Rolls-Royce quickly re-established its reputation after World War II as the constructor of the World’s finest motor cars with the launch of the Silver Wraith. Powered by a new 4.2-litre straight six giving smooth, refined performance, its Impressive features included independent front suspension and all synchromesh gearbox. The new model was constructed in chassis only form in the Crewe factory, Rolls-Royce’s former Merlin aero engine assembly plant. At the first post-war London Motor Show in October 1948, the new Silver Wraith presented in 14 bespoke styles was the talk of the event. This important year for the British motor industry also saw the launch of the Land Rover and the Jaguar XK120.
In the grand tradition of the pre-war years, the Silver Wraith was sold as a chassis to be fitted with bespoke bodywork built by long established coachbuilding houses all eager to return to their traditional craft after six years of war related work. Most Silver Wraiths were bodied by five English coachbuilders, Park Ward, H.J. Mulliner, Hooper, Freestone & Webb, and James Young.
Based in Bromley, Kent, the renowned James Young business had been acquired in 1937 by London dealer Jack Barclay, and he quickly convinced the hugely respected A.F.MacNeil to join as chief designer.
The business had suffered badly during the Blitz but James Young were back in style for the 1948 London Motor Show with MacNeil’s new body style for the Silver Wraith. When many rivals were still building conservative, pre-war styling, James Young relaunched with a fresh look for the new Rolls-Royce that concealed the running boards beneath the doors. As the traditional coachbuilding business became ever more constrained, James Young were among the last to survive, and from 1948-1959 bodied 205 Silver Wraiths.
Throughout the 1950s the Silver Wraith was the exclusive transport of royalty, dignitaries, and world’s richest with orders ranging from the House of Windsor to Italian film producer Roberto Rosselllini. This 1955 right-hand-drive chassis was one of the last built and features the handsome limousine coachwork by James Young. With the odometer recording just 20,830 miles, and the car always garaged as befits such a fine automobile, this unrestored Silver Wraith remains in remarkable, largely original, condition.
This vehicle is sold as a collector’s item and is sold without warranty, subject to paragraph E1 of our Conditions of Sale, and is sold as seen, not subject to return. Interested buyers are advised to satisfy themselves as to the condition of this vehicle and to seek independent specialist advice on condition if required. Please be advised that this lot will be stored off site in Northampton following the sale. Please refer to our important notices section for full terms relating to this lot.