Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Mulliner Park Ward Drophead Coupe
With the introduction of the pressed steel bodied 1949 Silver Dawn, the age of custom-bodied Rolls-Royce automobiles began its slow end. As the newly straitened postwar market demanded, the number of coachbuilt Rolls-Royces steadily declined through the fifties, as did the number of companies that supplied them. Rolls-Royce had already purchased Park Ward in 1939 and twenty years later, the firm of H.J. Mulliner came under its control.
By the early sixties, a coachbuilt Rolls-Royce was truly a rare luxury, the pinnacle of automotive exclusivity. With the development of the Silver Cloud model from 1955 through the Silver Cloud II of 1959 and the final Silver Cloud III in the fall of 1962, Rolls-Royce steadily enhanced the power as well as the refinement of the chassis to provide the effortless performance and comfort demanded of Crewe’s products. Although the company was famously reticent to state actual power output, the increase of horsepower raised the model’s top speed to over 115 mph. The Silver Cloud III would also turn out to be the last “production” Rolls-Royce built on a separate chassis suitable for true custom bodies – the follow-up Silver Shadow, introduced in 1966, would be a unit-bodied car.
Mulliner Park Ward created a pair of two-door convertibles, or “drop head coupes” in the British parlance, on the Silver Cloud III chassis. One was a modified version of the standard steel sedan with almost identical styling, called design number 2007. The other of these special-bodied Rolls-Royces was an elegant, clean-lined convertible of a completely unique design which carried Mulliner Park Ward design number 2045. With an almost rakish air thanks to the angle of the wheel arches, the sharp cut of the rear fender line, and the distinctive angled quad headlights, Mulliner Park Ward succeeded in creating a car both surprisingly sporty in aspect yet distinctly classic and elegant. From its debut in 1963 through the end of production in 1966, only a small number of these luxurious open-topped cars were made in total, in both right- and left-hand drive configurations.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California, in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida, and in March of 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
200 hp, 380 cu. in. V8 engine, two SU carburetors, four-speed automatic transmission, front coil, rear leaf spring suspension, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 123".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright: Steve Giraud and Dennis Lee Gerber