1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Drophead Coupe, by H.J Mulliner. Restored by Rolls-Royce specialists Vantage Motorworks and finished in Alice Blue with Blue Connolly leather. Original Engine, Gearbox, Smiths Radiomobile Radio, Owner's Handbook, Service Manuals, and factory Continental Touring Kit.
Taking its ever-reliable inline-6 from the earlier Silver Dawn and R-Type and sharing it with its sister-car, the Bentley “S” model, the 1955 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud was an eagerly awaited final chapter to the F-head engine’s series. The elegantly proportioned steel saloon also came with a far more attractive price over any coachbuilt offerings of its time and understandably outsold them 100 to 1.
The North American market was provided the same 8:1 compression ratio found in the later British and European Silver Cloud models to provide a smooth power delivery with plenty of torque. Paired with the General Motors Hydra-matic automatic transmission and a sturdy servo-boost braking system, it is considered by many as the ideal configuration for early post-war models.
Of the 2,238 Silver Clouds built between 1955 and 1959, very few had custom coachwork such as this one. The popularity of the new pressed steel bodies meant that those who did wish to customize their Silver Clouds would need to special-order a rolling chassis. This chassis would then be carted off to one of the few remaining coachbuilders before Rolls-Royce gave the vehicle a final inspection prior to delivery. The coachbuilders in this instance were none other than H. J. Mulliner - a name synonymous with both Rolls-Royce and Bentley, and still, to this day, famed for their legendary craftsmanship.
Among the several design variants for the Silver Cloud chassis, H. J. Mulliner’s most popular offering was Design 7504 - a factory-modified standard steel saloon, re-fabricated into a two-door drophead coupe configuration. Just 13 examples of Design 7504 were built and, due to its popularity in the American market, 10 of these were built with left-hand drive.
This example was the 4th of those. A special order for its first owner, George Baekeland of Southport, Connecticut, whose father, Leo Baekeland, was the inventor of the first synthesized plastic, “Bakelite,” often used in Rolls-Royce components. George had an eye for detail, filling an entire page with special requests including “cold weather shields over the door locks.” Ted Mintz, also from Connecticut, and former President of the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, would add the car to his collection in 1976. With it, he would regularly attend RROC events throughout the 1970s and ’80s, winning numerous awards before the car later became part of the renowned Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California.
Correctly repainted in 2019 over Mulliner’s bare metal, the Alice Blue oozes class and is highlighted by brightly replated chrome fixtures. Between the doors lies a supple Blue Connolly leather interior, expertly re-trimmed by Rolls-Royce specialists, Vantage Motorworks. Accompanying the leather interior, original burled walnut woodwork in the correct, not overdone, patina finish and an after-market, albeit period-correct R12 Chrysler, boot-mounted, AirTemp air-conditioning system.
Further authenticity comes by way of new and correct leather spring gaiters, exhaust system, an auxiliary electric radiator fan, electronic ignition, and new Firestone Deluxe Champion whitewall tires. Not to overlook any details, included is a rare Yale master key, master key blank, and two Yale valet key blanks along with an incredibly rare find, the “Continental Touring Kit.”
Chassis LSMH21 proudly retains its original engine and gearbox, of course, along with its original Smiths Radiomobile radio, original hand and road tools and owner’s handbook. Also included are the original maintenance manuals, instruction booklets, and copies of the original order documents from the Rolls-Royce Foundation.