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Lot 23: Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Limousine

Cars, H&H Sales Limited (16 June 2012)

In 1938, Rolls-Royce replaced its faithful 25/30 with the Wraith. With its Phantom III-style chassis featuring such niceties as independent front suspension it was, without doubt, the most contemporary of the company's pre-war 'junior' models and production would doubtless have easily surpassed the 1000 mark had it not been for the onset of WWII. As a result of the hostilities a mere 491 examples were eventually manufactured. By the time Rolls-Royce resumed car production in 1946, it was faced with a completely different market. The economy was in dire straits and manufacture was severely handicapped by a shortage of raw materials. With this in mind, the company introduced a degree of rationalisation between its model lines - therefore, though of different looks, the incoming Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and Bentley Mark VI were mechanically very similar. Indeed, the chassis were identical in all but wheelbase/length, with the Bentley featuring a 120-inch wheelbase and the Rolls-Royce the choice of 127-inch or 133-inch ones. While the majority of the Bentleys produced were equipped with the new 'standard steel' body, the Rolls-Royces maintained the tradition of being clothed by the customer's coachbuilder of choice - eg Park Ward, H J Mulliner, Hooper etc. An evolution of the pre-war one, the notably rigid new chassis featured deep outer channels and a cruciform centre section. Suspension was independent by GM-style wishbones and coil springs at the front and traditional semi-elliptic units supporting a live axle at the rear. The servo-assisted brakes were hydraulically operated at the front and mechanically controlled at the rear. Steering was by Marles cam and roller. Power came from a new version of the company's straight-six engine that featured a Stromberg-fed light alloy cylinder head with overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. Initially of 4257cc it was increased to 4566cc in 1951 and to 4887cc for the long wheelbase versions of the car from 1954 onwards. Rolls-Royce chassis number WME55 was laid down in 1951 and clothed with a Hooper Teviot III Touring Limousine body complete with electrically-operated division. Almost certainly retained for official use at some time in the past, its specification includes a Blue police light and a chromium-plated standard bearer. The Silver Wraith was purchased by the Belgium-based vendor in 1985, since when it has received regular attention by Classic Cars Service of Antwerp in between two major services by P&A Wood, who also stored the car for one year. The first of their services is understood to have been carried out in 1990 at a cost of 20,000. The second, when the car's total mileage is believed (but not warranted) to have been just 11,856, resulted in a bill of 17,263. Sporting Black coachwork complemented by a Connolly hide interior, this stately Limousine is currently considered by the vendor to have "A+" bodywork, paintwork, 4257cc straight-six engine and four-speed manual transmission, while he classes the interior trim as "very good". This imperious-looking Rolls-Royce is now being sold complete with extensive history file including a selection of old invoices, MOTs and a CD of images.

Lot Details
Auction Cars
H&H Sales Limited, Rockingham Castle
Lot Number23
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£40320
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis numberWME55
Engine numberW88E
Engine capacity (cc)4257
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors