Amelia Island | Lot 152
1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Drophead Coupe Adaptation by H.J. Mulliner
$428,500 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
9 March 2018
- One of just 13 examples produced on late Silver Cloud I chassis
- An original left-hand-drive, U.S.-delivery car
- Exceptional restoration by marque specialists Vantage Motorworks
- Rolls-Royce Foundation build and ownership documentation
- The finest example of one of the rarest, most desirable Silver Cloud I designs
Renowned coachbuilders H.J. Mulliner produced several attractive convertible designs on the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud chassis, but the most popular was design no. 7504, the famous Drophead Coupe Adaptation. It was a factory-catalogued design so-named because it was built using modified steel saloon body panels. Mulliner performed much of the transformation, including installation of the complex and well-insulated multi-layered convertible top, with the paint and final completion being handled by Rolls-Royce's own skilled factory craftsmen. So much handcraft and superb workmanship went into the transformation that the result, in every detail, was essentially a fully custom body, finished to the exacting specifications of its original owner.
The Drophead Coupe Adaptation was not introduced until very late in the Silver Cloud I's run, and so examples on that superb chassis, carrying the final evolution of the company's superb six-cylinder engine, are extraordinarily rare. Just 13 were produced, 10 of them with left-hand drive for American clients; these U.S.-delivery cars also featured an engine with higher 8:1 compression, for more performance, and are in every way the most desirable examples to be found. They are treasured by the collectors who own them and very seldom become available for sale.
The example offered here, chassis no. LSMH195, was ordered by Broadway producer Lawrence Carr, who placed precise introductions for trim details, enhanced radio output, and power options, including the windows and convertible top - together accumulating three pages of special equipment attached to the works order. He even specified "weather guards," to cover the keyholes and prevent them from freezing over in winter weather.
Carr took delivery on 16 June 1959. The end result was apparently quite spectacular. Society columnist Dorothy Kilgallen wrote that September, referencing Broadway actress Kathy Carlyle, that ". . . she is quite content to be observed breezing along the East Hampton roadways in a white Rolls-Royce with Lawrence Carr, producer of Redhead, at the wheel . . ."
Following decades of long-term care by its second owner, Robert Frielich, the car was mechanically and cosmetically restored for Emil Kovach by the noted, Pebble Beach award-winning marque specialists, Vantage Motorworks of Miami, Florida. According to company owner Richard Gorman, no expense was spared on the work, including acquisition of numerous new-old-stock parts and the period-correct factory color scheme of Sand Acrylic, striped in Regal Red, over Beige Connolly hides and Fawn Wilton wool carpeting, resulting in what Gorman dubs "one of the finest Silver Cloud dropheads in existence." The result is every bit as spectacular when seen almost 60 years ago cruising down the Hampton roadways, and is certainly the finest left-hand-drive Silver Cloud I Drophead Coupe Adaptation to be made available in many years. It is offered with its original handbook and restoration receipts from Vantage Motorworks.
Bespoke motor cars like this one are valued no differently than fine art, antiques, and other rare commodities. The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud series I has not only survived, but thrived, through the decades and remains a favorite car for its reliability, silky road manners, and relatively low-maintenance costs. The best of the best will always be sought after and treasured. This example, one of 10 factory left-hand-drive examples, and in like-new condition thanks to the attention of marque specialists, is the one to choose.