Archive for HJ Mulliner

2017 Bentley Mulsanne: A Trilogy of Luxury

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Luxury Sedans with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour



“Big Ben’s” rise to ultimate success reads like a modern-day “Cinderfella” story. Poor little understudy, Bentley…was always in the shadows. As its wicked step sibling – Rolls Royce – rode off on its high horse stealing the publicity and limelight…Bentley was left behind to clean the stables. The once formidable track star – which negotiated the chicanes and the Mulsanne Straight winning numerous events in the grueling 24 hours of LeMans – was reduced to a badge engineered clone. Today’s Bentley…the all-new Bentley – is now at home behind gated estates AND is parked right beside Rolls Royce at the country club sharing the spotlight equally.

Bentley has catapulted from being a humble Rolls Royce throwback…straight to eminent immortality. The flagship of the fleet is the iconic Bentley Mulsanne. It has swiftly established its reputation in the ultra-luxury car segment being part limousine and part performance saloon. The ultra-exclusive Bentley Mulsanne is one of the world’s fastest four-door saloons. “Big Ben” is back with a vengeance and a thirst for adventure. It has carved its own niche as a new breed of luxury with three distinctive models: Mulsanne, Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, and Mulsanne Speed. This is a unique Trilogy of Luxury – each offers its own poised dignity which is a hallmark of the brand.






Alluring new beauty

The Mulsanne totally disregards status quo. Since its inception, it has created its own unique manner of exclusivity in a niche no other motorcar can fill. For 2017, the Bentley Mulsanne features refined new beauty. Its coachwork has been re-tooled for a familiar yet dramatically new appearance. The long, low, wind-cheating architecture draws from its retrospective heritage. The bodywork is etched with a symphony of lines that appear never beginning and never-ending forcing the eyes to roam its entirety in a single appraisal.



Its facelift creates even more exquisite beauty. Mulsanne represents the pinnacle of elegance in ultra-luxury motoring. Its new refinement begins with a restyled front end ensemble. Everything in front of the “A” pillars has been refreshed adding graceful definition. Mulsanne’s signature styling has been retained yet tastefully updated.

The elegant redesign echoes classic Bentley styling cues. The bold new attributes features all-new front wings and bonnet. Its classic grille work has changed from the previous matrix design to a distinctive wider framed design with dominant vertical stainless-steel vanes. Its familiar LED projector headlamps proudly features the Bentley name. The grille work repeats below the impact-resistant bumper with symmetrical vents for the air induction system.





Subtle refinement adds panache to the rear end ensemble. Newly designed taillamps highlight Mulsanne’s sculpted look. The previous ellipse style taillamps are replaced with a dramatic LED design which reveals the famous “B” motif. The discreetly modified profile gives Mulsanne a prominent, more upright appeal. Understated dual stainless-steel exhaust ports adds the finishing touch of class.

Superb engineering

The familiar silhouette has undergone a subtle enhancement. Its chiseled new definition adds unique character. Its shoulders are squared off to augment a sweeping new elegance. The side strake vents sports an integrated “B” into its stainless-steel charm. Mulsanne’s beauty is composed of a galvanized steel bodyshell with its front wings, hood and doors made from aluminium. The SMC (Sheet Molding Compound) composite bootlid has an integrated antenna.



Mulsanne is built like no other. Bentley’s process of hand-brazing yields perfect joins around intricate curves. The bonnet, boot lid, doors, and front wings are crafted using the “Superform Process.” This patented system creates complex panels from a single sheet of product to eliminate body seams and welds. This feature not only eliminates areas for corrosion but also aids aerodynamic efficiency. Each Mulsanne is a consummate blend of design excellence, advanced engineering, and of course… exemplary fit and finish.









Luxury and innovation

Mulsanne is a showcase of Bentley superlatives. Evolution plays an important role in the continual strive for excellence. The company flagship is one of the world’s most spacious and splendidly appointed saloons. It offers more than inert luxury; it cossets its passengers in technological sophistication. Intelligent electronics and controls assist the driver and elevates passenger comfort.

Advanced chassis refinement with more efficient air springs and hydraulically damped sub-frames eliminates noise 4 decibels more than the previous model. Noise absorbing technology in the tires results in a 50% decrease in peak rolling noise. Mulsanne’s formidable V8 does its part by reducing noise another 25 decibels using a closed loop system to cancel vibration.


The most elegant occasion seldom surpass the splendor of the journey in the Bentley Mulsanne that took you there. The epochal Bentley brand is epitomized by the luxury and distinction of the Mulsanne. Its world-class attributes are further exemplified offering three unique expressions of this elite flagship. Each shares the unparalleled opulence that is the essence of the brand.

Mulsanne…Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase…and Mulsanne Speed all create a delightful agony of choice. Whatever model is chosen, rest assured…it will move over the road with an effortless feeling of mastery that confirms its place as the ultimate statement of Bentley engineering. They are three of the most ambitious four-door luxury saloons the world has to offer –



Mulsanne standard wheelbase is contemporary luxury that methodically repeals the laws governing saloons in its class. This is high performance cloaked in absolute respectability. It cossets its occupants in an exclusive world of supple natural grain leather and rich handcrafted veneers. Most every power assist imaginable is standard fare to augment comfort and convenience.

The Mulsanne received cabin updates for the 2017 model year. Redesigned seats, door trim, armrests, and unique glass switch gear makes it even more opulent. In addition to 24 exquisite hide colors, Mulsanne features an all-new infotainment system and navigation technology. State of the art audio and visual equipment is available to tailor the entertainment system to the owner’s requisites. The Bentley Mulsanne can serve with equal distinction as a high performance touring saloon or the varying roles demanded of a family sedan.






Luxury with an emphasis on the rear passenger compartment is important to those who prefer to be driven about in style. Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase is 9.8” longer than the standard saloon. This means…rear seat passengers have more legroom and room for special appointments.

Limousine-style seating makes use of the extra inches by incorporating power assisted leg rests into the base of the aircraft inspired lounge seats. These extend outward pivoting as recliners. They make the special world of Mulsanne even more so. This extra exclusive cabin is a 2+2 configuration with front and rear center consoles.



The exclusivity is augmented with options to make the Mulsanne EWB saloon a highly bespoke masterpiece. Electric rear seat curtains may be requested with a black or champagne lining for the ultimate in privacy. Both rear seats can be ordered with deployable folding tables. A large glass sun roof over the rear cabin may be operated by passengers or the driver. It tilts and slides with an Alcantara sun blind to control light entering the cabin. The extra special accoutrements focused upon the rear seat passenger compartment sets this personal limousine apart from the standard saloon. Bentley Mulsanne is the quintessential flagship replete with an elegant flair all its own. The Mulsanne EWB saloon is luxury and elegance on the grand Bentley scale…in the grand Bentley manner –


…welcome to elite sophistication



Rear seat passengers benefit from the all-new “Bentley Entertainment Tablet.” A pair of 10.2” Android devices with 4G Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability are integrated into the front seat backs and deploy at the touch of a button. The Android powered tablets feature Bentley-specific interface with access to over one million Android Apps.

They may also be used away from the car. Each tablet has 32GB on-board storage capability. The system interfaces with the car’s navigation system. Audio/Visual streaming capability is included as part of the Mulsanne’s inter-connectivity along with internet browsing. With a motorcar as highly bespoke as Mulsanne, the client may design their own exclusive suite of infotainment to interface with home or office systems.




Mulsanne EWB is the epitome of executive-class luxury





The famous 1929 “Blue Train” Bentley



Introducing one of the fastest production limos in the world


The formidable Mulsanne Speed


The return of the silent sports car…

Mulsanne nomenclature adorned a new breed of Bentley supercars beginning the 1981 model year. Bentley Mulsanne was marketed as “The return of the silent sports car.” This spectacular motorcar revived the Grand Touring tradition with high style and a prolific presence few cars can compete… 

It targets the driver who demands luxury with extraordinary performance combined with European handling and finesse. This is the ultimate statement of Bentley sporting philosophy. The Mulsanne is named after a portion of the tracks at LeMans where drivers reach their highest speeds known as “The Mulsanne Straight.”


The 2014 Mulsanne Speed blew the doors off its competition





This is the ride for executives who work…quickly – 


The illustrious Mulsanne Speed became the most spirited contemporary Bentley model joining the ranks for the 2014 model year. Mulsanne Speed for 2017 is a pulse-invigorating performance saloon that offers substantially more than performance. Talented artisans handcraft rare veneers, high quality natural grain hides, and plush pile carpets into a cabin of unsurpassed comfort and distinction.

Mulsanne Speed remains true to form being a fast sporting machine built in the classic European tradition. Performance, impressive road capabilities, silence, and superb comfort come together in the newest of a historic and elegant line of motorcars that have made Bentley the definitive choice among enthusiasts for well over half a century.


Mulsanne Speed has its own prominent character


Here’s a grand touring saloon that does 0-60 in 4.8 seconds



Mulsanne Speed is one of the most tastefully appointed sporting saloons in the world. A coined finish to door handles, knurled gear shift lever, and “organ stop” ventilation controls gives the cabin its own unique personality. The drilled alloy foot pedals proves the Mulsanne Speed’s pedigree as the ultimate grand tourer. The cabin is as luxurious as it is sporting –





1929 Bentley 6.5 litre







The heart and soul of this British masterpiece beats the 6.75 litre light alloy 16-valve OHV twin-turbocharged V8 engine. High revs at low rpm is a Bentley hallmark. This legendary powerplant cranks an astounding 530 hp @ 4,000 rpm packing a prolific punch with 1,100 Nm of peak torque @ 1,750 rpm for the Mulsanne Speed. Mulsanne and Mulsanne EWB offers equally impressive performance pumping 505 hp @ 4,000 rpm with an astounding 1,020 Nm of peak torque at 1,750 rpm.

Its chassis is equally aggressive to accommodate this masterful motorcar. Advanced technology delivers one of the world’s most refined rides with effortless comfort via selectable sports suspension to fine tune the ride to the driver’s preference. This luxury brute is highly capable of performance that would shame a sports car. Longitudinal acceleration for the Mulsanne Speed is rated as 0-60 mph in a mere 4.8 seconds with a top speed in the 190 mph range. While Mulsanne and Mulsanne EWB has longitudinal acceleration rated as 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds with a top speed in the 184 mph range.



High performance is nothing new to any Bentley. From its humble beginnings with its creator W.O. Bentley who initiated the legend to the notorious Bentley Boys that earned consecutive wins from 1927 to 1930 at the grueling 24 hours of LeMans – Bentley EARNED its respect.

Bentley has always been a tad bit more spirited than its Rolls Royce counterpart. It was considered the sporting version of Rolls Royce for the owner who wished to maintain a low profile. Walter Owen Bentley’s motto was “To build a good car, a fast car, and the best in its class.” His cars raced climbing hills at Brooklands…scorching the tracks at the Indy 500, and those famous wins kickin’ up a little dust at LeMans.



The famous Calais-Méditerranée Express race


1 of 30 Bentley Arnage Blue Train Limited Editions





Aside from Mulsanne’s luxurious appeal, there is also a practical sense. Its powerful V8 engine is geared for today’s world. “Big Ben” is the unexpected economy car. The Mulsanne uses technology to reduce overall fuel economy via cylinder deactivation to allow the car to cruise on four cylinders under light vehicle loads.

Cam phasing is also big news in the auto industry. Cam phasers help to increase fuel efficiency by decreasing the power needed to turn the engine over and keep the camshafts in optimal positions at all times. The engine is mated to the energy-efficient 8-speed ZF automatic transmission as part of Mulsanne’s electronic network aimed at reducing fuel consumption. (ahem…if one can afford the car, obviously fuel economy is insignificant…right?)




Note the styling continuity, the previous Mulsanne saloon remains as tasteful and elegant as the current model. This only proves that good taste is never rendered redundant.






1973 Bentley T saloon



“Big Ben” is a highly intuitive luxury saloon equipped with a thinking suspension. It uses an air cushioned system with Continuous Damping Control (CDC) to refine the ride at lower speeds for comfort. It automatically lowers the car’s ride height at higher speeds to aid stability while enhancing vehicle downforce.

Drive Dynamics Control System allows the driver to program the ride operated by a rotary switch mounted next to the gear shift lever. The driver may choose from Bentley, Sport, or Comfort. And if this isn’t sufficient…there is a 4th selection. Custom mode enables the driver to select bespoke settings through Mulsanne’s multimedia system to further fine tune this luxury limo to suit their individual exigencies.


Mulsanne is a continual source of unparalleled excellence with comfort and convenience beyond the realm of ordinary luxury motorcars. For example…Mulsanne’s “High Beam Assist” automatically dips its high beam headlamps when oncoming vehicles approach to avoid dazzling the eyes of motorists at night.

This electronic system adapts the shape of the light beam according to vehicle speed operating in 4 modes from which to select: Town, Country, Motorway, and High Beam. An ingenious “Blind Spot Warning System” detects vehicles behind the car in its blind spots to predict the possibility of collision. It flashes lights in the door mirrors. Another of Mulsanne’s collision mitigation features is Advanced Automatic Stability Control (ASC) to maintain optimum vehicle poise when needed.




…The opulent Mulliner Touch

Bespoke is a sine qua non for Mulsanne. Each Bentley is handcrafted to reflect the requisites of its owner. The ultra-exclusive world of Mulsanne is further exemplified by Bentley through an extensive personal commissioning program. Mulliner is the in-house coachbuilder to design an automotive masterpiece that is as uniquely individual as one’s own finger prints. The majestic Mulliner personal commissioning service is limited only by one’s imagination…


The Mulliner touch immediately escalates Mulsanne to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy which becomes the pinnacle of Bentley luxury and elegance. One such example has been created for George Bamford of Bamford Watch Department. Bamford specializes in the bespoke customization of elegant timepieces.

The Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed was designed in an elegant monotone of chic dark hues which is a true reflection of his very own savoir-faire. His signature panache coordinates black and dark tinted elements with a Beluga finish to all interior and exterior bright ware.





Once the Mulliner magic has been cast, the motorcar becomes a highly collectible heirloom. Apart from custom handcrafted four-door saloons and limousines, Mulliner has created two-door fixedhead and drophead coupé models. Only those who know the bona-fide meaning of success can fully comprehend the true nobility of a Mulliner masterwork.

Before the spit between Bentley and Rolls Royce, HJ Mulliner, and Mulliner Park Ward handcrafted all two-door models exclusively. Bentley and Rolls Royce were at the time, built primarily as four-door saloons. The coupé models had to be coachbuilt. The elusive Corniche models became the dernier cri in grand touring coupés.


