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Rossfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley / From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the new Millennium




Car of the Month - June 2023
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II, #22357 Tourer by Morgan and
Rolls-R40523 Tourer by


In the fall of 1959, the English motor car maker replaced the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I and Bentley S1 models with the new Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2. No changes had been made to the outward appearance, however under the bonnet things looked very different. Propulsion was now provided by an entirely new developed V8 engine with 6¼ liters displacement. The V8 guaranteed an enormous boost in power, as its horsepower figure was significantly higher than that of the 4.9-liter inline six from the previous model. Because it was largely made of light metal, the feat of higher power output was achieved without any penalty of a significant weight disadvantage. The power source was combined with the well-proven automatic transmission (a Hydramatic built under license from General Motors). Drum brakes all around with a transmission-assisted brake-servo were also components which had shown to be reliable. Rolls-Royce opted on the conservative design of a combination of a sturdy ladder frame reinforced by a crossmember onto which was mounted separate coachwork- instead of a monocoque chassis.

The new models remained in the companies portfolio program til the final quarter of1962, with but one final delivery in 1963. The vast majority of the automobiles were delivered with the 'Sports Saloon' body in the form as offered ex-factory. In American parlance the designation was 'Sedan', in German-speaking countries the body would have been called 'Limousine'. A notable peculiarity was that single colour automobiles showed that pleasing 'images of light and shadow on the body sides' favoured by designer J.P. Blatchley. Meanwhile, the same compliment was justified if anycustomers preferred their automobiles with 2-tone paintwork. Blatchley had created a design icon that even in today's traffic set these automobiles apart with their impressive presence. 

This an also explanation,why merely a small number of cars from this model series were ordered as chassis with engine to receive individual bodies with special lines from one of the remaining coachbuilders.

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The interior trim and features were almost identical to those of the predecessor, for which the designer John Polwhele Blatchley, as head of the styling department, had focused on dignified luxury and restrained elegance in the style of the company. Towards the end of the 1950s, other manufacturers had already made the switch to monocoque chassis. The conservative layout of the Crewe manufacturer was a solid basis with the advantage to resist corrosion for a very long period.

With his new book "The Early Days of the V8" book, Davide Bassoli has created a meticulously researched work. That will certainly find recognition in wide circles as a "standard reference book". In addition, the 2-volume compendium impresses with a large number of detailed pictures. Published as a limited edition, the first copies will be available in June 2023.

Bassoli: Silver Cloud II Book

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