the Silver Cloud II, and 1963 until 1966 as the Silver Cloud III. This is the absolute epitome of luxury and elegance. It evolved from the Rolls Royce Silver Dawn.
The Silver Cloud was a major re-design for the day. It is also available as a Bentley. The body on frame design used aluminium for the bonnet, boot lid, and doors. Its frame is welded together and is extremely rigid. The engine is a 4.9 litre straight 6-cylinder mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The Silver Cloud carried on the Rolls Royce tradition with stately perfection.
1956 Silver Cloud I
This belonged to actor/dancer Fred Astaire
1960 Silver Cloud II
The next manifestation of Rolls Royce art is the Silver Cloud II. It retained the look of the previous model. The big news was the all-new 6.2 litre V8 engine. There is a notable difference, the engine isn’t as smooth and quiet as the old straight-6. The earlier V8 engines had issues with the crankshaft. Most of these have been rebuilt correcting the problem. The Silver Cloud II is still a beautiful automobile and is a true classic in every respect.
1965 Silver Cloud III
The Silver Cloud legend continues with the Series III. The basic architecture was refreshed with a new front end ensemble highlighted by quad headlamps, a lower bonnet and radiator grille. The Silver Cloud III is refined; the idiosyncratic issues with previous models had been re-worked. The 6.2 litre V8 engine was now built with a nitride hardened crankshaft. The cabin was refined in 1964 with wider front seats. Silver Cloud I, II, and III are almost visually verbatim…why tamper with perfection?
A Silver Cloud’s cabin is furnished in the legendary Rolls Royce tradition. Connolly Brothers hand-tailored the hides to perfection. They hand-cut and hand-stitch every inch. As with every hand-crafted Rolls Royce from Crewe…only 1 out of 500 hides are good enough to become materials for the art. The finest parts of these exclusive hides are used for the seating areas. The balance is used for all non-wearing surfaces such as the dash and door panels; the off-cuts are used to edge the carpets.
Of course, fine wood veneers are custom-crafted to each Silver Cloud. The wood for each set comes from the same tree that is usually over 100 years old which adds to the wood’s character. The cabinet-maker hand cuts eight slivers of veneer. He bundles them together and creates a unique pattern. The wood panels are mirror-matched to reflect the opposite side. This same technique is used to make fine home furniture.
After numerous hours are clocked hand-crafting these exquisite panels, they are lacquered and polished by hand until a glass-like appearance is achieved. Every pattern is coded and added to the car’s history book – which is a documentary of the car’s entire build – just in case the panels are damaged beyond repair.
To complete the luxurious Rolls Royce experience, deep-pile carpet is hand-fitted…elegant enough for the finest homes. Wilton 100% wool carpets are hand-tufted to achieve a special effect. The same carpet lines the boot.
The aromatic ambiance of a Rolls Royce permeates throughout the cabin; it gets richer as the car ages – ask anyone who has ever driven a Rolls Royce. The heady aroma of Connolly leather, wood veneers, and Wilton carpets is an intoxicating symphony to delight the senses –
They represent the good life. Fred Astaire drove a 1956 Silver Cloud I. Jack Lemmon drove a 1965 Silver Cloud III. Cary Grant drove a 1956 Silver Cloud I and a 1963 Silver Cloud III. Throughout the decades they reside in The Hamptons…cruise along Park Avenue…they grace Rodeo Drive…they are still chauffeur-driven to Hollywood star-studded events. The love affair with the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud will always remain prominent. And this is only the popularity here in the USA. These fine automobiles are pre-eminent all over the world…
If you are old enough to remember, Amos Burke was chauffeured around in his 1962 Silver Cloud II on the 1960s TV detective series “Burke’s Law.” The Silver Cloud is popular with the younger generation as well; Beyoncé drives a 1959 Silver Cloud II drophead coupé. Keith Moon drives a lilac Silver Cloud III. This clearly demonstrates the fact, the iconic Silver Cloud rules in the world of fine automobiles. They represent remarkable investment potential and will only grow more beautiful and valuable –
1960 Silver Cloud II
The Silver Cloud was crafted by artisans whose devotion to excellence is legend. Why? Because the automobile they hand-craft appeals to the most discerning patrons in the entire world. A Rolls Royce is designed to be beautiful and not trendy for one short model year. This is why you will never see an outdated Rolls Royce. The Silver Cloud is satisfying to own and enjoy; they are automobiles one keeps for a lifetime. The value of a Rolls Royce endures; it also reflects the excellent taste of its owner.
