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Car of the Month Selection

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Rolls-Royce and Bentley

Car of the Month - April 2005
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I, 1957, #SFE395
Standard Steel Sports Saloon

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud is an "All Time Great". The design team at Crewe headed by John Polwhele Blatchley did create what many consider to be a design icon. The year 2005 will see events in all parts of the world celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the launch of the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and its sister model Bentley S.

Very few however do know that the 1955 introduction of the Silver Cloud could well have been ruined. On 16th July 1953 a fire at the Crewe factory devastated the Experimental Departments wood mill. The fire was so fierce that in addition to the works fire brigade a call to the County Fire Service brought tenders in from Crewe, Nantwich, Winsford, Middlewich, Sandbach and Audlem. Immediate action by the staff rescued every prototype car, every finished car and every finished chassis from the adjoining shops. The Wood Mill was in the same block as the Experimental Section, where work was carried out on prototype Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars of the future. At that time these were, of course, the future Silver Cloud and S-series. If these had fallen victim to the fire, surely a tremendous delay had resulted with most presumably no 1955 but a later launch of the successors to Silver Dawn and R-Type.

Fire at Crewe

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I was an immediate success and #SFE395 shown here is a fine example from that model series. Originally the car was delivered to Kenneth de Courcy in Gloucestershire in December 1957. By that time power assisted steering was standard – but none was fitted to #SFE395 complying with an order of the client. The car was returned to the factory after a pretty short time for electric windows to be fitted – and the complete door-trim was substituted, too, because the position of the switches of the electric windows was entirely different from that of the handles of the manually operated window mechanism. The car was later re-registered to an owner in Renfrew (near Glasgow), Scotland. Nothing else is known about the car's fate except that in April 1989 it came to Germany, was locked away and rested untouched until 2004.

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I

Last year a multitude of minor tasks, of course, had to be dealt with before the car was ready for the road again. We are all familiar with the multitude of time-consuming tiny tasks to convert a neglected motor car into a proper Rolls-Royce. However the work was finished precisely in time to join a few of the celebrations on this model series' 50th Anniversary.

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I

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