1958 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER CLOUD I LWB
The Silver Cloud series marked a significant step for Rolls Royce when it was introduced in April of 1955. Rolls Royce was rationalizing their production line as the days of supplying bare chassis to coachbuilders were winding down and standard showroom models were becoming ever more popular. The standardization of production allowed Rolls Royce to produce cars in greater numbers than ever before, though critically, while still maintaining the same level of quality and engineering excellence that was expected of them. The Silver Cloud was their first “mass produced” major commercial success and in the 60 years since its introduction, has become an icon of luxury motoring.
Initially the Silver Cloud was fitted with a traditional iron block inline six-cylinder engine. But even before the Silver Cloud reached production, Rolls Royce engineers were hard at work designing an engine that would carry them through the next decade, and beyond. After several proposals such as a V12 and even an inline eight, engineers settled on a V8 layout that would be compact enough yet provide superior output to the current six-cylinder. The Silver Cloud II was visually very similar to the outgoing Cloud I, with only very minor cosmetic changes taking place. The big changes lay under the bodywork where the V8 was carefully wedged into place and several enhancements made to the chassis to improve handling, ride, and the ability to cope with the additional power. Once optional equipment, power steering became standard fitment. As before, both standard and long wheelbase chassis were offered and of the 2,717 Silver Cloud II’s built, just 299 were in long-wheelbase specification, making these particularly rare and desirable among today’s Rolls Royce enthusiasts.
This handsome 1958 Silver Cloud (S/N BLC-23) is a right-hand-drive, long-wheelbase example that was delivered new to London. The original owner was Major McDonald Buchanon of the White & Black Whisky distillery. I purchased the car in 2015. It appears never to have been fully restored, but rather has been very well maintained, with only light cosmetic restoration work performed on an as-needed basis. It is finished in attractive Mason Black over German Silver with a grey fabric interior and fitted with desirable Frigette Air Conditioning, and an AM/SM radio, all of which is documented on the original build sheets, copies of which accompany the car.
The paint work shows is very attractive, laid down on coachwork that is straight and solid, while the often-tricky panel gaps are tidy and consistent. Chrome and brightwork are of very good quality, showing some care-wear but otherwise quite attractive, straight and complete, in good keeping with the rest of the cosmetics.
Of course, the best place to enjoy a Silver Cloud is from within the sumptuous interior. This example does not disappoint with very clean and well-appointed cabin. Leather seating is in excellent condition and the walnut woodwork is in very good order, having been refinished, but not completely restored. Air conditioning is reserved for the rear seat occupants, who also have individual book-matched walnut tray tables.
Mechanically, this example appears to have been well-maintained and performs admirably. The 5 Liter V6 is known for its amazing longevity and this unit still runs quiet and strong, mated to the factory original four-speed automatic transmission. The car recently had a full service including all new brakes, air conditioning service, carburetor rebuilds, and new tires. The Silver Cloud remains one of the most recognizable icons of the automobile. In this, the second series, it combines that timeless elegance with effortless performance and exceptional rarity.