A Restored 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

Rolls Royce, the company that started out as Rolls-Royce Limited in 1906, came out with the Silver Cloud in 1955.

rolls royce silver cloud I

1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

The Silver Cloud was a beautiful automobile and it was very popular among luxury car buyers. Featured in this article is the 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I. Silver Cloud bridged between the pre-war Rolls-Royce and the modern Silver Shadow.

The Silver Cloud model replaced the Silver Dawn which was the car that brought Rolls Royce post war prosperity.

The Silver Cloud I was something very different for Rolls Royce. Instead of building chassis and send them off to custom coach builders, the Silver Cloud was entirely built in the Rolls Royce factory and with a complete factory built body. The Silver Cloud was produced from 1955 to 1966 and during that time was the main model for Rolls Royce.

1956 rolls royce silver cloud

56 Silver Cloud

The Silver Cloud Design

The 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud was beautifully proportioned. The body was mounted onto completely new closed box section frame.

Rolls-Royce's chief designer John Polwhele Blatchley did a wonderful job with the automobile's design. The body was designed so meticulously and balanced that the cars' great  size wasn't really noticed when first viewed. A lot of people may never have heard of John Polwhele Blatchley however most have seen his work. Blatchley was assigned as Rolls-Royce's first ever stylist.

Blatchley who retired from Rolls Royce at the age of 55 in 1969 passed away in 2008 at age 95.

An interesting side note was that the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I design came out pretty fast.  Blatchley was asked to quickly sketch of a more traditional design than the one he had been working on for several years. He did and the board at Rolls Royce approved it fast and these automobiles were scheduled for production. Note that these were also automobiles that were to have factory bodies that were to have the same craftsmanship and elegance as those from coach builders. As mentioned above, this was a big departure for Rolls Royce.

1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I Specifications

The 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud engine was 4.9 Liter Inline Six. This engine can be traced all the way back to the Silver Ghost model decades earlier.  Horsepower was estimated to be 155. A British publication had rated the Silver Cloud I with a top speed of 102.0 MPH. Zero to 60 was rated at 13.5 seconds.

Standard transmission was a General Motors four speed automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

silver cloud I dashboard

Dashboard on the 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

The dimensions for the Silver Cloud I included an overall length of 17 ft, 8 inches, a width of 75.0 inches, and a wheelbase of 121.0 inches. There was a long wheelbase model that came out in September 1957 at 145.0 inches. The Silver Cloud I's curb weight was 4,990 lbs.

A total of 2,238 Silver Cloud I's were built from 1955 to 1959. Out of these there were 121 that were coach built. There was no mechanical difference between the Rolls-Royce and Bentley versions of the car. Only the badges, radiator and bonnet were different.

New car price for the 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I was about $13,500.

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1956 silver cloud one

Rear view of the Silver Cloud I

The 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I Collector Car

All Rolls Royce models from the 1950's are highly popular luxury collector cars. Regarding the Silver Cloud I's, those that were independently coach built are rare and one's that are in top condition today can garner six figures at auction. An extremely Rare Freestone and Webb 1956 Silver Cloud I as of this writing had an asking price of $165,000. A rare 1957 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Mulliner 4 door Sedan with right hand drive had an asking price of $79,900. This model is one of reportedly four produced with suicide doors. Another is a 1957 Silver Cloud with left hand drive and a/c for $39,500.

What you should always look for when shopping for this kind of automobile are complete records and a detailed ownership trail. Repairs on these cars are rarely inexpensive so an  inspection by a qualified Rolls Royce mechanic is recommended.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

A Vintage and Rare 1935 Rolls Royce Phantom II

The Rolls-Royce Phantom II was the last of the great six cylinder automobiles whose entire development had been managed by F. Henry Royce himself. The company's West Wittering design team put the design to paper per Royce's specifications. The Rolls-Royce Phantom II was the third and last of the Rolls Royce 40/50 hp models and it received high acclaim. The automobile was known to ride smoothly, accelerate fast and be comfortable to drive.