Mulliner creates exclusivity, pedigree, and élan. Each masterwork becomes a crowning achievement in all of motordom. The pleasure of owning such a magnificent example of automotive art is reveling in the fact that no other motorcar will be exactly the same… 


Mulsanne “L” one of only 2 built between 1984 & 1988



1997 Bentley Turbo R 400 Mulliner Park Ward Newport Edition 




note the impeccable fit and finish




1963 Bentley Continental S3 Flying Spur by Mulliner






1960 Bentley Mulliner coachbuilt coupé






Here’s the world’s only Bentley badged Camargue



1959 Bentley S1 standard saloon





1964 Bentley S3 standard saloon





The eloquent 1977 Bentley T2 standard saloon





…do I give you the business or what?



…The finale – this is the end of a magnificent era in luxury motoring. Here is the last time a body shell would be shared between these two legends. The Bentley Arnage and the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph is the end of the line. After these two icons rolled out of the assembly hall at Crewe…there became a distinct difference. “Just in fun…the fight begun, before long a web of hate was spun! Bentley pretended…same as Rolls Royce – but friends again they’d never be…so they scandalized, and criticized, and then they learned how to despise – “


Bentley Arnage exhibits understated preeminence




Arnage is the summit of unpretentious glamour





Bentley 8 litre








“Big Ben” stands alone today and is no longer foreshadowed by you-know-who! It’s a masterpiece that could only come from the master craftsmen. No car in years has so captured the admiration of the ultra-luxury market segment as the Bentley Mulsanne. Whatever the occasion…there is no more magnificent manner in which to arrive. This is luxury on the grand Bentley scale…unique even among other Bentley models.

The Mulsanne is rich in power assists, conveniences, appointments, and lavishly elegant interiors. The famed 6.75 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine has one of the largest displacements in the industry. Mulsanne, Mulsanne EWB, and Mulsanne Speed each possess a distinctive character of its own. Whichever sumptuous saloon you select, rest assured…you own the world’s standard of excellence in luxury motoring. Stunning elegance, extraordinary power, and exceptional handling characteristics are just a few of the outstanding attributes one may expect from a Bentley Mulsanne – (applause…applause)


Many thanks to my friends at Bentley Crewe Special thanks to my buddy Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum Hello to one of the finest Luxury Car dealers in the world Balmoral UK And I can’t thank Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars enough Thanks again for making this special tribute to the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne and Bentley history possible.


…welcome once again to Greg’s World


Greg’s World IS NotoriousLuxury  © 2016–2018


Rolls Royce: The Crewe Collection

Posted in Rolls Royce: The Crewe Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

Long live the Crewe built Rolls Royce.

Intro 1

Intro 2

Eloquence, splendor, and motoring majesty are eminently embodied in classic luxury motorcars. Good taste never renders itself redundant. The uniquely regal stature of “The Spirit of Ecstasy” maintains the poised dignity which is the hallmark of every Rolls Royce motorcar. The historic facility at Crewe located in the UK produced hand-crafted automobiles of distinction. Each is a cherished masterpiece.

The perspicacious connoisseur of fine automobiles prefer this distinguished breed not only for its meticulous craftsmanship and the beauty of its bearing but also for its lucrative investment potential. A Rolls Royce is a motorcar that will not be seen at every traffic light…they are built by hand at a highly restricted pace to retain their exclusivity as well as their quality control. There is nothing to compare to the exemplary fit & finish of the hand-crafted Rolls Royce models from Crewe. Welcome to the classic world of Rolls Royce – the pride of Crewe…the envy of the entire world.

Intro 3

Intro 4

The Crewe facility in the UK was home to Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcars right after WWII. The historic plant is built on part of Merrill’s Farm. This was a railway town with a good transport infrastructure. Construction began in July 1938. Car production ceased for the duration of WWII. The factory built ferocious Merlin aero engines for fighter planes. Automobile manufacturing was relocated from Derby after the war. The first post-war models built at Crewe are the Bentley MK VI in 1946 and in 1949 the Rolls Royce Silver Dawn. It is the first Rolls Royce to have coachcrafting done in-house.

For more than 50 years, Rolls Royce motorcars were built with loving care at Crewe using principles and tradition set forth by Sir Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Henry Royce…”Excellence is the norm, integrity the guiding principle” was the company philosophy. The last of this illustrious breed rolled off the assembly line as Rolls Royce motorcars on August 29, 2002.

At this time ownership of the marque shifted to Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft purchased the Bentley brand and continued production at the Crewe factory. The new Rolls Royce is very nice…but there is a distinct difference in the manufacturing standards…they’re just not quite the same. Those of you who know the marque well know exactly what I mean –

Intro 5

Intr 6

The hand-crafted Rolls Royce models from days gone by drove off the assembly lines at the Crewe facility for men and women of exceptional taste. These fabulous automobiles are built as perfect in every detail as craftsmen could achieve. “The quality will remain long after the price has been forgotten” was the famous marketing slogan.

A Rolls Royce never becomes a used car…it becomes a classic. The most memorable Rolls Royce models built at Crewe include the iconic Silver Cloud, the eloquent Silver Shadow, the incomparable Silver Spirit, and the finale to the Rolls Royce/Crewe legacy – the opulent Silver Seraph. This is the end of an illustrious era for the Rolls Royce motorcar.

Intro 6

Intro 7

Intro 8

Intro 9

Intro 10

Intro 11

Intro 12

Intro 13

Intro 14

Connolly Brothers 1

Connolly Brothers 2

Each Rolls Royce is a one-of-a-kind creation; no two will ever be alike because of their build. Hand-crafting and the finest natural materials available yield a motorcar that is the superlative of superlatives. Take the exquisite hand-tailored leather by Connolly Brothers for example. Perfectly matched natural-grain leather is hand selected and only 1 out of 500 hides is good enough to become the artisan’s craft.

The process involves hand cutting, and hand stitching to absolute perfection…as perfect as the hand and eye can create. The rejects are crafted into high-end leather goods such as ladies hand bags, gloves, and belts. It takes up to ten hides which is over 260 square feet of leather to furnish the cabin. The very best portions are cut for the seating areas; the balance is used for door panels and other non-wearing surfaces. The off-cuts are used to edge the carpets.

Connolly Brothers 3

Connolly Brothers 4

Connolly Brothers finest went into each Rolls Royce

Connolly Brothers 5

Veneer 1

Fine wood veneers are hand-crafted by traditional cabinet makers using skills acquired handed down through generations of dedicated artisans. The car’s complete set comes from the same tree that is hundreds of years old. Multiple slivers of veneer are bundled and hand-cut; the craftsman then creates a pattern which no two cars will share. The veneers are perfectly mirror-matched to reflect the opposite side, such as that of fine furniture.

The veneers are glued together, lacquered, and then hand-polished to a glassy mirror-like finish. This process results in a finish that is so durable, a Cohiba Behike could be stubbed out on it without leaving a trace of damage. If the veneer is damaged in an accident it can be replaced, the pattern is recorded in the car’s history book – this documentary follows the vehicle through all stages of its build.

