1949→1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

Built alongside the 4¼-Litre Bentley was the Wraith chassis of similar specification and performance. Almost all the Silver Wraith chassis were made with custom coachwork from companies such as Hooper & Co. who made a stylish limousine.

Unlike it’s Bentley counterpart, the Silver Wraith had an extended lifetime in the Rolls-Royce and was produced from 1949 up until 1958. Thoughout this period, the engine was enlarged to 4,566 cc in 1951 and 4,887 cc in 1954.

In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
production years 1949 – 1958
built at England
engine Inline-6
position Front, Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
displacement 4887 cc / 298.22 in³
f suspension Wishbones w/Coil Springs
r suspension Live Axle w/Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs
transmission 4-Speed Manual

Auction Sales History

1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Drophead Coupe by Park Ward LELW94 – sold for $297,000 One of only five built to this exceptionally rare, beautiful design. An original left-hand-drive example; first sold in Quebec. Restored in the 1980s retaining it’s original leather seats. Less than 50,000 actual miles.
Auction Source: RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015

1948 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith H.J. Mulliner Sedanca de Ville WZB28 – sold for $110,000 One of the finest surviving formal Silver Wraiths. Past Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club Best in Show winner. Documented history and restoration. Accompanied by its original suitcase, tool kit, and manuals.
Auction Source: 2014 Monterey by RM Auctions

1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith LWB Vignale Saloon LCLW14 – sold for $198,000 One-off, unique coachwork. The only Vignale-bodied Rolls-Royce ever built. Many special features including a rear TV and toilet. Sure to draw attention wherever it goes. A rare combination of English luxury and Italian style.
Auction Source: 2014 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams

1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Franay Cabriolet – sold for $210,000 Unique coachwork by Franay, of Paris. Shown at the 1947 Paris Salon and the 1948 Deauville Concours. Fascinating known Egyptian and Saudi Arabian history. One of the most beautiful Silver Wraiths ever built.
Auction Source: Amelia Island 2014 by RM Auctions

1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Limousine LHLW18 – sold for $209,000 One of Just Five Known to Exist. An Award-Winning Restoration by Vantage Motorworks. Original US-Delivery Left-Hand-Drive Example. Late-Production Silver Wraith with All Mechanical Updates. Handsome Period-Correct Colors and Upholstery. Best in Class at the 2003 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Auction Source: Gooding & Company’s 10th Anniversary 2013 Pebble Beach Auction

1955 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Hooper Touring Limousine DLW89 – sold for $82,500 This Silver Wraith touring limousine was delivered by Hooper to a Mr. F.C. Fisher in May of 1955. It was purchased by the current owner in 1975 and has been carefully ma9intained, serviced and exercised on a regular basis in his collection ever since. The Silver Wraith was the last Rolls-Royce to be seen with a wide variety of coachwork. The Silver Dawn ushered in an era of factory bodies and a limited range of customs built by coachworks that had become Rolls-Royce subsidiaries. This is an excellent example from the sunset of genuine coachbuilding.
Auction Source: 2011 Monterey Auction by RM

1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Franay Drophead Coupe WVA63 – sold for $165,000 Carrosserie Franay built only six drophead coupe bodies on the Silver Wraith chassis, and this is the first one. All six were different, so this car is certainly very unique. Franay ceased building coachwork in the 1950s, and this is a sophisticated example of its craftsmanship.
Auction Source: 2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions

1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Empress Limousine by Hooper – sold for $93,500 The Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith presented here, chassis number ELW-60, is an Empress Limousine with design number 8390 and is one of only 13 coachbuilt examples built by the Hooper Company on the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith chassis.

This stately example was originally commissioned by a Mr. Gwinn, Chairman of the Libby Ball Bearings company. After only a year in England, it made its way to the United States and into a collection in Chicago before being purchased by a collector in Florida. The Wraith remained unused in Florida for approximately 25 years before it was acquired by the previous owner and finally by the O’Quinn Collection in 2006.

The coachwork on this particular Hooper limousine is hand formed aluminum over a wooden skeleton. It has a uniquely sporting appearance and is a stylistic departure from the normal bodies of the period, as it was fashionable at the time to build rather tall and sometimes cumbersome looking limousines. The curved beltline originating at the iconic Rolls-Royce radiator stretches elegantly down to the bottom of the rear trunk. The black fenders, trunk and upper body’s striking contrast with the bright yellow lower body further accentuates the Rolls-Royce’s lines.

The Empress Limousine’s brilliant exterior lines are in step with its opulent interior, finished in silver-grey leather in the chauffeur’s compartment and matching silver-grey cloth in the rear passenger compartment. The interior is adorned with an abundance of hand-polished and ornate woodwork. The rear passenger’s compartment features a center console with an elaborate vanity unit with a telescopic mirror and independent climate controls.

The previous owner purchased the Empress Limousine in the early 1990s and immediately embarked on an extensive mechanical and cosmetic restoration, which took nearly 10 years to complete. The mechanical restoration included a complete rebuild of the engine, a new radiator and the replacement of many suspension components. The interior heating and air conditioning units were returned to proper working order. Cosmetically, the car received all new paint and fully refinished brightwork throughout. Following completion, it was rewarded with several wins at a number of prestigious shows and events throughout America. The car continues to present very well, both inside and out. No imperfections are readily apparent in the paint, brightwork, upholstery or wood.

If one considers that nearly 2,000 Silver Wraiths were built in all, this particular Empress – one of only 13 Hooper examples – is a tremendously rare automobile. In excellent overall condition, it is the epitome of English elegance and the bespoke luxury of the Hooper coachworks.

 

Auction Source: 2010 RM Automobiles of Amelia Island Auction

 

 

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