1935 rolls royce phantom II

1935 Rools Royce Phantom II

A Radical Design for the Phantom II

There were reasons for the unveiling of the Phantom II just four years after the Phantom I.  The main reason was increased competition from other manufacturers like Buick and Sunbeam. Royce was well aware that his current chassis was out of date. The gearbox, springs and frame had not been seriously modified since 1912. It was also said that the people at Buick were so impressed with the Rolls Royce Phantom I that they simply copied it.

The radical design changes for this automobile, compared to the Phantom I it replaced, took the Rolls Royce company into the new decade. When the Phantom II was launched in 1929 it impressed and exceeded in every area of design excellence and fine manufacturing technique even that of the the legendary Silver Ghost. Many have said that the Phantom II is the best automobile Rolls Royce ever built.

rolls royce phantom II

Rolls Royce Phantom II

For one thing, the engine and gearbox were in unit construction. The rear springs were now underslung, replacing the previously used cantilever suspension allowing to mount most elegant bodies of lower overall appearance. The front axle for instance had been designed to provide the best stability in braking at speed.

As a more sporty version to be fitted with particularly light coachwork the Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental showed itself to be quite different from the base model. The shorter Continental model had a 144.0 inch wheelbase.  The Phantom II Continental had a lower steering column and special springs. This was the luxury automobile for high end buyers who wished to drive themselves rather than employing a chauffeur.

The Phantom  II featured a much improved and impressive front and rear suspension as compared to the Phantom I it replaced. Production lasted over five years with 1402 Phantom II's produced.

rolls royce phantom II interior

Phantom II dashboard

Choose Your Own Coach Builder

The Phantom II's were built by the Rolls Royce factory in Derby England as rolling chassis. The owner would then have the coach work done by a coachbuilder of his own choice. There were several to choose from. Park Ward, Brewster and Company and Thrupp and Maberly were just a few who did much work with the Phantom II's. Brewster and Company did most of the work on Phantom II's headed for the U.S. with left hand drive.

1935 Rolls Royce Phantom II Specifications

The engine for the 1935 Rolls Royce Phantom II was a redesigned 7.7 liter six cylinder inline producing 120 horsepower. Top speed was claimed to be 92 MPH. The Phantom III model followed in 1936 with it's impressive twelve cylinder engine.

Transmission was a four speed manual. Synchromesh was added on gears 3 and 4 in 1932 and on gear 2 in 1935.

The car's wheelbase was 150.0 inches (The Phantom II Continental model was given a 144.0 inch wheelbase).  It's overall length was 220.0 inches and it's width was 60.0 inches. Curb weight was in the range of 6,000 lbs.

rolls royce phantom two interior windshield

Rear windshield on the Phantom II

Brakes were four wheel drums.

Front and rear suspension for the Phantom II was beam-axle and the rear had semi-elliptic leaf springs.

Total Phantom II production from 1930 through 1935 were 1,402 vehicles. In addition to this there were 278 Phantom II Continental's built.

An interesting side note is that the first Phantom II produced was put through a 10,000 mile road test. The road test put the vehicle under many different types of terrain and various speeds.

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An excellent Kindle book on the Rolls Royce Phantom automobiles is The Rolls-Royce Phantom II and Phantom III (Complete Classics) by authors Steve Stuckey and Nick Whitaker.

rolls royce phantom II photos

The wide whitewall side spare on the Phantom II

A Rare Collector Automobile

With well under 2,000 vehicles produced over it's entire model run, the Rolls Royce Phanton II automobiles are rare collector cars. Models from specific coach builders of the era are even more rare.

Vintage Rolls Royce automobiles are coveted for their good looks, solid engineering and reliability. Along with that is the legendary Rolls Royce prestige. Some would say that the Rolls Royce brand is the most famous of all time. Rolls Royce automobiles were known to have transported royals to and from functions. What goes with this of course is a very expensive price tag that takes a good deal of wealth to add one to a collection.

