A Passion for Elegance | Lot 122
1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Sports Saloon by James Young
CHF241,250 | Sold
| Eschen, Liechtenstein
19 June 2021
- The 1956 Paris Motor Show car
- Beautiful design; lightweight aluminum construction
- One of only three left-hand-drive examples
- Finished in its original livery
- Accompanied by copies of its build and early ownership documentation
Chassis number LSYB114 was one of 25 Silver Cloud Is delivered by James Young with their lightweight aluminum Sports Saloon coachwork. Combined with an automatic gearbox and factory power steering, this produced a superlative driver’s automobile. Undoubtedly the most important of three left-hand-drive examples, this particular machine was completed in the space of only four months to be exhibited at the 1956 Paris Motor Show. Having been flown across the Channel to Le Touquet and then driven to the exhibition site, the Black over Tudor Grey model stunned the crowd with its handsome design, boasting the most subtle hint of American influence in the vestigial fins of its rear fenders.
With the car outfitted with metric instrumentation and to French specification, the intention had been to attract continental European customers—and that it did. Not long after the show had closed, chassis number LSYB114 was purchased from Paris’s Franco-Brittanic Automobiles (FBA) by Andre Rueff of 39 Boulevard Montmorency, a Swiss banker and prominent figure in thoroughbred horseracing. This was likely no coincidence, as some of the build documents for the car already indicate “Mr. Rueff” in addition to the Paris Motor Show; FBA hoped to sell him the car and went to great lengths, including purposely fitting rear seat ashtrays placed in his preferred location within the door cappings.
It is interesting to note that this car’s frame displays two separate stampings: LSYB114, its proper chassis number, as well as another partially legible number found in close proximity. Research suggests that, due it its nature as a show car, Rolls-Royce likely used the first available chassis for its construction—no matter whether that chassis was originally intended to become a Silver Cloud or an example of the related Bentley S1—a circumstance that could possibly explain the extraneous stamping. In any case, this Silver Cloud I’s identity and history as LSYB114 is well-documented.
Paperwork included in the file notes that the right-hand front wing was replaced in 1967. By 1974 the Rolls-Royce had moved to Switzerland, and it was owned there by one Hans-Rudolph Koch. According to the owner, beginning in the early 1980s it won many awards in European competition. Its restoration, in the original livery, has been well-maintained while still being enjoyed on the road, and today the car is still extremely attractive. It is accompanied by a history file, including copies of its detailed build documentation from James Young and Rolls-Royce, and assorted invoices from Mr. Koch’s ownership.
This historic show car must surely be among the most desirable closed Silver Cloud Is in the world.