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Lot 339: 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupé

RROC Annual Meet, Bonhams & Butterfields (29 July 2005)

Design no. 2007

"The size and grandeur of the car… deceive one about the performance which would do justice to many a car of more sporting pretensions. The finish, both in detail and the broader sense of equipment and trim, is superb.” - Motor magazine on the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III.

Launched in 1962, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III and its Bentley S3 equivalent employed the 6.2-litre aluminum-alloy V8 engine introduced on the ’Cloud II/S2 - though with larger carburetors, new distributor and raised compression ratio - and came with a four-speed GM-derived automatic transmission as standard equipment. Most obvious among many changes from the preceding models were the adoption of four-headlamp lighting, the absence of sidelights from the wing tops, and a slightly lower radiator shell. Inside there was improved accommodation with separate front seats and increased room for rear passengers. Notable as the last mainstream Rolls-Royce to employ a separate chassis, the Silver Cloud III remained in production until superseded by the unitary-construction Silver Shadow in late 1965.

As well as the factory-bodied cars, bespoke creations from James Young and the merged firm of H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd (now Rolls-Royce-owned) continued to be available on the Cloud III chassis for those discerning enthusiasts wealthy enough to afford them. Indeed, as the factory did not offer a convertible or drophead coupé, a coachbuilt car was the only option if one’s preference was Rolls-Royce-style fresh air motoring. Dating from the penultimate year of production and finished in magnolia with tan leather interior, this exceedingly rare left-hand drive Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupé, design number 2007 was sold new in California to King Lumber Co and next owned by international singing star and Las Vegas resident Sergio Franchi. Tenor Sergio Franchi was born in Cremona, Italy in 1926 and moved to South Africa with his family in 1952. His family favored an engineering career for Sergio, but nevertheless he kept up his musical training and appeared in many operatic productions in South Africa before leaving to pursue a singing career, firstly in Europe and then the USA. He became an overnight sensation in America, singing in many prestigious clubs, the most prominent being the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. He also appeared in many of the most popular television shows of the 1960s/70s/80s, including the Ed Sullivan and Red Skelton Shows as well as giving numerous concerts. He became an American citizen in 1972 and died on May 1st 1990.

Sergio Franchi’s Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupé was purchased by its current (third) owner in 1980. The car benefits from an extensive restoration undertaken in 1990 by Vantage Motorworks of Miami, Florida, including a complete interior refurbishment - front/rear seats re-covered in Connolly hide, headlining replaced, fresh Wilton carpeting, woodwork refinished, etc - in addition to a new and desirable soft-top and detailing and refinishing elsewhere. This rare and desirable soft-top Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III is offered with restoration invoices.

Lot Details
Auction RROC Annual Meet
Bonhams & Butterfields, Greenwich, CT
TypeCar
Lot Number339
Estimate$390000-$430000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1964
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberLSX283
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors