31 October 2012

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Lot 135

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupé Adaptation by Pilkington

  • Chassis no. SCX 871

Sold for £106,400

230 hp, 6,230 cc OHV V-8 engine, twin SU carburettors, four-speed automatic transmission, independent suspension, front suspension by wishbones and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes with gearbox driven servo-assist. Wheelbase: 123 in.

• The most desirable variant of the Rolls Royce Adaptation series

• Pilkington adaptation converted in the 1980s

• Offered from a private collection

The third and final Silver Cloud series was well-received by the public in 1962. It retained the torquey, smooth, and powerful V-8 engine first introduced in 1959 but with a boost from a higher compression ratio and larger carburettors. Its appearance changed for the first time since the series was introduced in 1955. The Cloud III is instantly identified by a lower radiator, a slightly sloping bonnet, and quad headlamps. The exterior changes resulted in a roomier interior, and the front seats were now individually adjustable.

At that time, one of the most desirable coachbuilt Silver Clouds was the ‘Mulliner Adaptations’. When new, a few of these were cars taken from the Standard Steel production line and sent to H.J. Mulliner coachworks to be adapted into drophead coupés, by removing the roof, changing the side panels to accommodate two doors instead of four, and converting the body into a convertible. This became an iconic body style amongst the Rolls-Royces of the 1960, and by far the most desirable. In the 1980s, as these cars became more valuable, a number of small companies began to copy what this famous coachbuilder had done in the late-1950s and early-1960s; the most respected examples were created by Pilkington Coachworks.

This example is finished in correct Rolls-Royce Midnight Blue with a dark blue fabric hood and a tan leather interior with dark blue piping. It was converted in the 1980s by Pilkington, and then it was immediately exported to Hong Kong. Since its conversion over 20 years ago, it has only covered 8,400 miles. The car returned to England briefly in 2004, for a light restoration carried out by Rolls-Royce specialists at the Chelsea Workshops, at a cost exceeding £20,000.

A new, heavily-padded and correct dark blue cloth hood was recently fitted, which coordinates beautifully with the new beige leather interior with dark blue piping, fitted wool carpets, and highly polished burled Circassian trim. The car has received timely and proper maintenance, both mechanically and cosmetically, as needed. A discreet after-market air-conditioning system has been fitted, and the car is supplied with a V5 registration document, copies of bills for the work carried out in 2004, and, in recent years, a new MoT test certificate. This is an opportunity to purchase a car with one of the most desirable body styles at a fraction of the cost of an original Mulliner Adaptation.

This car represents the most popular body style ever built on a post-war Rolls-Royce chassis, crafted by the coachbuilder from the standard steel four-door saloon body into a two-door drophead coupé, resulting in what is a reliable and elegant open Rolls-Royce.

Alexander Weaver

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