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Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud: Buying guide and review (1955-1966)

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud: Buying guide and review (1955-1966) Classic and Performance Car
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
Apart from perhaps a Mercedes 600, you’ll struggle to find a car that’s as imposing as a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud or Bentley S-series. Huge, luxurious, refined and elegant, these magnificent classics hail from a time when Britain produced the best cars in the world, and even now they’re among the most comfortable and cosseting luxury cruisers available.
The Silver Cloud and S-series were the last cars with a separate chassis to come from Rolls-Royce and Bentley; they were replaced by the unitary-construction Silver Shadow in 1965. With no expense spared in their construction, these cars are ideal classics in that they’re mechanically straightforward, capable of despatching massive distances with ease and they’re appreciating in value too.
There are numerous downsides though, not least of all the high cost of acquiring a good one and the high cost of running one properly too. The generous proportions also mean garage space can be an issue (the saloons are 18 feet long). But there are some superb examples out there thanks to lots of wealthy people having owned and run them in the past.
Which one to buy?
Rolls-Royces are more numerous than Bentleys and although all three generations of Silver Cloud and S-series look much the same, there are significant differences under the skin. While the final incarnation (Silver Cloud III or S3) is the most highly developed of the bunch, and therefore generally the most sought after so the most valuable, don’t dismiss a six-cylinder car too readily. There’s still plenty of torque for effortless cruising and refinement levels are also superb, so you’ll never feel short-changed by not having a V8 under the bonnet.
Continental Flying Spurs, coupés and cabriolets are all far more valuable than the standard saloons (typically at least three or four times as much) and as a result they’re likely to have more investment potential (see prices). They’re also even more elegant but invariably less practical thanks to their lower roof lines which impacts on rear seat space.
To a point originality is essential, but there are various upgrades that can increase desirability as well as worth. These include fuel injection, a modern electronically controlled automatic gearbox, servo-assisted disc front brakes and a high-torque starter motor. Fitting all of these things will transform an already good car into a great one.
Performance and specs
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III
Engine 6230cc V8
Power N/A 
Torque N/A
Top speed 116mph
0-60mph 10.8sec
Fuel consumption 14mpg
Gearbox Four-speed automatic
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 3124mm
Length 5372mm
Width 1880mm
Height 1626mm
Weight 1981kg
Common problems
• With a steel structure and bodywork (most external body panels, including the doors, bonnet and bootlid are aluminium), the standard saloons can rust very badly. It doesn’t help that values were on the floor for years, so there’s no shortage of neglected cars out there. Reviving a project car will be massively costly and you won’t get your money back, so don’t buy a heap too readily.

• Check in all of the obvious places, which means around the headlights, the base of the A-, B- and C-posts, the floorpans, front and rear valances plus the inner and outer wheelarches. The inner and outer sills also need close inspection along with the boot floor and all of the mountings for the bodyshell onto the chassis.

• The steel chassis is very tough and rarely needs major surgery. The area most likely to cause problems is the horseshoe section over the rear axle, but repair sections are available for this.

• Whichever engine is fitted check that the correct anti-freeze has been used and that there’s enough of it in the system; too dilute and the alloy cylinder head(s) will corrode. Also check for oil and water leaks as fixing these can be much more costly than you might expect.

• The six-cylinder engine should be all but silent in operation. If it sounds a bit clattery the valve clearances probably need some adjustment. This should be done annually but because the valves are in the block rather than the head it’s a fiddly job that’s often put off.

• The GM-sourced Hydramatic automatic transmission isn’t the smoothest unit around but if it’s really jerky there’s something wrong – although rebuilds aren’t especially costly as this is a widely-used gearbox.

• The S1 has a foot-operated suspension lubrication system which tends to block up with age. Later cars got a simplified set-up, which requires annual lubrication.

• Power steering is a desirable extra on the S1; it was standard on later cars. Where fitted make sure there are no leaks from the system.

• Some owners insist on keeping their cars shod with cross-ply tyres for originality. Don’t be put off buying such a car but the first thing you should do is fit radials – they improve driveability massively, as you’d expect.

