Lot 138


1957 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Drophead Coupé by Park Ward

Offered from The 20th Century Collection


€132,250 EUR | Sold

Monaco | Monaco, Monaco



Chassis No.
Kuwait Vehicle Registration
  • Offered from The 20th Century Collection
  • Originally delivered to Dr. Carvel James, husband of legendary actress Norma Talmadge
  • One of five to this design; a late-production car with 4.9-litre engine
  • A tempting restoration project, of the ultimate specification
  • Among the most desirable of all Silver Wraiths
Addendum: Please note this lot has entered the EU on a temporary import bond, which must be cancelled either by exporting the lot outside of the EU on an approved Bill of Lading with supporting customs documentation or by paying the applicable VAT and import duties to have the lot remain in the EU.

Veuillez noter que ce lot est entré dans l'UE sous couvert d'une autorisation d'importation temporaire, qui doit être annulée soit en exportant le lot en dehors de l'UE avec une lettre de débarquement approuvé accompagné des documents douaniers nécessaires, soit en payant la TVA et les droits d'importation applicables pour que le lot reste dans l'UE.

The vast majority of Rolls-Royce Silver Wraiths were outfitted with typical saloon and limousine bodies. Especially rare were open models, with Park Ward’s especially attractive Drophead Coupé, to design number 705, accounting for just five copies, of which four were on left-hand-drive chassis. All were long-wheelbase examples, providing for both sumptuously proportioned, dramatically curved lines and capacious interiors.

Chassis number LFLW88, offered here, was ordered by New York dealer J.S. Inskip on behalf of client Dr. Carvel James. Dr. James was a prominent physician based in the exclusive enclave of Beverly Hills, California, and the third and final husband of Norma Talmadge, one of the best-known and most successful actresses of the silent screen era. Ahead of her time, she had been one of the first women to launch her own production company, in partnership with another of her husbands, Joseph Schenck, which made her a very wealthy woman well into her retirement.

Importantly, as a late-production Silver Wraith, only three brief series removed from the final models, chassis LFLW88 incorporated most all of the improvements made to the line over its lengthy production, including, most significantly, the largest 4.9-litre engine. Befitting a film star, it was very thoroughly specified in Shell Grey with black hood and interior, and including automatic transmission, power steering, power-operated top and windows. The car’s original specification included a now-absent second Auster-style windscreen for the rear seat passengers, suggesting that it was likely once utilised with a chauffeur—further reinforcing that it had been built with Ms Talmadge in mind. Delivery itself appears to have been made to Dr. James at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida, residence, via West Palm Beach dealer Shakespeare Motors.

Later owned by the noted American Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist Richard Gorman and by the late, noted collector Orin Smith, the car is thought to have been traded by The Blackhawk Collection, prior to receiving cosmetic updates with its next owner in the mid-to-late 2000s. It has since been part of the The 20th Century Collection for nearly two decades. Recipient of an older restoration in prior ownership, it has been in storage for most of the present ownership. Accompanied by Rolls-Royce Foundation build documentation, it would now benefit from a fresh restoration to return it to its original grandeur and opulence.