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Rolls-Royce and Bentley


Car of the Month - June 2004
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III, #LSGT147, 1964,
Standard Steel Sports Saloon

Twin headlamps and built-in sidelamps cum indicators were the most noticeable alteration as regards outward appearance when the third generation Silver Cloud was introduced in October 1962. Close inspection showed a chromed motif attached to the bottom right hand corner of the boot lid reading “Silver Cloud III”. Hence these are the first ever Rolls-Royce cars to carry model identification (very early cars didn’t sport that badge, it was fitted from December 1962 onward). That feature actually is missing on the car shown here.

But the re-design was more than skin deep with a more steeply raked bonnet said to enhance the driver’s view. Front wings were reshaped accordingly and the classic radiator grill was slightly lower. The interior also showed subtle differences to that of the predecessor. The Silver Cloud III offered separate front seats, an obvious difference to the bench type with individually adjustable backrests that hitherto had been standard. The fascia’s top was lightly padded and covered in black leather; ashtrays were let into each end of the capping rail. Should you ever come across Silver Cloud III and spot a speedometer that isn’t indicating in “clockwise direction” rest assured that isn’t result of improper restoration – for whatever reason late in 1964 Rolls-Royce decided on Nemag as their new supplier for speedometers, hence quite a few Silver Cloud III (not only long wheelbase cars as sometimes erroneously stated!) were fitted with speedometers on which the hand starts its way at the conventional 7 o’clock position and runs “anti-clockwise.


All Silver Cloud III shared a power–assisted steering that was lighter than on previous cars at low speeds. Indeed power assistance was provided when the steering wheel load exceeded ½lb (previously 1lb) – making parking much easier – and considerably more assistance was supplied when the rim load went over a threshold of 6lb (instead of 8-10lb). Certain modifications to the well-proven 6 ¼ litre V8-engine gave an increase in power of some 7%; a higher compression ratio of 9:1 and 2in HD8 SU-carburettors had a fair share in this result. Note that a compression ratio of 8:1 was introduced in late 1962/early 1963 due to the fact that high-octane fuel wasn’t available in all export markets. Such an engine actually is fitted to the car shown here.

Cognoscenti might have considered from a glance at the photos that this was a left-hand drive car built for export to the USA. Clear indications are the massive overriders, which are of the same styling as those on Silver Cloud II – such were only retained on Silver Cloud III destined for the USA (and on several chassis provided to coachbuilders to be fitted with bespoke coachwork). And the old-type registration holder (indeed based on a layout originally designed for export R-R Silver Dawn and Bentley MkVI from the early 50ies) is different from the ornate chromed base fitted to the bootlid of cars for the home-market as well as for other export territories.

The original OMC air conditioning unit (on cars for the USA installed in the boot) on this car had been substituted by a smaller-sized modern and environmental friendly one that neatly found its place out of sight under the fascia. Completely re-trimmed in black leather to a high standard this car provides fine service on long-distance tours – though on no-limit German Autobahn usually it is employed at a considerably higher speed than what was legal on the other side of the Atlantic.

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