• Don’t under-estimate the cost of reviving a tatty interior as there are so many high-quality and expensive materials in there. Retrimming the seats is straightforward enough, if costly. But the wood all matches so it can’t be replaced piecemeal – and there are a lot of timber sections to take into account.
Model history
1955: Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Bentley S1 introduced. The latter comes in standard steel form only until August, when the two-door Continental arrives.
1956: Air-con and power steering become optional extras.
1957: A long-wheelbase saloon is introduced, the work done by Park Ward. From this point on the Continental-spec engine becomes standard range-wide.
1959: The Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appear with a 6.2-litre V8, power steering and a new ventilation system.
1962: The Silver Cloud III and Bentley S3 go on sale with quad headlamps in reshaped wings, an uprated engine and a revised cabin that now features two front seats rather than a bench.
1965: The last standard steel saloons are built.
1966: The final Continentals are made.
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.bdcl.org
• bentleyownersclub.co.uk
• bentleyenthusiastsclub.com
• www.rrec.org.uk
• www.rroc.org
Summary and prices
Value largely depends on condition, but there are also slight differences depending on which year and spec model you go for. Project cars can be picked up from around the £10,000 mark, although this would certainly make for a brave purchase. Usable cars start from around £18,000, ranging to £35,000 for nicer examples. It’s only with the very top end models that you start so see some variation on price. Early six-cylinder Silver Clouds top out at around £55,000, while the V8-powered Silver Cloud II is generally slightly cheaper at £50,000. As the Silver Cloud II is the best of the bunch, the best examples can push £60,000.
Words: Richard Dredge
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Last updated: 5th Jan 2016
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Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud cars for sale

8 Search results
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
72500 600000 GBP
  • 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II S.C.T 100

    £79,995 £79,995

    Chassis number LCC.45 is one of the very rare, desirable LWB James Young aluminum bodied Rolls Royce Silver Cloud’s. The chassis was delivered to James Young Coachbuilders on the 22nd August 1961 and the car was delivered by Jack Barclay Ltd to its first owner, Heritable & General Investment Bank Ltd, London on 9th March 1962, also of Berkeley Square, W1. The Rolls Royce was supplied in Tudor Grey with Beige leather, power assisted steering and division. This stunning SCT 100 Rolls Royce covered very little mileage in and around London in its first thirteen years, changing hands for the first time in July 1975. We have an MOT certificate from 1975 to confirm the mileage was just 22,285. The second owner in Surrey didn't keep the car long and in September 1975 Jack Barclay Ltd sold the Rolls Royce to its third owner in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA. We have records to confirm the Rolls Royce won a first in class at a Rolls Royce event in Dearborn, Michigan in 1977. By 1977 the Rolls Royce had covered 24000 miles. The Rolls Royce returned to the UK in 1988 having being kept in lovely, original condition as expected when participating in club events. We know that since been back in the UK,

    • Year: 1962
    • Mileage: 24000 mi
    For sale
    Classic and Sportscar Centre
  • 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III


    Launched in 1962, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III and its Bentley S3 equivalent employed the 6.2 litre aluminium-alloy V8 engine first introduced in the Silver Cloud II although with larger carburettors, new distributor and raised compression ratio. It also came with a four-speed GM derived automatic gearbox as standard equipment. Most obvious among many changes from the preceding models were the adoption of four headlamp lighting, the absence of sidelights from the wing tops and a slightly lower radiator shell. Inside, there was improved accommodation with separate front seats and increased room for rear passengers. Notable as the last mainstream Rolls-Royce to employ a separate chassis, the Silver Cloud III remained in production until superseded by the unitary-construction Silver Shadow in late 1965. The Cloud represented a supremely elegant design and is often regarded as the last true Rolls-Royce. This example has been imported from the USA to Europe and has had all appropriate taxes and duty paid; the documents for which can be found within the history file. The car itself has been restored, in particular the body, using white pearl paint, and braking system which required a

    • Year: 2017
    For sale

    $600,000(£466,800) $600,000(£466,800)

