Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton
14 March 2015
Lot 132

1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Drophead Coupe Adaptation by H.J. Mulliner

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$715,000 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

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Chassis No.
LSMH57
Engine No.
SH28
Body No.
6204
  • One of 13 built and 10 left-hand-drive examples
  • Built for noted industrialist and sportsman Norman Paul Butler
  • Numerous original special features, including a Rolls-Royce tachometer
  • Award-winning restoration at multiple national concours
  • Rolls-Royce Foundation documentation

178 bhp, 4,877 cc F-head inline six-cylinder engine with twin two-inch SU carburetors, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and hydraulic dampers, rear semi-elliptic springs with controllable hydraulic dampers, and self-adjusting hydraulic front brakes with combined hydraulic and mechanical rear brakes with servo-assist. Wheelbase: 123 in.

Beginning about halfway through the production run of the Silver Cloud I, Rolls-Royce offered a drophead coupe by H.J. Mulliner, style number 7504. Unlike previous Mulliner Drophead Coupes on this chassis, the new car, referred to as an adaptation, made use of a “Standard Steel Saloon” body shell, which was heavily modified by Mulliner. This would be the standard method of construction for most Mulliner Drophead Coupes through to the end of the Silver Cloud series in 1965. No others were as rare as the Silver Cloud I variant, of which 13 were built, with 10 being left-hand-drive examples.

The car offered here, chassis number LSMH57, is perhaps the finest restored example of a Silver Cloud I Drophead Coupe Adaptation known to exist. It was built for Norman Paul Butler, a founder of Oak Brook, Illinois, as well as the Oak Brook Polo Club and the Butler National Golf Course. Mr. Butler specified numerous unique features for his Rolls-Royce, including a dashboard-mounted Rolls-Royce tachometer, power-assisted steering, power windows, a power top, dual fog lights, and a rear seat that had been designed to fold flat, forming a platform for additional luggage for touring. These specifications cost the original owner nearly $15,000, which was a tremendous sum in 1959, especially when a new Chevrolet at that time cost around $2,500!

Mr. Butler took delivery of the car in New York on May 15, 1959, and it had an unusual British license plate, BC33, one of the first to be issued (in December 1903, in Leicester), as specially requested by the new owner. He would take it to Ireland in 1965, where he would join his family at Kilboy Castle in Tipparary.

The present owners had the good fortune to rescue this significant Rolls-Royce in 2000. A complete body-off restoration was meticulously undertaken to original factory standards by Mark Schlachter, of Metalkraft Coachwerkes, who is one of the top coachbuilders in the country. Taris Charysyn and Company created fitted luggage for the trunk and rear-seat luggage platform, and they were made to the factory’s original specifications. The owner even commissioned a set of his-and-hers director’s seats to be used at showings, as well as a wooden steering wheel that matched the interior trim; although the original steering wheel is also supplied.

This magnificently restored Silver Cloud I won the Silver Cloud/Phantom V Concours class at the 2012 Rolls-Royce Owners Club National Meeting and also the Shamrock Award for the Most Improved Post-War Car. It went on to secure the Collector Foreign Best of Class and the Carl H. Lindner Trophy for Best Rolls-Royce/Bentley at the Ault Park Concours in Cincinnati in 2014, and it was also shown that year here at Amelia Island.

This outstanding Rolls-Royce of extraordinary beauty and rarity, with known history and a painstaking restoration, is an exceptional motor car.