The advent of the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Bentley ‘S’ series in 1955 was surely one of the main reasons behind the demise of most of the few remaining coachbuilders still producing bodies for Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis.
The Silver Dawn standard steel saloon, being effectively a Bentley in disguise, had not really intruded upon the coachbuilt Silver Wraith market. The Silver Cloud however, with Silver Wraith track and a longer wheelbase than that of the Silver Dawn, clothed with a beautifully proportioned body, was a far more formidable opponent. Here was a car which looked so ‘right’ that there was little incentive for customers to order bespoke coachwork, and soon afterwards both Freestone & Webb and Hooper ceased coachbuilding.
Being a 1960 car, SWC 350 comes with the then new 6.2 litre V8 engine, giving better acceleration and torque. Other features are air conditioning, power steering and electrically operated windows as an option. This car was supplied new to Prince Chula of Thailand who, along with his cousin Prince Bira, were always keen motorsport aficionados and well known and respected as private racers. Chula always favoured blue colours and this car was no exception. The cabin was to match the exterior with blue hide, a champagne bar, piping and carpets and the trunk was to be equipped with 6 dark tan suitcases. Seat belts were required for all seats and a Webasto sunroof was a luxurious extra. Naturally the completed royal order was supplied via Jack Barclay of London in June 1960.
Still in excellent original condition with such esteemed pedigree and interesting specification, this attractive Silver Cloud II rightly deserves to be prized above others, as it was almost certainly by its first owner Prince Chula of Thailand.