    --Shell Grey with Black leather interior, Black carpeting and Black convertible top, Restored, 6.2 liter V-8 engine, 4-speed automatic transmission. Launched in 1962, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III enjoyed the power of its 6.2-litre aluminum-alloy V8 engine and came with a four-speed GM automatic transmission as standard equipment. Most obvious among many changes from the preceding Cloud II models were the adoption of four-headlamp lighting, the absence of sidelights from the wing tops, and a slightly lower radiator shell. Inside there was improved accommodation with separate front seats and increased room for rear passengers. Please note, the Cloud III was the last production Rolls-Royce to employ a separate coachbuilt chassis. The factory did not offer a convertible or drophead coupé, a coachbuilt car was the only option if one’s preference was Rolls-Royce fresh air motoring for those discerning enthusiasts wealthy enough to afford them. The finish, both in detail, equipment and trim, is superb. This Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III Adaption is one of just 25 left hand drive examples and was one of the very few purpose coachbuilt convertibles originally built on the Silver Cloud II

    • Year: 1963
    • Mileage: 2017 mi
    For sale


    1957 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Mulliner Drophead Coupe ID # LSDD146, Eng # SD 73, Design # 7410 1 of only 12 LHD Built!!! The Silver Cloud I was built between 1955 and 1959. A total of 2359 were built. Of these great cars, H.J. Mulliner bodied a small batch of 22 cars to a special design (7410). These cars were all convertibles and constructed in aluminum. The Silver Cloud I was the last Rolls-Royce to have a 6 cylinder engine. These silent running motor were a 4.9 liter unit that were know to last up to 200,000 miles before an overhaul. This particular car is the number three car made and the second one built in 1957. A writer said about the SCI "The finest car in the world" A recent restoration has put this wonderful H.J. Mulliner body design back to its former glory.

    • Year: 1957
    • Mileage: 200000 mi
    For sale
  • 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Saloon

    $72,500(£56,405) $72,500(£56,405)

    The Silver Cloud series was a dramatically different and very important car for Rolls-Royce. The market for bespoke, coachbuilt cars was beginning to dry up, so Rolls-Royce needed a car that could be mass produced – at least in a Rolls-Royce sense of “mass” production. Of course, they did not want to neglect their high end clientele who still demanded exclusive coachbuilt cars. As a result, the Silver Cloud was developed on a full ladder frame, a characteristic that allowed the master coachbuilders to still practice their craft. But what set it and its mechanically identical sibling, the Bentley S1, apart was the fact that they were mainly sold with the Standard Steel Saloon body built by Pressed Steel, Inc. The standard car, penned by J.P. Blatchley, was a beautifully modern interpretation of the classic, swooping Silver Dawn that preceded it. The fully enveloped body was built in steel with aluminum alloy used for the hood, trunk and doors. Power was courtesy of a large, smooth running inline-six mated to an automatic transmission – a GM Hydramatic built under license. Three series of Silver Clouds were produced between 1955 and 1966. The biggest changes could be found on the Cloud II with the arrival of an all-alloy, 6.2 Liter V8 engine, and the Cloud III with its freshened up body featuring quad headlamps, a shorter grille and subtly sloping bonnet. The Cloud III now had standard electric windows, a slight bump in power and refinement for the V8, and a host of small but effective changes that make the Cloud III among the most desired of the standard saloons. The car proved wildly popular by Rolls-Royce standards, with 6,699 standard cars built, plus a handful of coachbuilt, long wheelbase and commercial hearses and even some shooting brake wagons. Of that total, 2,044 Silver Cloud III’s left the Crewe works, when it was ultimately replaced by the Silver Shadow. This 1965 Silver Cloud III is a lovely, well-maintained car in honest and original condition throughout. The odometer reads just 54,690 miles, which, when taking into consideration the integrity of this car, very likely indicates the true mileage. The body is finished in Mason's Black, a suitably elegant shade for a Cloud III, and the paint quality is quite good. It is pleasingly attractive and very presentable, though it is showing a few signs of regular use and a ding or two, but it is nothing that detracts from its good looks. The exterior chrome is all in fine order, appearing largely original and straight. The prominent stainless radiator shell is also in very good condition. The best part of the Silver Cloud experience is the sumptuous interior. This car’s red leather sets off the black exterior quite splendidly. The original leather is surprisingly good, showing a bit of wear but mostly in the form of a nice, pleasant patina of age that suits this type of car so well. Maroon carpeting appears to be new and is in very good order. The extensive wood trim appears totally original and is nicely presented with an honest, moderate patina and no signs of serious delamination. It is typically equipped with electric windows, power steering, power brakes, factory air conditioning and an AM/FM stereo. The Cloud III is the most desirable of the Silver Cloud series. The big V8 of the Cloud III breaths through large 2” S.U. carburetors and the GM-derived transmission is smooth and durable. Although the Cloud/S-series were built in larger numbers than any Rolls-Royce/Bentley model before, they still retained the exceptional level of quality, refinement and longevity that is a cornerstone of the Rolls Royce legacy.