Veneer 2

Veneer 3

Veneer 4

Veneer 5

Notice how each veneer is unique

Veneer 6

Veneer 7

This is the elegant cross banded veneer

Veneer 8

This is the burled veneer from the Silver Seraph

Wilton Carpets 2

When one steps into a Rolls Royce…they enter an exclusive world of luxury. Deep Wilton 100% wool carpets reinforced with 20% nylon is woven to the highest standards. They are hand-tufted, hand-cut and edged with loving care.

These luxurious carpets are garnished with lambswool rugs for decadent elegance. Distinctive leather grain patterns, burled veneers with unique character along with features and accessories chosen by the owner make each Rolls Royce motorcar a highly individual work of art –

Wilton Carpets 3

Even the foot rests are covered with plush Wilton Carpet

Wilton Carpets 4

Wilton Carpets 5

The Crewe built Rolls Royce is legendary 

Paint finish 4

Paint finish 3

The deep, glass-like paint finish is due in no small part to meticulous loving care provided by skilled craftsmen. It’s completely finished by hand. The surface is thoroughly cleaned for up to four days.  After the base coat of primer is applied an inspector “feels” every square inch of the body shell using a grease pen to mark imperfections that need attention.

Next, depending upon the color, between 14 and 20 coats of primers, fillers, and paint are hand applied. Each coat is hand-sanded and hand-polished. The bodyshell is oven-baked for added durability. After the extensive hand-finishing, numerous hours are clocked hand-polishing the flawless paint work to perfection. This is the reason why a Rolls Royce shines with such depth – like no other car in its class. The Crewe built Rolls Royce is a magnificent work of art.

Paint finish 5

Paint finish 1

Long Wheelbase saloon with power glass division

 The long wheelbase saloon with power glass division

Corniche 1

The formidable Corniche coachbuilt drophead coupé

1966 Mulliner Park Ward Coupe

1966 MPW aluminium bodied fixedhead coupé

The classic Rolls Royce is synonymous with bespoke. Each motorcar is built to the customer’s exact requirements. When the best wasn’t good enough…there were alternatives available. The hand-built Rolls Royces from Crewe were customized by distinguished coachbuilders.

 H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young, Hooper & Company, and Vanden Plas were prominent masters of the art that created some of the world’s finest masterworks. These one-of-a-kind custom crafted automobiles have become highly sought collectibles by connoisseurs world-wide.

Mulliner Park Ward

The Silver Cloud III drophead coupé

1991 Corniche Coachbuilt convertible 1

1991 Corniche Coachbuilt convertible 7

H.J. Mulliner and Park Ward Studios located in the UK were the most popular coachbuilders and also purveyors of the craft. They combined to become Mulliner Park Ward eventually becoming an in-house design firm for Rolls Royce and Bentley at the Crewe facility. The most famous models crafted by the highly distinguished firm are the Corniche and the epochal Phantom limousines.

 A Rolls Royce was built as a four-door saloon primarily. Mulliner Park Ward converted them into two-door fixedhead coupé and two-door drophead coupé models. The Silver Clouds were majestically transformed into two-door configurations that command six figures in today’s market. The Silver Shadow is also built as a two-door fixedhead and two-door drophead configurations as early as 1966.

1991 Corniche Coachbuilt convertible 6

Rolls Royce coachbuilt drophead coupé

1991 Corniche Coachbuilt convertible 2

1991 Corniche Coachbuilt convertible 3

Beginning the 1971 model year, the opulent Corniche series replaced the Silver Shadow two-door configurations in both two-door fixedhead and two-door drophead coupés.  To give you an idea of the painstaking attention to detail; it took up to six months to build just one Corniche coachbuilt drophead coupé …the power, fully automatic folding fabric covered hood alone required numerous hours clocked for its construction.

The Corniche was built with loving care by hand and eye what no machines could replicate. Any Mulliner Park Ward coachbuilt coupé remains highly collectible with connoisseurs world-wide. A Corniche is associated with the good life wherever it appears and will always remain one of the most readily identifiable Rolls Royce models in the history of the brand. The Corniche was also built as a Bentley in two-door fixedhead and two-door drophead configurations. The Rolls Royce Corniche was built from 1971 until 1995. The Corniche gets its name from three winding cliff-side roads in the south of France.

1991 Corniche Coachbuilt convertible 4

1991 Corniche Coachbuilt convertible 5

1991 Corniche Coachbuilt convertible 8

Corniche 4

Rolls Royce coachbuilt fixedhead coupé

Corniche 3

Corniche 2

1959 Phantom V Park Ward 1

1959 Phantom V Park Ward

1959 Phantom V Park Ward 2

Mulliner Park Ward created the most revered of all coachbuilt limousines, the Rolls Royce Phantoms. They were built specifically as limousines and not merely a stretched version of an existing model; it was built in six series. They are the absolute epitome of luxury. The Phantoms are highly bespoke limousines of distinction; and were built to exacting specifications.

The Phantoms are for the connoisseurs who demand the ultimate in chauffeur-driven elegance.  Passenger and driver compartments are separated by an electrically operated power glass division for privacy. Individual air conditioning and intercom systems along with myriad features and accessories make them strikingly individual motorcars.  Rolls Royce Phantoms are without conjecture a tribute to craftsmanship and engineering perfection.

1959 Phantom V Park Ward 4

1959 Phantom V

1964 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward 1

1964 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward 

1964 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward 2

1964 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward 3

1964 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward 5

1964 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward 4

1964 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward 6

1992 Phantom VI Mulliner Park Ward

1992 Phantom VI Mulliner Park Ward

1986 Silver Spur limousine 1

1986 Silver Spur limousine

1986 Silver Spur limousine 2

1986 Silver Spur limousine 3

1986 Silver Spur limousine 4

1986 Silver Spur limousine 5

1986 Silver Spur limousine 6

1955 – 1962 Silver Cloud I & II 1

1955-1962 Silver Cloud I & II

1955 – 1962 Silver Cloud I & II 2

The iconic Rolls Royce Silver Cloud is the single most readily identifiable model from the Spirit of Excellence. From its hand-sculpted radiator grille to the matched walnut veneers; the Silver Cloud left no room for compromise. They are built in three distinctive series: The six-cylinder Silver Cloud I built from 1955 until 1958; the Silver Cloud II built from 1959 until 1962; and the Silver Cloud III built from 1963 until 1966.

Both Silver Cloud II and Silver Cloud III are V8 powered. The Silver Cloud series evolved from a line of distinguished predecessors; they inherit the traditional craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail in the Rolls Royce tradition. The magnificent Silver Clouds remain the epitome of opulence and are the collector’s dream…

1955 – 1962 Silver Cloud I & II 3

1955 – 1962 Silver Cloud I & II 4

1955 – 1962 Silver Cloud I & II 5

1955 – 1962 Silver Cloud I & II 6

1955 – 1962 Silver Cloud I & II 7

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III 1

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III 2

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III 3

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III 4

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III 5

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III 6

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III 7

1963-1966 Silver Cloud III 8

1972 Silver Shadow 1

1972 Silver Shadow

1972 Silver Shadow 2

1972 Silver Shadow 3

From the Clouds…emerged the Shadows. The elegant Silver Shadow is another of the longest and most successful production runs at the historic Crewe factory. It has the largest production volume of any Rolls Royce. No Rolls Royce motorcar appears out of a blinding flash of inspiration capriciously. The Silver Shadow took ten years of research and a million miles of testing before its introduction.

