Lot 151

Amelia Island 2023

1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Drophead Coupe by James Young

Offered from A Private Collection


$648,500 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida



Chassis No.
Body No.
US Title
  • A truly coachbuilt drophead coupe by one of the finest coachbuilders
  • One of only two examples built; an original left-hand-drive model
  • Formerly owned by Anthony Preston, James Patterson, and Orin Smith
  • Well-preserved cosmetic restoration in excellent overall condition
Addendum: Please note the title for this lot is in transit. A 4-6 week delay is expected.

The majority of the drophead coupes produced on the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I chassis were “Adaptations,” built by H.J. Mulliner using highly modified Standard Steel Saloon body shells. Customers seeking something even more unique and special could, in fact, still order a chassis and commission custom coachwork from the likes of James Young, the renowned Kent firm known for the exceptional styling and quality of its bodies. James Young built only three drophead coupes on the Silver Cloud I, of which only two were to design number SC15VL. Compared to the “Adaptations,” this style featured a more neatly folding convertible top and modern slab-sided lines, with only a subtle kick-up above the rear wheel wells. It was a breathtaking automobile to admire and to drive.

Chassis number LSHF169 was equipped with power top, radio antenna, and, unique among the two examples of this design, power windows. It was originally delivered on 22 May 1959 to Alfred Hart of Bel Air, California. An exceptionally colorful figure even in the rarefied world of custom Rolls-Royce owners, Mr. Hart had begun his career wholesaling liquor in Chicago for Al Capone during Prohibition. He later relocated to California, where he continued in the distillery business, established the City National Bank of Beverly Hills, and was an investor in local real estate, including owning the Del Mar race track. His connections in the business world were beyond question. When Frank Sinatra, Jr. was kidnapped in 1963, it was Mr. Hart to whom his father turned to arrange the $240,000 ransom.

Following Mr. Hart’s ownership, LSHF169 was acquired by the prominent New York State Rolls-Royce enthusiast, Anthony Preston, known for his long-term ownership of one of the original Phantom II Henley Roadsters. It would go on to change hands several further times in the decades to come but always remained in appreciative care. In 2007 it was purchased by noted enthusiast and two-time Pebble Beach Concours Best of Show-winner, James Patterson, for whom it was cosmetically refinished by the noted marque specialists Vantage Motorworks in Oxford Blue with Saddle Tan top and interior, with a correct tinted windshield as-original, refinished brightwork, and upgraded factory-style air conditioning. Soon after its showing at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2010, renowned collector Orin Smith, a great connoisseur of the coachbuilt Silver Cloud I, acquired the car in 2010, becoming only its fifth registered owner. Mr. Smith retained it in his distinguished private museum until his passing in 2017, at which point it was acquired by the present owner.

The car shows only light wear to its undercarriage from occasional use in Mr. Smith’s and the current ownership. The paint and interior both remain in fine condition, including the traditional James Young veneers capping the doors and dashboard. In addition, the original radio is still present, as are the vanity and smoker’s companions in the rear compartment, and the correct set of hand tools in the trunk. Accompanying are an owner’s manual and a history file, including copies of build documents and service invoices from previous ownerships.

With the other example of this design remaining tucked-away in a longtime home, unlikely to soon emerge, this could well be the only chance to acquire an extremely rare and beautiful example of fine custom coachwork on the Silver Cloud I chassis. It would still look right at home in Beverly Hills, or, for that matter, trackside at Del Mar.