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.
Incorporating coil spring/wishbone front suspension with semi-elliptic rear springs and a single radius arm to locate the live rear axle, it also featured centralised lubrication and all-round drum brakes. Power was provided by the 4,887cc straight six engine of the Bentley R Type Continental producing an estimated 158bhp; notably for the first time, Rolls-Royce and Bentley models shared the same four-speed automatic transmission, allowing a top speed of 100mph.
The Evolution Silver Cloud II and S2 models of 1959 used Rolls’ new light alloy V8 engine but otherwise differed from their predecessors only in having a long life chassis lubrication system, standard power steering, increased front braking effort, a reduction in rear roll stiffness, a new ventilation system and a revised facia. With an engine capacity of 6,230cc the V8 was also notably lighter and produced around 200bhp.
For the Silver Cloud III and S3 models introduced in October 1962, quickly distinguishable by four headlamps, the specification remained unchanged except for another increase of around 20hp, which lifted the top speed to 115mph.
This wonderful Silver Cloud III has been with the current vendor for the last 22 years and has reportedly covered a mere 7,000 miles in that time. Finished in the original metallic blue paintwork and matching blue leather trim, this car is wonderfully original and showing a lovely patina. With just four owners from new and showing a current mileage of approximately 64,000, this superb example comes with an exhaustive history file dating back to the early 1960’s. The original service manuals, handbooks and tool kits are also with the car and we are told that this vast history fills the very spacious trunk of this car. An excellent car with extraordinary history that is well worth a closer inspection.