It is the first Rolls Royce to be built as monocoque construction. This is the beginning of the contemporary Rolls Royce which drew a younger generation of buyers. The Silver Shadow was built in various forms as Silver Shadow I from 1965 until 1976 and Silver Shadow II from 1977 until 1980. The Silver Shadow was available as a long wheelbase model from 1969 through 1976 and was renamed Silver Wraith II from 1977 until 1980. The Silver Shadow offers power, prestige, and presence as the ultimate British status symbol for its day.

1972 Silver Shadow 4

1972 Silver Shadow 5

1977 Silver Wraith II 1

1977 Silver Wraith II

1977 Silver Wraith II 2

1977 Silver Wraith II 3

1977 Silver Wraith II 4

1977 Silver Wraith II 5

1977 Silver Wraith II 6

1977 Silver Wraith II 7

This is my signature car for NotoriousLuxury

1977 Silver Wraith II 8

1987 Silver Spur 1

1987 Silver Spur

1987 Silver Spur 2

1987 Silver Spur 3

Out of the Shadows…commenced the Spirit. The Silver Spirit and its long wheelbase variant the Silver Spur are the first Rolls Royce models to feature aerodynamic styling. Sleek, low, and contemporary…the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur has a look and character like no other Rolls Royce that preceded them. They are designed for today’s world. This distinctive design took eight years of intense development; they are completely new from the ground up. Their refined silhouette is elegantly understated; it whispers eloquence and an uncommon prestige.

1987 Silver Spur 4

1987 Silver Spur 5

The classic new body style of the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur immediately established new standards in refinement, elegance, and sophistication. The classic radiator grille is lower and wider and is adorned by the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy flying Goddess; both are hallmarks of the brand. The larger glass expansion, lower waistline, and modular lighting gives them an entirely new look.  It’s the contemporary Rolls Royce designed as a dramatic departure from the past.

The exciting new manifestation of the marque is an incomparable blend of advanced technology, comfort, and exemplary craftsmanship with a superb consummation of refinement. It took three months to build the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur. These supreme achievements in motoring represent a rare investment in technology, the finest materials and the formidable Rolls Royce hand-craftsmanship. This is why the brand remains the true Spirit of Excellence…

1987 Silver Spur 6

1987 Silver Spur 7

1987 Silver Spur 8

2000 Silver Seraph 1

The finale in the Rolls Royce legacy at Crewe is precluded by the Silver Seraph saloon. This is the first contemporary V12 powered Rolls Royce. Times have changed…so should your luxury car. The 322 hp Silver Seraph set new standards of excellence. Its sleek aerodynamic lines allow it to move effortlessly with aplomb with a reduced drag coefficient.

The Silver Seraph is an electronic network of technology like no other Rolls Royce from the past. The intricate electronic microprocessors and electronic subsystems are designed to anticipate, obey, and assist…but never dictate. It is a driver’s car developed for today. Why waste all of this exhilarating performance on a chauffeur?

2000 Silver Seraph 10

2000 Silver Seraph 2

The all-new Silver Seraph didn’t share its engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, or body shell with any Rolls Royce that preceded it.  The Silver Seraph was built from 1998 until 2002.This is clearly an exercise in form and function.  It is more than just a beautiful car…it’s a Rolls Royce.

Every aspect of the Silver Seraph accomplished two major objectives: to ensure that everything the artisans performed was as perfect as the hand and eye could do, and most important…to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The Silver Seraph is truly another supreme achievement in motoring built in the grand Rolls Royce manner in the grand Rolls Royce tradition. It’s almost as if Crewe saved the very best Rolls Royce…for last – 

2000 Silver Seraph 4

2000 Silver Seraph 6

2000 Silver Seraph 5

2000 Silver Seraph 7

2000 Silver Seraph 8

2000 Silver Seraph 9

Those who know the meaning of success can fully comprehend the true nobility of a Rolls Royce motorcar hand-crafted at the historic Crewe facility in the UK. Each is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. It took months to build as the tasks involved for leather crafters, tinsmiths, sheet metal workers, cabinet makers, and seamstresses to do by hand and eye what automation cannot replicate.

From the exquisite detail of the cabin to the meticulously hand-applied exterior paint finish…a Rolls Royce precludes the restless quest for something better to replace it – there will never be another Rolls Royce built at Crewe…but their legacy will live on forever as the classic cars built there increase in sentiment and in value.

Silver Spirit 1

1959 to 1963 Phantom V Park Ward

Previous generations of Rolls Royce craftsmen and engineers at Crewe have created motorcars of exceptional quality, these fine automobiles have become part of motoring history. Per Crewe:  “To cover ground swiftly, but never to feel hurried…to be distanced from the outside world, yet not isolated from it. To appreciate the fine details of craftsmanship and design, without being distracted by them…these are the qualities that you are entitled to expect of a Rolls Royce motorcar…” This is why a Rolls Royce doesn’t scream accomplishment…it merely whispers success.

Spirit of Ecstasy 3

Special thanks to Balmoral UK the finest Rolls Royce dealer in the UK, Rodd Sala with Park Ward Motors Museum the finest caretaker of the brand in the Midwest, and Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars the finest caretaker of the brand in the western United States…keep up the excellent work!

The End 3

Park Ward Motors Museum

Park Ward Motors Museum

Spirit of Ecstasy 1

The End 1

The End 4

1963 Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward

Spirit of Ecstasy 2

The End 7

The End 6

The Rolls Royce Crewe collection is NotoriousLuxury

Symbol – When The Best Isn’t Good Enough…

Posted in Bentley, Ecstasy, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Rolls Royce, Rolls Royce Historical, Symbol with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

…Always completely avant-garde

Corniche 2

…Nil fato relinquemus

MPW 17

When one seeks exclusivity…

MPW Coachbuilt  3

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 1

Bentley C

If you are a connoisseur…it’s Imperial Oscietra or Royal Beluga (North of the Caspian) caviar, Château Lafite Rothschild 1957, no…a Château Margaux 2009 or maybe a Vosne-Romanée just for show… and of course a limited edition Cohiba Behike or a Gurkha Black Dragon.

Then… an “out of the box” Rolls Royce or Bentley is not intriguing. When the best just isn’t good enough and exclusivity in a motorcar is sought…only a custom coachbuilt version is the remedy. HJ Mulliner and Park Ward design studios created luxury motorcars of absolute distinction. They are two of the most eminent coachbuilders in automotive history. Every Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcar they have transformed have all become cherished bespoke automotive masterworks.

NotoriousLuxury 2

NotoriousLuxury 1

1965 SCFS 1

1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Flying Spur

A superb motorcar is desirable…but even more desirable, is a superb motorcar offered in so many exquisite variations. They are precisely matched to the client’s requisites and personal taste. One need not think in terms of “only” a Rolls Royce or Bentley…but think in terms of their “particular” Rolls Royce or Bentley. Each coachbuilt motorcar is an instant collectible. Classic automobiles have become an extremely lucrative investment – a coachcrafted classic is one of a kind automotive art – dealers have experienced a positive surge in demand.

1965 SCFS 2

1965 SCFS 3

1961 Bentley Park Ward 1

1961 Bentley Park Ward Fixedhead coupe

1961 Bentley Park Ward 3

The custom coachbuilder’s primary focus is to create an automobile of unsurpassed luxury and elegance. This gives the client a refreshing degree of freedom to contrive a one of a kind vehicle to suit their fancy. This type of client isn’t intrigued with the ephemerality of annual styling changes and artificial novelty. They desire a timeless automobile design…like no other. The singular character of a unique, coachbuilt automobile reflects this clarity and intensity of purpose. The vast diversity of the craft is by no means a divergence in standards.

