1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II Saloon by James Young
$225,000 - $275,000
RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 24 - 25 AUGUST 2018 - Offered on Friday
- Offered from the renowned Robert M. Lee Collection
- A very rare coachbuilt body on the long-wheelbase Silver Cloud II chassis
- One of just two left-hand-drive examples built to this elegant design
- Extensive special features ordered by original owner Henry H. Plehn
- Original Rolls-Royce-installed York air conditioning system
In 1959 Rolls-Royce introduced the new Silver Cloud II, offering 30 percent more horsepower than the previous model thanks to a new V-8 engine, the marque’s first. Britain’s definitive motor car publication, The Motor, issued a laudable road test, describing the car as offering “effortless speed and extreme quietness.”
While most Silver Cloud IIs received the factory’s pleasant but bland “Standard Steel Saloon” body, a steady and tiny market remained for the enthralling custom coachbuilt bodies, personally hand-crafted to individual customer order. Among them was James Young’s design number SC12, a “six-light” example with rear quarter windows and a beautifully drawn rear deck. Despite its size, the car has an unusually graceful, long, and elegant silhouette, and was among the most attractive designs created for the long-wheelbase Silver Cloud II.
Only five examples of this design were made, eight of them on left-hand-drive chassis. One of the two is the example offered here, chassis no. LLCA4, built for Henry H. Plehn, president of Peter Pan Foundations, then America’s foremost manufacturer of brassieres. (He preferred the title “silhouette engineer.”) Mr. Plehn ordered the car with an extensive list of special features, including a division window, factory-fitted York air conditioning, AM radio, power windows and radio antenna, Windtone horns, Sundym glass, fitted stationary items in the rear seat armrest, adjustable reading lights, and, unusually, grey cloth upholstery, rather than the usual leather.
The completed car, finished in Black Pearl and Shell Gray, was shipped stateside via HMS Parthia from Liverpool, and delivered by J.S. Inskip to Mr. Plehn on 14 March 1960. The “silhouette engineer” retained it for four years before selling it back to Inskip, which resold it to Charles R. Butler of Mobile, Alabama. Mr. Butler maintained the Rolls in his collection until 1987, when it was sold to Troy Sampley of Dallas. It was refinished in its original colors and reupholstered in red leather, as it presents today. For the last two decades it has been part of the extraordinary private collection of Robert M. Lee, and is today offered with a fascinating file including build sheets and early ownership records.
Few Silver Cloud IIs would be as desirable as this handsomely proportioned saloon, with this impeccably preserved example representing a pleasurable acquisition for its proud new owner.
Values for Silver Cloud cars vary widely and depend on not only vintage and condition, but body type. The rare coachbuilt cars, like this impeccably maintained Rolls-Royce, are difficult to find, but oh-so-pleasurable to own.