Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe
Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe
¬£150000 - 180000*
Always keen to present customers with as much choice as possible, Rolls-Royce overlapped the production lives of the Silver Cloud III and its Silver Shadow successor by more than a year. While the latter model was undeniably more technologically advanced, it was (a) initially only available as a four-door standard steel saloon and (b) lacked the sheer road presence / grandeur of its forebear. Based around a version of the 'Bentley 9' modular platform, the Cloud III may not have been 'cutting edge' by 1966 standards but it was still a wonderfully refined motorcar. Featuring independent coil and wishbone front suspension, a leaf-sprung semi-floating back axle (complete with hypoid bevel final drive), hydraulic shock absorbers (adjustable at the rear), power steering and servo-assisted drum brakes, its enormously strong cruciform-braced box-section chassis provided a wonderful foundation for coachbuilders to practice their art. Powered by a 6230cc OHV V8 mated to four-speed automatic transmission, it also had the benefit of near 120mph performance.
Society in the 1960s however was changing rapidly and, among others, the era of the chauffeur-driven car was coming to an end. Rolls-Royce had to make changes too. One of the more striking designs available, this Mulliner, Park Ward Drophead Coupe was aimed at owner-drivers. It owed its beautifully sleek profile to Norwegian-born stylist Vilhelm Koren, who pioneered its 'straight-through' wing line and 'cut-back' wheelarches on the Bentley S2 Continental chassis. Afterwards these lines were successfully carried over to its successors and also to the initially more conservative Rolls-Royces. Visually updated by the diagonal placement of their quad headlights, which gave it its nickname 'Chinese Eye', the Koren-designed Cloud IIIs (available in both fixed- and drophead coupe guises) thus boasted a decidedly avant-garde, yet majestic look. Not surprisingly, the modernist design attracted a younger clientele like actors and musicians.
Offered here is Drophead Coupe chassis CSC11B that was delivered new by Jack Barclay to a Mr Sidney E Dale of Plaistow, London on May 17th 1965. It started life in Regal Red but received a change of image in the 1980s and is these days finished in the elegant combination of Mid Metallic Blue teamed with Beige hide interior. The car contains numerous factory options like a heavy gauge frame, an electrically operated aerial, electric windows with emergency manually-operated handles/cranks, an electrically operated hood mechanism, hood cover and a radio. It also has a cocktail cabinet with crystal glasses and carafe under the dashboard. The Rolls-Royce's next keeper was none other than Kenney Jones, one time drummer for the Small Faces, Faces and later The Who after the death of Keith Moon. In 1993 the Coupe passed to another famous musician, Mr Evangelos Papathanassiou, better known as Vangelis, who retained it for the next twenty-three years, yet hardly ever drove it.
The Rolls-Royce was recently unearthed from a London garage and, though running well, its general lack of use means that a degree of re-commissioning would be advisable - especially in relation to the brakes and electric hood mechanism. The vendor currently grades the engine and transmission as 'very good' and the coachwork, paintwork, and interior trim as 'good'. This fascinating and rare Cloud III comes complete with build sheet, option list, correspondence and V5s.
Imperial War Museum Duxford