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1951/53 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Limousine

Lot 79 (Chateau Impney, 7th December 2016)

Sold for £18,000

(including buyers premium)

Lot details
Registration No: BHC 888
Chassis No: BLW15
Mot Expiry: Exempt

"Although perhaps more famous worldwide for her starring role as Marilyn Monroe's transport in the award winning film My Week With Marilyn,the story of Rolls Royce owner Colin Clark's (Alan Clark's brother) romance starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and multi award winner Michelle Williams this Rolls Royce chassis and engine with unique Hooper bodywork is more 'special' perhaps in motoring history terms to the expert collector.
In recent years the car has been chosen by film stars such as Bond girl Caroline Munro,the cast of Quadrophenia etc for use on special occassions.
Referred to by many in the RREC as the Phantom Wraith,this Silver Wraith chassis and engine,ordered in late 1951 through the main dealer Caffyns Ltd emerged from Rolls Royce in late 1952,just post war at a time when the factory were attempting to produce a range of 4/6 and 8 cylinder engines and differing chassis lengths made up of a common construction kit.
The rarest Rolls Royce of all,the Phantom IV was built on a longer chassis at this time,only available to Royalty and Heads of State...and of course the company's pick up truck,and all were fitted with the not so reliable 8 cylinder engine (which didn't like to rev at higher revs)
As production was limited RR could supply new replacement engines when needed for the Phantom IV when they broke down
A couple more Phantomesque chassis's were built than cars produced,and it's rumoured that the Chassis Code TSD244 refers to a Phantom chassis,part of which was adapted from the bulkhead back on this vehicle to give a 'Phantomesque' rear cabin for chassis no BLW15.
Whether or not the rumours are true,there is no doubt the rear cabin of BLW15 offers far more room than the normal Silver Wraith long wheelbase cabins.
The car from the bulkhead forwards is as per the 1951 Silver Wraith long wheelbase with the much more reliable 4566cc 'Big Bore' 6 cylinder engine with the slick 4 speed manual gearbox.
This car has a 133 inch wheelbase as opposed to the 145 inch Phantom so is easier to park.
Over the next 18 months Osmond Rivers the chief designer of Hooper's,Caffyn's,Rolls Royce and the extremely precise customers corresponded,designed and re-designed the amazing interior of this bespoke motor car....actually building and re-building the design a number of times.
The final result was stunning,with unique features emerging such as a customer designed rear moonroof that doubled up as a safer glass chauffeur division than the electric systems of the time with a curved Triplex plexiglass design for the first time.
A smaller chauffeur named Elfick was employed to maximise rear space and as well as rear facing middle seats there was room for a drinks cabinet.
The windscreen was 'straight'.
The rear bench was designed as for a 'male' and 'female',a HMV wireless was fitted to the 'mans' side and for 'madam' there was a special selection of accessories trimmed in blue to complement the blue Connolly leather seats(code VM3015).
A hidden food flask and fire extinguisher pre-dated the umbrella holders on todays new Phantoms.
For the luggage area there is a lovely suitcase complete with blue hairdryer and coathanger.
The coachwork,designated design no 8381 was actually the prototype for the Hooper 'New Look' body design and is finished in Black over pale blue Code 9291.
This coachwork eventually was modified in design 8390,often incorrectly called the Empress Line,a name that actually refers to Daimler's with that bodywork.
Amazingly all the correspondence and accessories have survived the 62 years since the car was completed in July 1953 along with period photographs of the first owner's at the BARC Club winning the Grand Prix d'Honneur.
Hooper then displayed the car at the Motor Show where again it won a design award.
In 1966 the first owners sold the car to a company in the City of London and in 1968 a prolific diamond dealer bought the car from them,his hand painted initials still adorn the car and he enjoyed the car for 33 years in the UK and Belgium.
The car then returned 'home' to the UK after being bought by a dealer in North Wales.
Since then the car has been enjoyed by three private collectors since.
A full marque expert service,clutch,brakes and full checkover has therefore been completed during the last three years and the car has been driven over 4,000 miles to iron out any wrinkles.
The car is very smooth and very powerful and shrinks around you when driven,the handling is pretty much roll free.
The patina is incredible esp in the rear compartment and whilst the paintwork is smart and has been tidied before it's not concours,showing small blemishes when you go close up....the question now is whether to keep the car as is or carry out a full repaint....
Inside the car requires a new front carpet,the front bench seat backrest is original but worn and some of the headlining is fragile.
Externally the car has just suffered minor body damage after a low speed altercation with a new Range Rover Sport.
The car showed it's strength and the only damage is a dented front nearside wing,headlight glass,indicator and the back door popped open and bent back on the rear wing.
Included in the car's file is a list of repair work needed.
The chrome on the front wheels needs re-chroming whereas both bumpers clean up well with some old tiny bubbles only.
I think the balance of condition versus patina is nearly spot on but any buyer can make their own decision on our very honest decision.
The current owner has had an agreed valuation of £185,000 with a well known UK insurance company making this a great opportunity to invest in this amazing automobile.
The car comes complete with a signed copy of Colin Clark's memoirs,a DVD of My Week With Marilyn and a vintage Marilyn tea towel.
This unique car is now available at a fraction of the cost of a Phantom IV,offering similar rear space but is of course a much more driveable car that exudes much more class than a new Rolls Royce and surely must provide a sound investment over the years to come.
Bruce Wayne,Arthur and Marilyn Monroe can't all be wrong in choosing the elegant style of this era of Silver Wraith."


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