    For sale
  • Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud 2 Drophead H.J. Mulliner & Radford


    1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II Drophead Coupe Adaptation by H.J.Mulliner - Countryman by Harold Radford   Of the 107 Drophead Coupe Adaptations built to style number 7504, chassis number SXC465 is the only one known to have been built with London coachbuilder Harold Radford’s special Countryman Touring accoutrements, more often fitted to four door cars and the occasional custom-built shooting brake. Amongst the most elegant post-war bodies created for Rolls-Royce was the Silver Cloud II Drophead Coupe by H.J. Mulliner, design number 7504. The car was known as an “Adaptation,” and it was created using a factory standard steel saloon body that had been modified into a convertible by removing the steel top, fitting two doors in place of the usual four, and adding a modified chromed waistline molding. So extensive were Mulliner’s modifications that the resulting car was, in its every detail, essentially fully coachbuilt. Radford’s Countryman package was intended to make our Rolls-Royce suitable for extended journeys “into the rough” by providing all of the comforts of home for its well-to-do passengers; The trip might begin at home by filling the capacious boot, with a specially built, expanded lid, with supplies for the journey. What can not fit into the boot may be stowed in four pieces of bespoke Antler luggage, stored atop the fold-flat rear seat behind the driver and passenger. Special cubbyholes hidden throughout the interior house magazine racks, cosmetics for the lady, and a notebook. Upon arrival at his destination, occupants might unpack from the boot and unfold a small table, suitable for cards or dining for two, seated on a pair of “toadstool seats,” small stools attachable to the rear bumper overriders. The result was a completely comfortable spot for a gentleman and friend to enjoy the spoils picked up at Harrods’, Fortnum & Mason, or ones preferred provisioner, before leaving London. In equal measure; a fine automobile, as well as an essential lifestyle accessory for the sporting outdoors-person in addition to representing a sound investment for the future. Interested parties are urged to give the very highest priority to viewing. Please telephone for an appointment.  

    For sale
  • Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud 2 Drophead H.J. Mulliner


    Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud IIDrophead HJ Mulliner Adaptation  The launch of the Silver Cloud II saw Rolls-Royce take a very significant step forward in the performance stakes. This newly developed V8 engine, constructed mainly in aluminium and featuring hydraulic tappets to ensure quiet running, produced nearly 25% more power than the motor it replaced. In the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II was a motor car capable of long distance touring at far higher cruising speeds than had ever been available before. The vast majority of cars produced between late 1959 and early 1962 were the factory design, universally referred to as the Standard Steel Saloon. A very limited number of cars however were modified at the Chiswick works of HJ Mulliner to Design Number 7504. Retaining the basic line of the coachwork in the form of an exceedingly elegant drophead coupe. Correctly termed “Adaptation By HJ Mulliner” these highly exclusive cars are not to be confused with examples that have more recently been converted. The car presented here is one of only 75 original Left Hand Drive Adaptations by HJ Mulliner to leave the Chiswick works. Imported into the United States by Rolls-Royce Inc. and sold via the officially appointed distributor JS Inskip, inc. 304 East 64th Street, New York 21, New York. Rarely available and highly desirable this model has become one of the most sought after post war Rolls-Royce automobiles. Our car has been the subject of meticulous renovation and refurbishment and stands today as one of the finest we have ever had the privilege of offering for sale.

    For sale
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