Silver Cloud elegance is timeless…
Good taste never goes out of style…
Each Silver Cloud series set trends in luxury and esteem. They were all built with an automatic transmission. Air conditioning and power steering were offered for the first time in 1956. Dual brake master cylinders were introduced the same year.
A long wheelbase variant was available in 1957 which increased rear seat passenger legroom by 4” for convenience. The Silver Cloud II used a V8 engine with substantial torque and power with standard power steering in 1959. The body on frame construction was attractive to coachbuilders.
Rolls Royce built Silver Clouds primarily as four-door saloons. The prestigious coachbuilder Mulliner Park Ward hand-crafted two-door fixedhead and drophead coupé models. The two-door configurations are crafted using a unique bodyshell. The waistline is lower, the fenders are curvier; it has a totally unique character apart from the four-door saloons. The Mulliner Park Ward coupés inherits the traditional craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail from a distinguished line of predecessors.
The Silver Cloud III Mulliner Flying Spur is a four-door luxury-sport saloon which was built at a highly restricted pace. They have become highly cherished collectibles with connoisseurs world-wide. The Mulliner coachcrafting features a unique six-window thin pillared roofline. Only 17 or so were built which has escalated their worth to the mid-six figures IF you can find one for sale.
Its elegant coachwork is made from aluminium. The architecture is lower with a lower waistline giving it a road-hugging elegance like no other Rolls Royce. The rear fenders are artfully curved and crafted into the rear doors. Old world pedigree augments its hand-crafted eloquence. There is no more magnificent manner to experience classic Rolls Royce splendor than with a limited edition coachbuilt version of the brand.
There were other coachbuilders that also created Rolls Royce limited run masterpieces. The eminent coachbuilders Freestone and Webb created the exclusive two-seat “Honeymoon Express” for the Silver Cloud in 1958. These are the rarest and most significant post-war coachbuilt Rolls Royce models in existence.
Bespoke is their nature and only three were ever built; one of which is Bentley-badged. Freestone and Webb were esteemed artisans with their revered heyday during the 1920s and 1930s. They won Gold Medals in private coachcrafters’ competition events nine years in a row. The significance of this example of automotive history is unmeasurable –
1959 Phantom V Park Ward coachbuilt limousine
Coachbuilders also built limousines of distinction based upon the Silver Cloud. HJ Mulliner, Park Ward, Hooper & Company, and James Young, had unique interpretations of the highly bespoke Rolls Royce Phantom and Silver Cloud limousines. They are built on a chassis with extended wheelbases and are specifically designed as limousines.
I’m not referring to a “double-cut” but a full-fledged limousine built with the requirements of the client…no two are alike. The Rolls Royce Phantom V and VI were built from 1958 through 1968. They are based upon the Silver Cloud II and III. The Phantoms average 144” wheelbases, 238” in length with a 69” height and a 79” width as the photographed example. They are goliath compared with today’s limousines.
1967 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward limousine
The chauffeur’s compartment is also ultra-luxurious
Note of the chauffeur’s dual armrests
Note the intricate burled pattern unique to this Phantom
A most rewarding personal collection includes a Rembrandt, a case of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1956, a summer home in “la Côte d’Azur” in the southeastern portion of France…and a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. These stately motorcars retain the poised dignity that is the hallmark of every Rolls Royce. They remain highly desirable luxury cars after all of these years. The coachbuilt Silver Clouds are the most rare and unusual among the breed.
Like a fine Rothschild…the Silver Cloud just mellows with age becoming more beautiful and valuable. Whether it is a coachbuilt coupé, four-door saloon, or custom crafted limousine, the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud is an heirloom to pass through generations. The iconic Silver Clouds are the single most readily identified model in the Rolls Royce legend of excellence. It is the monarch of highly collectible automobiles and a collector’s dream to acquire. The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud series is the pride of Crewe…and the envy of the entire world –
Special thanks to Rodd Sala & Park Ward Motors Museum, Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Classic Automobiles in the UK, and Vantage Motorworks for the use of these rare photos…
The Rolls Royce built at Crewe is a masterpiece…