1966 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER CLOUD III DROPHEAD COUPE
COACHWORK BY H.J. MULLINER, PARK WARD
Chassis No. CSC63C Engine No. C31CS
Ming blue with beige leather interior and beige soft top
Engine: V8, pushrod operated, overhead valve, 6,230cc.; Gearbox: four- speed automatic; Suspension: front, independent coil, rear, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: hydraulic front, hydraulic and mechanical rear with servo. Right hand drive.
The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III was the last of its series and indeed was the last production Rolls-Royce to retain a conventional chassis prior to the introduction of the Silver Shadow in 1966.
This exceptionally original and lovely Silver Cloud III convertible is one of the very rare final series of coachbuilt 'Continental' Rolls-Royces delivered at the end of an era. CSC63C is the 10th to last of over 15,000 now classic Silver Cloud and S Bentley automobiles produced by Rolls-Royce Motors, Ltd. from 1955 to 1966 (the last in an odd-numbered sequence being CSC81C).
There has been some controversy and commentary regarding the use of the highly regarded term 'Continental' with respect to any of the Rolls-Royces of this period. However, CSC63C is that rare example whereby the use of this appellation by Rolls-Royce themselves refers to the very last series of 111 CSC chassis. Chassis CSC63C is expressly described on the Engine Build Card as: Specification: RH RR Continental. The use of this terminology undoubtedly indicated that these very last choice Rolls-Royces were being prepared exactly as were the Bentley S3 Continentals and it also undoubtedly served the marketing purposes of making a limited number of specially prepared chassis available to those loyal and demanding buyers who could not otherwise obtain a coachbuilt Rolls-Royce after the commencement of Silver Shadow production (other than on the formal, limited and expensive Phantom V limousines).
CSC63C carries the two-door convertible body style first introduced on earlier Bentley Continentals to the design of Wolfgang Koren, but is updated to the Series III appearance with stylish 'Chinese eye' headlamp configuration, a slender chrome belt-line following the side panels and Rolls-Royce grille. Only 97 Silver Cloud III's were built to body design #2045. Livery is the original deep, dark Valentines Ming Blue, set off by the elegant chrome belt-line and highlighted by hand-painted gold striping. The interior includes outstanding veneers, the Continental style instrument cluster, beige hides and original matching dark blue carpets with the HJMPW floor mats. Per the Continental specifications, it has the low mounted radiator shell and low-rake steering column giving it a sporty profile. This beautiful example has a documented history of only 3 owners and has been driven just 44,050 miles from new.
Rolls-Royce delivered CSC63C with 'heavy guage frame' and engine C31CS to the coachbuilders on November 11, 1965, a month after the announcement of the monocoque-designed Silver Shadow series. By contrast, the last standard-steel Silver Cloud III to leave Crewe was delivered September 30, 1965 and the last standard Bentley went out on August 24, 1965; the last Bentley Continental left the factory in late November. After fitting the custom convertible body, the completed car was delivered to its first owner, a Mr. J.R.C. Townsend, Esq. of Wickems, Maidenhead Court in Berkshire, England on January 22, 1966. It was one of a handful of Silver Clouds delivered into 1966. The guarantee date was January 22, 1966.
About two years later, renowned London dealer Jack Barclay Ltd. resold the car in December 1967 to Mr. E.N. Villiers, Esq. of the General Guarantee Corporation Ltd. who was acting as intermediary on behalf of a wealthy American businessman, Mr. W. Clement Stone. The Guarantee List shows the car as registered to Mr. Stone by April 4, 1968 to his company Combined Insurance Co. of America at their London address. Reputedly, Mr. Stone, who was based in Chicago, maintained this car for his London visits, but may have brought it to the U.S. for several years before returning it to London. It was during these years that Mr. Stone obtained notoriety as the largest contributor to the Nixon campaigns of 1968 and 1972 which is said by many to have been an impetus for the advent of American campaign finance laws. It seems Mr. Stone kept the car for over 25 years. In November 1993, Jones-Evans Automobiles of Cheshire, England sold the car on behalf of Mr. Stone to its third owner, a collector living in Honolulu, Hawaii who has carefully maintained it since then. It has just recently been shipped in from Hawaii for resale.
This Silver Cloud convertible is being sold with the unaltered original custom features identified on the Rolls-Royce build sheets including white wall tires, emergency hand window winder to supplement the electric window controls, side-view mirrors mounted on the front wings, special adjustable front seats, power operated hood with hood bag, luggage straps and high-frequency horns (country horns) with a foot-switch in addition to the standard (city) horns. Other features original to the car remain untouched even if they now seem quaint such as the lap safety belts, sixties-style radio and manual wing aerial. The original owner's manual, keys, tool kit, jack and a file of all known history including the factory build sheets, ownership records and all available service records are being sold with the car. It is worth noting that the original manual would be one of very few printed specifically for the late Cloud III Continental type cars. The British registration plates remain on the car under the Hawaii plates. The engine has never required overhaul and we are assured it runs superbly. The front brakes were recently rebuilt. All dash instruments, gauges and switches operate correctly. The car has been fitted since new with air conditioning.
This is undoubtedly a handsome motor car, especially pleasing to drive with the roof down, and it is a fine reminder of the end of the coachbuilt era.