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Lot 424: Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupé

Important Collectors' Motor Cars and MotorCycles, Bonhams (1 December 2011)

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 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. As well as the factory-bodied cars, bespoke creations from James Young and the recently merged firm of H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd (by this time 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. First introduced in 1958, H J Mulliner's was the most successful of its type, lasting into 1963; more modern 'straight-through wing' designs became the preferred style thereafter. Of the latter, by far the most striking were those bodied in a style originated by Park Ward. This design by Norwegian Vilhelm Koren, with its influential continuous front-to-rear wing line, first appeared, on the Bentley S2 Continental, in 1959 but did not become available on non-Continental models (both Bentley and Rolls-Royce) until after the arrival of the Silver Cloud III and S3 in 1962. These 'Chinese Eye' models - so called because of their slanting headlamp nacelles - constituted the majority of coachbuilt variants completed between 1962 and 1966. This left-hand drive 'Chinese Eye' Silver Cloud III was delivered new in the USA via Rolls-Royce Incorporated of New York to its first owner, Mr J Kluge of Metre Media Inc, Park Avenue, New York City. Accompanying copy build sheets record the fact that it was built to USA specification and with special features that included a heavy gauge frame, Firestone whitewall tyres, Radiomobile electric aerial, power operated hood, luggage straps, plain Sundym glass, wind-tone horns, electric windows and 'Made in England' name plate. The original colour scheme was Velvet Green with tan leather interior trim, which it still is today. The car was first registered in the UK in September 20903 and has been owned by the present, titled vendor since then. Checked over and serviced by marque specialists, P&A Wood, this lovely coachbuilt Rolls-Royce is described as in generally excellent condition and offered with copy build sheets, sundry invoices, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5 registration document.

Lot Details
Auction Important Collectors' Motor Cars and MotorCycles
Bonhams, Mercedes-Benz World, Surrey
Lot Number424
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£102000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£443700
Condition rating
Registration numberKYY 373C
Chassis numberLCSC85B
Engine numberB42CS
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2