1948 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER WRAITH FOUR-LIGHT SPORTS SALOON
COACHWORK BY PARK WARD
Registration No. PRF 326
Chassis No. WAB 45
Engine No. W109 B
Black with dark grey interior
Engine: six cylinder in-line, overhead inlet, side exhaust valves, 4257cc, dual choke Stromberg carburettor; Clutch: single plate dry; Gearbox: manual four-speed with synchromesh; Suspension: independent front by wishbone and coil spring, half elliptic springs to beam rear axle, ride control; Brakes: servo assisted hydraulic front, mechanical rear. Centralised dash-controlled chassis lubrication. Right-hand drive.
When it was introduced in 1946, the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith was one-half of a new manufacturing and marketing thrust by the company. From this point Bentleys were to be offered as complete automobiles, their standard steel coachwork made at Rolls-Royce's Crewe factory. The very closely-related Silver Wraith would be made only in chassis form and supplied to specialist coachbuilders to be bodied to individual commission, as in earlier times. Derived directly from the Wraith of the 1930s, but refined and improved throughout, the new models were given an immensely strong cruciform-braced pressed steel chassis. In twin carburettor form the Bentley Mk VI's engine gave some 135bhp; the Silver Wraith's was not far behind. To match the performance now possible, the coil-spring independent front suspension geometry was improved and power hydraulic brakes appeared. The driver could adjust ride quality from a quadrant on the steering column which controlled the hydraulic rear axle dampers.
Park Ward was set up in the early 1920s to build bespoke coachwork on Rolls-Royce and other fine chassis. In the 1930s they evolved an ingenious all-steel body frame construction method which attracted the attention of Rolls-Royce and by the 1940s were a fully-owned Crewe subsidiary. Their particular speciality was standardised formal coachwork for the British Empire's ambassadors and high commissioners around the world, but a stream of less formal automobiles issued from their North London works.
It is on record that this four-door sports saloon was despatched from Park Ward in August 1948 to Newcastle Motor Services to the order of a Staffordshire customer. It was finished in metallic grey with grey leather interior and options fitted included a sliding sunshine roof and radio. It is believed that it has a full service history and that the present owner is the fourth. With their mid-1940s designs, Park Ward achieved a stately synthesis of traditional 1930s styling and modern ideas. These sports saloons keep pace with modern traffic and reward the enthusiastic owner.
This example is fine testimony to the ownership history of the car and is, in our opinion, in superb condition.