1961 Bentley Park Ward 4

1961 Bentley Park Ward 6

1961 Bentley Park Ward 5

1961 Bentley Park Ward 2

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe 1

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe

When the best isn’t good enough…Mulliner Park Ward studios in London offered distinctive coachbuilding for Rolls Royce and Bentley chassis. An extra special body style for these fine automobiles is the two-door Fixedhead and Drophead coupe. A coupe version had to be specially hand-crafted in a highly bespoke manner. Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcars are usually built in four-door saloon body styles. Mulliner Park Ward created automotive masterpieces for Rolls Royce and Bentley models when the marque was built as body on frame design.

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe 2

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe 4

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe 5

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe 3

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe 6

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe 7

1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe 8

RR and Bentley Corniche

Bentley and Rolls Royce are chic…not to mention glamorous automobiles. A first time buyer gets a kick out of either – the new owner is excited… just because. After this, something more elaborate is sought. Before monocoque construction began for the two brands in the mid-1960s, coachbuilders could purchase a chassis and create a virtual rolling masterpiece for the client. The artisans with HJ Mulliner and Park Ward are the most revered coachbuilders and purveyors in the art of vehicle personalization. This elite sophistication is among the last of the genuine coachcrafters…they have vanished into a world where this trade no longer exists – 

Park Ward was established in 1919 in the UK and bodied a variety of automobiles in the 1920s. Rolls Royce purchased Park Ward in 1939. The coachbuilder was already in contract with W.O. Bentley in the 1920s supplying bodyshells. After Rolls Royce took over Bentley in 1931, they acquired patents and techniques for coachwork which were firsts to the industry. Park Ward developed a special design for all-steel saloons. The patented technique uses “Silentbloc” rubber bushings to reduce road noise, road shock, and vibration before it intrudes the passenger cell. These bodies were used for Bentley and Rolls Royce models.

HJ Mulliner, also an eminent British coachbuilder in the UK, was established in 1897 building carriages. As the ‘horse-less carriage’ emerged, they hand-crafted bodies for various high-end automobile makers. Mulliner custom bodied a Silver Ghost for the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls. By the 1930s, Mulliner’s entire production output was fitted to Rolls Royce and Bentley chassis. Rolls Royce acquired HJ Mulliner in 1959.

MPW Coachbuilt  17

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 11

The company was merged with Park Ward in 1961 to form the formidable Mulliner Park Ward (MPW) association. Mulliner is now the in-house personal commissioning department exclusively for Bentley Motors Limited. Mulliner no longer creates bespoke coach-crafting  working with Bentley, they are more of a “trim level” designer.

It is William MacDonald Park, Charles Ward, and Henry Jervis Mulliner that laid the foundation for one of the most prodigious custom coachbuilders in automotive history. Their names will live forever in association with the finest automobiles in the world – These are by no means “ditch and dash” motorcars –

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 14

1961 Bentley Continental MPW aluminium Drophead coupe

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 12

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 5

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 6

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 7

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 10

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 4

1961 Bentley Continental S2 Mulliner Park Ward 13

Two of Mulliner Park Ward’s investment grade motorcars are based upon the hand-built aluminium-bodied Bentley Continental “S” chassis.  Here’s an interesting fact to consider, up to this period, Rolls Royce motorcars ‘inspired’ Bentley motorcar design…This is the beautiful exception to the rule.

The Rolls Royce variant of this aluminum-bodied design is built upon the Silver Cloud chassis but based upon the Bentley Continental version. Aluminium is a favorite medium among coachbuilders because it is lightweight and extremely versatile with contours as you may see. The lightweight aluminium bodyshells not only makes them faster than their steel-bodied counterparts, but also increases their aerodynamics.

RR 1

1965 Rolls Royce MPW aluminium Fixedhead coupe

MPW Coachbuilt  1

MPW Coachbuilt  7

MPW Coachbuilt  8

MPW Coachbuilt  9

MPW Coachbuilt  10

MPW Coachbuilt  12

MPW Coachbuilt  13

MPW Coachbuilt  2

RR 2


Mulliner Park Ward designed and blue printed many different two-door Fixedhead and Drophead coupe body styles. Bentley badged versions include the aluminium-bodied Continentals and Bentley “T” models. The Rolls Royce variants are bodied as Silver Cloud MPW, Silver Shadow MPW, and…lest we forget, the iconic and unforgettable Corniche models.

Corniche 7

Rolls Royce Corniche Coachbuilt Drophead coupe

Corniche 8

1978 Bentley Corniche convertible 5

Bentley Corniche Coachbuilt Drophead coupe

1978 Bentley Corniche convertible 6

1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 2

1967 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow MPW Fixedhead coupe

1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 3

Mulliner Park Ward is one of the first coachbuilders to modify the Silver Shadow four-door saloon into a two-door configuration. James young built a version of the Shadow as a coupe at a highly restricted pace not exceeding 26 vehicles. It appears a bit strange and austere when placed side by side with the Mulliner Park Ward version.

The MPW version sculpted the waist rail to include a graceful “cupid’s bow’ into the bodywork. The Silver Shadow MPW was renamed Corniche in 1971 and in 1985 Continental for Bentley models. The Corniche is one of the longest running and most prominent production series in the history of the brand. A Corniche remains among the most popular ultra-luxury motorcars on the planet –

1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 4

1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 7

1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 5

1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 6

1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 8

Contrast of the MPW with the James Young versions

1966 Silver Shadow James Young 1

1966 Silver Shadow James Young Fixedhead coupe

1966 Silver Shadow James Young 2

1966 Silver Shadow James Young 3

1966 Silver Shadow James Young 4

This James Young version was retro-fitted with Series II bumpers

1966 Silver Shadow James Young 5

Corniche 17

Corniche 16

Corniche 3

Rolls Royce Corniche Coachbuilt Drophead coupe

Corniche 5

Corniche 6

Corniche 12

Corniche 4

1978 Bentley Corniche convertible 2

Bentley Corniche Coachbuilt Drophead coupe

1978 Bentley Corniche convertible 7

1978 Bentley Corniche convertible 8

1978 Bentley Corniche convertible 9

1978 Bentley Corniche convertible 11

1978 Bentley Corniche convertible 3

1965 Silver Cloud III Flying Spur 1

1965 Silver Cloud III Flying Spur 2

1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Mulliner Flying Spur

HJ Mulliner created aluminium bodied four-door saloons as Continental Flying Spurs. Rolls Royce and Bentley chassis were used to build bespoke standards of excellence. The Continental Flying Spur saloons were hand-crafted from 1957 until 1966. Coachbuilt vehicles such as these serve as a measure by which all luxury automobiles are judged. These elegant saloons have a near limousine spaciousness and atmosphere. This unique four-door body style uses a different roof style augmented by thinner “C” pillars and a ‘6-window’ design.

1965 Silver Cloud III Flying Spur 3

The Flying Spur is further distinguished by a lower overall silhouette. It has a lower waist rail, more sculpted rear quarter panels, a higher rear deck lid, and modified tail lamps. The coachbuilder retained the identities of each brand. The epochal Spirit of Ecstasy and flamboyant Flying “B” atop the signature radiator grilles pronounce each distinctively. Understated, yet exquisite – the Mulliner Continental Flying Spurs are highly sought – they command six figures today and are still appreciating positively. Rolls Royce does not acknowledge its body style as “Continental” with brand nomenclature. It is simply known as the Silver Cloud Flying Spur.

1965 Silver Cloud III Flying Spur 4

1965 Silver Cloud III Flying Spur 6

1965 Silver Cloud III Flying Spur 9

1965 Silver Cloud III Flying Spur 10

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 1

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 2

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 3

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 4

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 5

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 6

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 7

1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 8







1960 Continental S2 1

Mulliner Park Ward could refresh the client’s existing vehicle. Custom coachbuilders not only practiced their trade on a brand new chassis, but also restored or modified an existing vehicle completely to client specification. The Bentley Continental S2 featured is bodied as a 1960 vintage with an S3 face lift. After all…who knows a coachbuilt vehicle better than the artisans themselves that created it…right?

This talented coachbuilder could be commissioned to perform any service a collectible motorcar required. Whether it be a simple re-dye to the leather hides…restoration or custom wood veneer services…new lambswool Wilton hand-tufted carpeting, or a major 100% frame-off restoration – Mulliner Park Ward expedited services second to none. Notable coachbuilders competing in the art as eminent as MPW are Thrupp & Maberly, Hooper & Company, Freestone & Webb, and James Young/Jack Barclay LTD. They all worked magic with Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcars.

1960 Continental S2 2

1960 Continental S2 3

1960 Continental S2 4

1960 Continental S2 5

1960 Continental S2 6

1960 Continental S2 7

Freestone & Web

Rolls Royce “Honeymoon Express” by Freestone & Webb

Freestone & Web 2

MPW Convertible 2

Your lifestyle is unique…your motorcar should be as well. When one drives a Rolls Royce or Bentley, they seek more than a mere luxury automobile. When the best isn’t good enough, there are alternatives. Automobile trends become even more transient as the styles change. A classic coachbuilt motorcar is not only rewarding to own but is also a lucrative investment.

They are distinctive by design and are the absolute epitome of exclusivity and supremacy – these classic motorcars became legends in their own time. HJ Mulliner and Park Ward are illustrious artisans who created automotive history. Every MPW transformation appreciates positively in value and prestige. A coach-crafted motorcar is built painstakingly meticulous, slowly and precisely as required to meet the highly bespoke expectations of the client. A classic custom crafted Rolls Royce or Bentley is rich with character and presence that will always remain unique because each is a one of a kind masterpiece –


These automotive masterpieces are extremely rare. A Special thanks goes out to the caretakers of the world: Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum, Vantage Motorworks Inc, JD Classics, Daniel Donovan Classics UK, Balmoral UK, and Daniel Schmitt & Co for the use of these lovely photographs from their archives.

Corniche 14

Corniche 13

MPW Convertible

MPW Coachbuilt  19

1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 1

new 3

The new Bentley Mulsanne saloon

new 2

The new Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead coupe


Corniche 2

NotoriousLuxury…”Nil fato relinquemus”

The Wraith, the Cloud, and the Shadow

Posted in Classic Exotic Luxury, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Rolls Royce with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

Rolls Royce coachbuilt exclusivity 

1959 Phantom V with Park Ward Coachwork 3

1958 Silver Cloud I Honeymoon Express 1

Rolls Royce motorcars stand alone as an uncompromising collage of beauty, comfort, with exemplary fit & finish. The traditional Rolls Royce commitment to perfection combined with the coachbuilder’s legendary sense of achievement results in a strikingly individual motorcar of unsurpassed luxury and elegance. In a world gone plastic, hand-crafted motorcars such as the Silver Wraith, the Silver Cloud, and the Silver Shadow are iconic and unforgettable…they are reminiscent of an illustrious era in motoring. They are among the last masterworks from master craftsmen. When time and money is no object, the epitome of bespoke opulence is a Rolls Royce with custom coachcrafting. 

1959 Silver Wraith Touring LWB Limo by Henri Chapron 1

The Silver Wraith was the finale; it is the last model to be delivered in chassis-only form to the coachbuilder to be fitted with a custom body. It is the first post-war model made at the Crewe facility. The Silver Wraith was built from 1946 until 1959. Only 1,883 were made including 639 long wheelbase saloons. Many of the Silver Wraith body configurations were built as formal limousines. There was a variety of coachbuilt styles. 

1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Limousine by Hooper 2

1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Limousine by Hooper

1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Limousine by Hooper 4

1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Limousine by Hooper 3

The first models built were using the 127” wheelbase platform. They had independent coil springs fitted to the front suspension and semi-elliptic springs fitted to the rear with a live axle. They were equipped with a 4-speed manual gearbox. New for the 1952 model year, a GM Hydra-Matic was available as an option. The long 133” wheelbase was introduced for the 1951 model year. The final 127” wheelbase versions were built for the 1953 model year. 

The Silver Wraith is considered to be one of the most technologically advanced Rolls Royce models in the history of the brand. They are also exceptionally elegant and luxurious. The braking system is a hybrid hydro-mechanical system with hydraulic front brakes and mechanical rear brakes which use a mechanical servo from pre-war cars. It is a system patented by Hispano-Suiza and built by Rolls Royce under license. 

1939 Wraith Sports Saloon with Park Ward Coachcrafting

1939 Wraith Sports Saloon with Park Ward Coachcrafting

1939 Wraith Sports Saloon with Park Ward Coachcrafting 2

The power was provided by the engine of the Rolls Royce Wraith. The refined versions of this In-line 6-cylinder engine included a new cylinder head with overhead inlet valves. The 4.3 litre version was used in the earlier cars. From 1951 on, the displacement was increased to 4.6 litres. From 1954 on, the In-line 6-cylinder engine was bore out to 4.9 litres. 

1959 Silver Wraith Touring LWB Limo by Henri Chapron 2

1959 Silver Wraith Touring LWB Limo by Henri Chapron

1959 Silver Wraith Touring LWB Limo by Henri Chapron 6

The 1959 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith shown has coachwork by Henri Chapron. His elegantly refined style was renowned. The press and enthusiasts world-wide raved about the Silver Wraith. Rolls Royce carried on a relentless pursuit for engineering excellence. These magnificent motorcars were the best Rolls Royce had ever offered at the time. The Silver Wraith is an automotive masterwork fit for the connoisseur’s collection. The Sliver Wraith is a pristine example of the Rolls Royce philosophy; which was a reliable car with components easily maintained. 

Henri Chapron (1886-1978) was a prominent French coachbuilder. His atelier was established in 1919 and located in Levallois-Perret, which is a suburb of Paris. His expertise for custom coachbuilding includes Talbot, Delage, and Delahaye in the 1920s. When vehicles of this caliber ceased, he turned his interests to Citroen, and Rolls Royce. 

1959 Silver Wraith Touring LWB Limo by Henri Chapron 3

1959 Silver Wraith Touring LWB Limo by Henri Chapron 4

1959 Silver Wraith Touring LWB Limo by Henri Chapron 5

1958 Silver Cloud I Honeymoon Express 3

1958 Silver Cloud I Honeymoon Express

1958 Silver Cloud I Honeymoon Express 5

An avant-garde styling tour de force is the 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I coachbuilt by Freestone & Web. It was nicknamed the “Honeymoon Express” by automotive journalists because of the intimate two-seat cabin and a trunk large enough to carry any bride’s luggage. The car premiered at the October 1957 Earl’s Court Motor Show in London. The Silver Cloud underwent a dramatic transformation.

It is one of the most beautiful Rolls Royce coachbuilt creations ever made. To look at it, no one would ever believe it was a Silver Cloud; the stock version had vanished without a trace. The car’s understatement makes it provocative. There were only two of these built and badged as a Rolls Royce and one as a Bentley. It is exquisitely detailed. All of those curves and contours are expedited in a manner of which relied upon the hand and the eye. (Computer design…what’s that?) 

1958 Silver Cloud I Honeymoon Express 6

Finny, unusually curvy, and remarkably sophisticated, is the look conveyed by its creator. Freestone & Webb had been in business since 1923. They were coachbuilders on Brentfield Road in Stonebridge Park, North London. The company created bespoke bodies. While custom-bodying Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcars they introduced a style known as “Top Hat.” A razor-edge style evolved that became popular in the automotive industry. Freestone & Web showcased their superlatives at the London Motor Shows garnering the Gold Medal in the custom coachbuilding segment for nine years in a row.

The novelty of being a two-seat Rolls Royce augments the Silver Cloud I transformation. Its deep scarlet Connolly leather trimmed cabin is a startling contrast to the two-toned Lugano Blue and silver Chalice exterior. The matching 100% wool carpet is Wilton hand-tufted broadloom. It is elegantly trimmed with hand-crafted Burled Circassian walnut veneers throughout. The coachwork neatly conceals a power fully automatic fabric in-ward folding roof. It is completely hidden under the electrically operated metal cover. It’s equipped with a “Radiomobile” medium and long wave radio with a power antenna. It is referred to as “His master’s voice” which is a primitive CB radio. This unique beauty has power windows and power assisted steering.

1958 Silver Cloud I Honeymoon Express 2

Special options for this example include an outside temperature thermometer and an altimeter. A tachometer is included on the dash, which is rarely seen on a Rolls Royce. A pair of cocktail cabinets is on either side of the rear storage area, complete with cocktail requisites. The Honeymoon Express is without conjecture, a bold design statement for its day. It is unlike any Rolls Royce. This is one of the rarest and most famous post-war milestone vehicles in existence.  

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. A Rolls Royce is a motorcar of distinction. A coachbuilt Rolls Royce is a one-of-a-kind masterwork. The Silver Cloud I was refined into an elegant open tourer. It took three months to build the highly bespoke coachwork. Its silhouette is like no other. From the classic radiator grille and Spirit of Ecstasy Flying Goddess…to the gently sculpted and graceful curves of the body, and its unique tail fins…it is a breathtaking example of British coachcrafting at its finest. 

1958 Silver Cloud I Honeymoon Express 4

1958 Silver Cloud I Honeymoon Express 7

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 1

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 9

The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud was produced in a variety of different models during its tenure from 1955 until 1966. The HJ Mulliner Drophead coupe is another rare gem. It is rumored that there are less than 25 built, 11 of which were left hand drive. The Silver Cloud Series is extremely popular in the US. The Mulliner-bodied Silver Cloud is hand-crafted made from aluminium. It is a timeless masterwork cherished world-wide. Only one percent of all Silver Clouds have bespoke coachcrafting, which makes them an attractive collectible. 

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 2

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 4

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 5

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 3

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 10

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III 1

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III 2

The eminent coachbuilder, HJ Mulliner operated from Bedford Park, Chiswick, in London’s West end. It was formed in 1897. He created custom-bodied Rolls Royce Fixedhead and Drophead models for the brand. Rolls Royce’s specialty is a ‘four-door saloon while Mulliner specialized in the two-door models. (Hope I don’t rain on your parade but British Leyland built the Silver Shadows and Pressed Steel built the Silver Clouds!) The Mulliner hand-crafted models are viewed as automotive art. To prove the point, this example auctioned at RM Auctions for an astounding $577,500! Mulliner is among the last of the independent coachbuilders. They are now an in-house design department for Bentley UK.

 RM 1

Photos courtesy RM Auctions

RM 3

RM 4

RM 5

RM 6

RM 2

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 1

1966 Silver Cloud III with aluminium bodywork by HJ Mulliner

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 2

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 3

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 4

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 10

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 7

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 6

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 9

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 12

Phantom V

1959 Phantom V with Park Ward Coachwork 2

1959 Phantom V with Park Ward Coachwork

1959 Phantom V with Park Ward Coachwork 1

Another successful coachbuilder was Park Ward. The firm was founded in 1919 by William MacDonald Park and Charles Ward. They became associated with WO Bentley in the 1920s. Park Ward was commissioned to make bodies for Rolls Royce in 1922. Park Ward developed all-steel and custom coachwork saloons for the brand. The unique feature of these bodies, was the use of rubber bushings at strategic locations between body and chassis. This isolated road noise and cancelled vibration before it reached the cabin.

As you can see from the photos, Park Ward also created limousines of the highest quality. The elegant forward opening coach doors were a Park Ward Signature. They built a version the Phantom V series from 1959-1962.

Rolls Royce took over Bentley in 1931 and purchased Park Ward in 1939. Park Ward was merged with HJ Mulliner in 1961 as Mulliner Park Ward.

1959 Phantom V with Park Ward Coachwork 4

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III 3

There are only 328 coachbuilt models built on the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III chassis. James Young, and Mulliner Park Ward were two of the coach crafters that created rolling masterpieces. There is nothing hurried. Every craftsman took pride in refining the best car in the world. Building a Rolls Royce coachbuilt masterwork was a true labor of love. There were distinctively different versions and their bespoke elegance was limited only by the client’s imagination. The lovely Silver Cloud III commands in excess of six figures today on the auction block…that is if you should be lucky enough to find one for sale –

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III 4

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 2

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 4

James Young worked his genius on the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. He transformed this elegant four-door saloon into a luxurious two-door coupe. The front and rear styling of the original Silver Shadow is retained. The transformation takes place with larger doors and fixed rear quarter panels. The roof received wider “C” pillars. There were only 35 Silver Shadow James Young two-door saloons built. The example shown is a 1966 model fitted with the later model impact absorbing front and rear bumpers.

Silver Shadow standard steel saloon

Silver Shadow four-door saloon

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 9

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 1

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 3

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 5

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 6

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 7

Photos courtesy Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 8

1966 James Young Silver Shadow Two-door coupe 10

1959 Silver Wraith Touring LWB Limo by Henri Chapron 7

A coachbuilt Rolls Royce is the epitome of luxury. Rolls Royce put certain contingencies on alterations. The iconic radiator grille and mascot dimensions should remain the same. It must also retain ‘family’ resemblance and the established character which are Rolls Royce hallmarks. Eminent coach builders such as Freestone & Webb, HJ Mulliner, Park Ward, and James Young, were available to design highly bespoke vehicles of distinction.

The Silver Wraith, The Silver Cloud, and the Silver Shadow are all milestone vehicles. Each was refined by the coachbuilders escalating them to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy. Bespoke motorcars such as these are valued like fine art that grows more valuable as time ticks on. A classic automobile is an excellent investment. The coachbuilt version guaranteed its place in Rolls Royce history.

1966 Mulliner park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud Series III 11

Special thanks to Concept Carz and Mad 4 Wheels


Symbol is a lifestyle…