Lot 458: Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Saloon
Facing increasing competition from faster rivals and with development of its ageing six-cylinder engine nearing its end, Rolls-Royce turned to V8 power as the 1960s approached. The V8 was, of course, the predominant power unit in Rolls-Royce's most important export market - the USA - so it was only natural that the Crewe firm would study the best American designs - principally those of Chrysler and Cadillac - for inspiration. Introduced in the autumn of 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appeared externally unchanged from their 'Cloud and S-Type predecessors, though the duo's performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc aluminium-alloy V8 engine. Launched in 1962, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III and its Bentley S3 equivalent employed the 6.2-litre V8 engine introduced on the 'Cloud II/S2 - though with larger carburettors, 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 was 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 proved immensely successful both at home and abroad, remaining in production until the autumn of 1965. The vendor of this lovely presented example, Richard Alicata, was the son-in-law of Hank Sanicola, longtime friend and manager of Frank Sinatra. Alicata worked for Mr. Sinatra for many years as manager of his, and Peter Lawford's Puccini restaurant in Beverly Hills, and also as his driver. Fresh from import from the UK, the car was offered for sale, and Alicata was set the task to buy it for use by the clients of distinction of the Puccini restaurant. A fixture of the Beverly Hills and Hollywood set, the car was used to ferry the likes of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, Joe Dimaggio, Kim Novack, Peter Lawford, Tony Curtis, and of course, Frank Sinatra. Interestingly, the car gained its own degree of fame, as one of the original cars is the television advertisement for Grey Poupon mustard.
Bonhams & Butterfields, The Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles
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