Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe

Although H.J. Mulliner, which was established in 1900, designed coachwork for C. S. Rolls’ personal two-seater Silver Ghost roadster, it was not until 1928 that the firm began to regularly display its hand-crafted bodies on a Rolls-Royce chassis. From that year on, H.J. Mulliner always exhibited at least one Rolls-Royce chassis graced with their custom coachwork.

Following World War II, Mulliner was one of the few coachbuilders to resume building traditional, bespoke coachwork. By this time, the firm’s reputation was such that it focused primarily on being a supplier to Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis, crafting the finest, high quality saloons, sedancas, limousines and dropheads for the world’s wealthy and elite. By the 1950s, however, Mulliner moved away from the traditional wood-frame coachbuilding techniques of its past, turning instead to the more modern methods of its competitors using a “stressed skin,” all-steel structure.

Introduced in April 1955 as a replacement for the Silver Dawn, the Silver Cloud was built on a separate frame, which allowed for custom coachwork as an alternative to the standard all-steel factory sedan body.

It was built from 1955 to 1966 and marked the company’s transition from the coachbuilt cars of its past to a new era of production manufacturing. It enjoyed continuous development that eventually resulted in the Silver Cloud II, which was introduced in 1959, the same year H.J. Mulliner & Co. was purchased by Rolls-Royce.

The final iteration of the series was the Silver Cloud III, which was introduced toward the end of 1962 and benefited from various cosmetic changes, the most notable of which was a four-headlamp arrangement. While Rolls-Royce steadfastly refused to publish output ratings, the firm claimed the V8 engine now produced eight percent more horsepower than the Silver Cloud II. With nearly 220 brake horsepower, the car was capable of top speeds approaching 120 mph. Power steering was again standard, but the revised Rolls-Royce automatic transmission now featured three forward speeds, compared to the four speeds of the Silver Cloud II.

The Silver Cloud III was tremendously successful, and the slogan coined by David Ogilvy’s advertising agency – “At 60 miles per hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock” – became an instantly recognizable classic in its own right.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

216 bhp, 6,230 cc aluminum V8 engine, twin SU carburetors, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with upper and lower A-arms, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, live rear axle with semi-elliptic springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, and four-wheel servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 123"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe