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Car of the Month - May 2000
Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, 1954, #BLW92,
Hooper State Landaulette

Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

The State of Singapore received independence as part of the Federation of Malaya in 1959; since having left the Federation in 1965 the state exists as a sovereign entity. Previously it had been a colony of the British Empire, listed as Straits Settlements until 1946. The Governor of Singapore had use of a Rolls-Royce Phantom III which was replaced in 1954 by a one-off Hooper State Landaulette on the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Chassis.

Hooper & Co. in London had been commissioned in 1953 to build the body on Chassis No #BLW92 (from the Silver Wraith models series with 4,566ccm engines); Hooper's body number was 10008. This one was erected to design no. 8403 and featured a standard holder above the windscreen, an internal telephone, a radio-telephone, etc.. Alas, Hooper's „Coachbuilder's File" on this job is missing, hence it can't be verified that the seats were trimmed in „Rexine" plastic because that was considered to be termite-proof (sic!). The same reason resulted in massive teakwood (oiled, not lacquered!) ordered for dashboard, separation, door cappings et al.

The chassis was returned from Hooper & Co. for strengthening at the Rolls-Royce's factory at Crewe with rear springs substituted by stronger ones too. The weight of the completed car exceeded 46cwt. On 7th August 1954 the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith was shipped to Singapore and the following years saw it employed on a variety of official duties.

Later the car returned to Europe and came into the custody of the late Andrew M. Pastouna. He had the car restored to an almost unbelievable fine standard. The interior was retrimmed with cloth specially woven to his order by Winterbothom, Strachan & Payne. The hammered leather for the roof's collapsible rear partition was ordered from Connolly Bros. because that company had delivered the original material too, though several decades ago. The restoration having been finished Andrew M. Pastouna used the Rolls-Royce for long distance tours over the Continent. 

From time to time the magnificent car was loaned for official ceremonies, e.g. when in 1987 H.R.H. Princess Alexandra was present at a Reception held by the British Community at SHAPE to celebrate the official Birthday of H.M. The Queen.

Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

Because the Pastouna family and ours do enjoy most friendly relations on several tours our old Bentley and Andrew Pastouna's Rolls-Royce travelled together. At least once the car suffered an experience that had never happened to the Singapore State Landaulette: High up in the Alps we were trapped in a snowstorm. The Rolls-Royce was as unimpressed by that attack as indeed it had been by the termites....

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