Whenever an auction occurs involving either a Phantom I or Phantom II you can expect a high price. A 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom I went on the market for just under $200,000. A original and finely restored 1931 Phantom II was listed at $217,000. A 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental sold for over $500,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

1986 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible

It all started with an engineer named Frederick Henry Royce, and Charles Stewart Rolls also an engineer. In Rolls case he was also an automobile dealer. As they say, the rest is history and the car brand is one of the most recognizable in the world.

1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II

1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II

The Rolls Royce automobiles might be some of the top collector's car's you'll come across. This is not only because of the high prices asked and received for classic and vintage Rolls on car auction sites but also because of the superior workmanship put into the cars. Where else could you possibly find the distinctive Rolls Royce grille? Everything about the Rolls Royce automobiles meant power, wealth and superior craftsmanship. In short, it stood for status. Probably still does. A 2013 Rolls-Royce Phanton Drophead Coupe V-12 with an eight speed automatic transmission has a sticker price of $475,000.

The Spirit of Ecstasy

What other automobile has such a distinctive hood ornament as the "Spirit of Ecstasy"? This is the hood ornament that is synonymous with Rolls Royce. In the U.S. the ornament is often referred to as the "Flying Lady". The ornaments began appearing on top of Rolls radiators after 1910 as an option (almost every car had it) and in the early 1920's it became standard equipment.

Rolls-Royce grille and "Spirit of Ecstasy" ornament

Rolls-Royce grille and "Spirit of Ecstasy" ornament

Rolls Royce and BMW

The 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible features in this article is one of those cars. Rolls Royce Limited, which began operations in 1904 and also then known as the C.S. Rolls & Company, was absorbed by BMW in 1999 and now goes by the name of Rolls Royce Motor Company. The effect of this meant that the older Rolls vehicles, the ones manufactured prior to the BMW takeover, have risen in value. The feeling is, right or wrong but probably right, is that the older Rolls Royce automobiles were more skillfully built. While Rolls Royce cars are still being built and sold, the era of the company, at the time the 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche was manufactured, is now part of history.

Rolls Royce and Bentley

Bentley Motors Limited, started in 1919, was acquired by Rolls Royce in 1931. This acquisition no doubt was a result of the consolidation taking place due to the onset of the worldwide Great Depression. because of this merger many of the vehicles going forward, especially after the end of World War Two, had both Rolls Royce and Bentley characteristics.

1986 Rolls-Royce

1986 Rolls-Royce

Bentley eventually was acquired by the German Volkswagen Group in 1998, one year prior to Rolls being taken over by BMW.

The 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche

The Rolls Corniche began production in 1971 and continued until 1995. The Corniche replaced the popular Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. The two door version of the Silver Shadow became the Corniche. From 1992 forward the Corniche model was built only as a convertible.

The Rolls Royce Corniche II was sold in the American market beginning with the 1986 model. The Rolls Corniche II was and is a very impressive looking automobile. In fact, what older Rolls Royce cars were not?

1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II Specifications

The power plant for the 1986 Rolls Corniche was a standard 6.8 litre Rolls Royce V-8 engine with 16 valves, two per cylinder. The engine used aluminum alloy cylinder heads and delivered 256 horsepower. As a side note, the first Rolls Royce engine was a four cylinder delivering 20 horsepower.

Transmission was a three speed automatic.

Suspension was independent with front and rear coil springs.

1986 Rolls Corniche Convertible

1986 Rolls Corniche Convertible

The 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II had a wheelbase of 120.5 inches, a length of 204.6 inches, a width of 72.3 inches and a height of 58.5 inches. The car's weight was about 5,200 lbs.

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Classic Rolls Royce Auction Prices

In short, you'll find classic Rolls Royce automobiles at a variety of prices, all high. As of this writing asking prices for the 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche  II range from about $60,000 to $90,000. Another 1986 Corniche is listed for just under $60,000. Both of these vehicles are listed at under 45,000 miles on the odometer. Mileage and overall condition inside and out will obviously influence the auction asking price. A 1984 Corniche I has been listed at $45,000 and a 1985 model at just under $40,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)