Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Empress Saloon by Hooper
Launched in April 1955, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and its sibling the Bentley S1 were recipients of Managing Director Arthur Sedgreaves’ new production and manufacturing techniques, which produced the Standard Steel Saloon, the final iteration of the W.O. Bentley-designed straight six. With 4.9 litres, increased compression, larger carburettors and intake valves, power was said to have increased by 13 percent over its 4.5-litre predecessor.
The Standard Steel Saloon fulfilled the company’s commercial requirements but not necessarily those of all its customers. For those preferring something more exclusive, England’s coachbuilders were still offering bespoke coachwork, particularly on the long wheelbase cars. The premium for custom coachwork, however, was substantial, and very few clients could afford it. For Hooper, in particular, work decreased substantially throughout the 1950s before the company finally ceased production in late 1959.
Later Hooper-bodied Rolls-Royces such as this are therefore very rare. The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I offered here, chassis ALC11, is a long wheelbase example bodied with Hooper’s traditional “Empress”-style coachwork (design no. 8504, body no. 10226) with division window. It was delivered new in May 1958 to one J. Davis, Esq. Additional notes in the Hooper records indicate it was to be constructed similar to body no. 10115 but with the longer wheelbase and cut-out spats. The Hooper workmanship on the car is superb, from the supple red leather rear seat to the luxurious wooden picnic tables. The car reportedly runs and drives flawlessly and was presented at the exclusive Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance as well as Techno Classica in 2005.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2010 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco and in May of 2012 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.
178 bhp, 4,887 cc inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, independent front suspension, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Wheelbase: 3,225 mm (127")
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood