Monterey | Lot 130

1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Drophead Coupe by Inskip

$561,000 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California

18 August 2017

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • The most sporting, desirable coachwork for the Silver Wraith
  • The last example of American custom coachwork produced on a Rolls-Royce chassis
  • Known history with only three private owners from new
  • A spectacular design in dramatic and beautiful colors
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

The final two Rolls-Royces produced with American custom coachwork were a pair of lavish drophead coupes, built by former Brewster craftsmen for longtime importer J.S. Inskip of New York. Built on two very early Silver Wraith chassis, these cars featured sumptuous baroque curves, inspired by the French designs of Saoutchik and Figoni, including sweeping fenders decorated with chromed brass, and a distinctively sporting “dip” in the beltline. Few Silver Wraiths were as dramatic as this duo.

The car offered here, chassis number WZB36, was the second and last Inskip drophead coupe completed, and therefore the final Rolls-Royce produced with an American custom body. Build records indicate that the chassis was originally planned for a James Young saloon, but this order was cancelled and the car instead sent to the United States. It was finally sold by Inskip to its original owner, Lawrence S. Donaldson of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 29 January 1951. Mr. Donaldson was an heir to the Donaldson’s department store fortune, and his Silver Wraith was maintained at the family’s historic mansion at 1712 Mount Curve Avenue, which stands to this day as one of the Twin Cities’ grandest residences.

Minnesota banker and early car enthusiast, Andrew Darling, purchased the Silver Wraith from Mr. Donaldson in August 1957. Mr. Darling was a longtime Classic Car Club of America and Rolls-Royce Owners Club member, who loved driving his automobiles and famously maintained one for each month of the year, often with his beloved dog as company. The Inskip drophead coupe was well-maintained in his ownership for nearly four decades, before being sold at the famous auction of his collection by Sotheby’s in 1996.

Shortly thereafter the Silver Wraith was acquired by its current owner, who after maintaining it in its original condition for several more years, commissioned its restoration by the late Mike Fennel of Saugas, California. It was refinished in the present beautiful dark sapphire blue, with a complementary red leather interior and blue cloth top, and presents beautifully throughout, including a well-detailed and restored engine compartment. Today recording 24,910 miles, the car retains its original engine, and is accompanied by a partial set of road tools and copies of its build information and ownership histories from both the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club and the Rolls-Royce Foundation.

Simply put, few Silver Wraiths were truly dramatic and beautiful, and this spectacular example of American coachwork is one of the foremost examples.

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