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by Adam Lynton
One of only two such Rolls-Royce models built, this rare two-seater drophead coupe is a thing of beauty.
Only one percent of all Silver Clouds carry truly bespoke coachwork, and this particular model, produced by Freestone & Webb, is considered to be one of the rarest and most important post-war Rolls-Royce models in existence. The radically-designed drophead coupe style features on only two other cars in the world. Whilst most 1950's Rolls-Royces wore graceful rounded side panels, the body sides of this car has concave coves stretching from stern to stern, while rear wings feature aggressive vertical tail fins.
Designed for just two passengers, the pair of bucket seats has fold-down armrests and adjustable seat backs. Coupled with a spacious luggage compartment fitted with scarlet wool carpet and leather binding, the car was given the 'Honeymoon Express' moniker by design journalists who first saw the style debut at the Earl's Court Show in 1958. Power comes from a 178hp 4.9-liter six-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission but it's the scarlet red Connolly leather interior with all it luxury appointments that grabs the attention.
Every convenience lurks inside the two-tone Lugano blue with Silver Chalice chassis. Each door features a round pull-out ashtray; a pair of cocktail cabinets, each containing a cocktail shaker and four crystal whiskey tumblers, flanks the rear storage area; and a tilt-up vanity mirror is fitted to the left-side cubby door box. Power windows and power-assisted steering was rare for the time as was a fitted car radio: the car retains its original Radiomobile with power antenna. Unique outside temperature thermometer and altimeter gauges are also fitted, while a tachometer is paired with the speedometer, another rare feature for the Silver Cloud.
The most fascinating feature on the car is the hydraulic top, which raises effortlessly thanks to metal flaps on either side that pop open with the rear cover. The navy blue canvas power top also disappears below the belt line when lowered, being completely hidden under the electrically operated metal cover resulting in completely unobstructed rear vision. At the time, this Rolls-Royce would have been unlike anything the average motorist would have ever seen before. Bespoke motorcars such as this are valued like fine art
. Given the fact it is one of only two such Rolls-Royces ever built, one can assume the estimate price for the car to have plenty of zeros at the end.