As World War II came to an end in 1945, Rolls-Royce seriously considered the worth of resuming motorcar production. The Aero division sustained the company through the war, and with no new automobile chassis built since 1940, the resurrection of the motoring division was seriously in doubt. Thankfully, a strong contingent within Rolls-Royce persuaded top management that motorcar manufacturing was essential to the marque’s survival. The firm decided to shift car production to the aero-engine factory in Crewe, which had a workforce in place and an extensive machine shop capable of producing all the necessary components for a new model. In order to be viable in the long term, the Rolls-Royce and Bentley lines were rationalized, sharing standard chassis, engines, and major components. Also, for the first time in history, buyers had the option to purchase a car complete with factory-built coachwork directly from a dealer. The success of the post-war Bentley Mk VI and later R-Type/Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn proved this was the right move, and soon the company was enjoying renaissance period.
In 1955, the long-awaited replacement for the aging R-Type arrived with the ground-breaking new Silver Cloud/S-Series. As with the preceding models, Rolls-Royce offered the new Silver Cloud as a running chassis for coachbuilders or as a complete Standard Steel Saloon. J.P. Blatchley from Rolls-Royce’s styling department penned the beautiful factory coachwork. The shape was fresh and modern, with an understated presence befitting a Rolls-Royce. From the onset, engineers designed the Silver Cloud for a new V8 engine; however, development delays led to the fitment of a 4.9-liter version of the R-Type Continental’s inline-six. The six was well suited to the car, but in the all-important American market, a V8 engine was critical. In 1959, the Silver Cloud II arrived, looking outwardly identical to the earlier car, but now with the all-new aluminum alloy, 6.2-liter V8 engine under the bonnet.
The final evolution of the Silver Cloud arrived in 1963 with the SC III. The front end now housed a quad headlight arrangement, lower grille, and sloping bonnet. Engineers were able to reduce the overall weight by more than 220 pounds. The weight savings, combined with increased power thanks to new carburetors and higher compression, gave the Cloud III the snappiest performance of the range, and sales were up slightly over the Cloud II. Exclusive models still played an important role, and chassis were made available for independent coachbuilders. Also, Rolls-Royce continued to offer the flagship long-wheelbase version, which added four inches to the length of the chassis. While outwardly similar, the LWB offered superior comfort for rear-seat passengers and an optional division window for chauffeur driven cars.
This 1964 Silver Cloud III is one of just 254 long-wheelbase examples produced between 1963 and 1965. The Cloud III LWB is one of the most desirable standard production models of the Silver Cloud range, combining the mechanical refinements of the third series, with the exclusive and luxurious long-wheelbase chassis. According to factory records, this original US-specification car first sold through J.S. Inskip Rolls-Royce of New York. Records show the original owner was Mrs. Vida L. Hudson (née Whitmore), an American stage actress, businesswoman, and philanthropist. Mrs. Hudson was in her eighties when she bought the Silver Cloud, so it is quite likely the car was chauffeur-driven for much of its early life. The chassis card lists the original color scheme as Shell Gray over a Scarlet Connolly leather interior with equipment including a radio, electric aerial, electric windows, and Dunlop whitewall tires. The most recent owner acquired this car twenty years ago in Savannah, Georgia, from a fellow Rolls enthusiast and active RROC member.
Today, LCDL9 wears an attractive blue and silver livery, with an honest and usable character coming with regular maintenance and care. The body presents in good order, with consistent, even panel gaps and properly aligned doors. The paintwork is in good condition, finished to driver-quality standards. It is glossy and well-presented overall, with some minor imperfections found upon inspection. Brightwork is also quite good, including the stainless steel radiator grille, excellent chrome bumpers, and proper stainless steel wheel covers with body-color accents and striping.
The original Scarlet Connolly leather is a bold contrast to the exterior color scheme. The seats show some moderate cracking, and some seams have opened, yet the interior has an honest and inviting character. Remaining leather on the door panels, dash top, and kick panels are in excellent condition. Carpets are in good order, with some wear noted around the rear footrests. The dash panel, instruments, switchgear, and controls all present well and are consistent with this being a well-kept original car. Similarly, the woodwork is sound and attractive, with a light patina to the lacquer finish.
Mechanically, this car feels quite strong, with excellent on-road performance characteristics. The previous owner recently spent several thousand dollars at a trusted specialist, ensuring the car’s performance is on par. Welcome additions include a high-torque starter motor and a modern rotary-style air conditioning compressor. Few driving experiences compare to that of a piloting a Silver Cloud, and this example, with its honest presentation, is in the ideal condition for regular enjoyment on your favorite country lanes or in casual club meetings.
Offers welcome and trades considered