1955 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER WRAITH TOURING LIMOUSINE
COACHWORK BY FREESTONE & WEBB
Registration No. LUT 608
Chassis No. DLW 94
Engine No. L 93 D
Maroon over cream, with grey interior
Engine: six cylinder in-line, overhead inlet, side exhaust valves, 4,887cc, dual choke Stromberg carburettor; Gearbox: automatic; Suspension: independent front by wishbone and coil spring, half elliptic springs to beam rear axle, ride control; Brakes: servo-assisted front, mechanical rear. Right hand drive.
In the immediate post-war period there were only a handful of cars on which a purchaser could choose their own coachwork, and the number of coachbuilders remaining was few. The success of the Silver Wraith may well be attributable to this factor, for it offered both a luxury car, and a chassis on which the art of coachbuilding could still be practiced. As a consequence, the model, which was unmatched by a Bentley equivalent, remained in production for 12 years.
This car is a perfect example of the very best in 1950s styling and tailoring to the specific requirements of its first owner. Mr G.H. Taylor ordered the chassis late in 1954, and it was supplied to Freestone & Webb of North London, to be bodied with Six Light Touing Limousine coachwork. The coachlines of the bodywork are so well styled and proportioned that the size of such a car, and its commodious interior is carefully hidden. Just 12 examples were completed to the same design. It is believed that Mr Taylor 'liked a tipple' as one of the more interesting set of details to the car are a small fridge, space for glasses and a bottle, and picnic tables on which to rest one's glass!
Four owners are recorded in the factory build sheets, until 1972, when it was sold through Frank Dale & Stepsons to Illinois. A file with the car contains much correspondence in this period including a ledger of work carried out in the early 1980s. The vendor acquired the car in 1989 and brought it back to the UK.
On its arrival, the car was professionally restored, retaining the original interior, but repainting from bare metal to the present maroon over cream livery, invoices for this work total £18,000. When finished it was entered in the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club annual rally concours, and its condition rewarded with a First in Elegance in its class.
Since then the Silver Wraith has continued to be used regularly and always maintained by professional specialists. Today, its restoration has aged slightly, but it remains a beautiful and eminently usable example.
Current road fund licence and MoT are supplied with the car, together with correspondence noted, a photographic record of its restoration, and copies of factory build sheets.