The Silver Wraith was the first postwar Rolls-Royce model and was made at the Crewe factory from 1946 to 1959. The engine was based on the prewar Rolls-Royce Wraith but was increased to 4.3 liters and later 4.6 liters. This was the last Rolls-Royce model to be delivered as a chassis only so it received a wide variety of bespoke coachwork.
This particular Silver Wraith with chassis number WTA45, was ordered by Sir John Gaul of London and was initially sent to Freestone & Webb for its coachwork. Sir John had owned the Freestone & Webb-bodied Phantom III called 'Copper Kettle' and he initially wanted a similar body for his new car. But then he changed his mind and the Silver Wraith was sent to Saoutchik in Paris. The car was awarded Best of Show at the Monte Carlo Concours in 1948. After some styling changes it has been restored to its 1948 specification.
The ownership history is complete. In 2008, it was acquired in a disassembled and unhappy condition from a California family, who had attempted the restoration over a 25-year period. The restoration was completed by Vantage Motors of Miami in time for the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where this car captured a class trophy in its show debut.
The Silver Wraith was sold new by the famous New York City dealer J.S. Inskip to a gentleman from New Haven, Conn. It carries a body by the noted British firm H.J. Mulliner, which features spectacular woodwork, including fighting cocks in the veneer. There are two inward-facing seats and two picnic tables, one with a bar.
The Silver Wraith is powered by a six-cylinder, 4.5-liter motor. The current owner has enjoyed this motorcar for 33 years and has received numerous awards, including 1st place in the touring division of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club.
Sold for $561,000 at 2017 RM Sothebys. This car (chassis number WZB36) was displayed at the New York Auto Show in 1949. The Silver Wraith was the first postwar Rolls-Royce model, and it was made at the Crewe factory from 1946 to 1959. This was the last Rolls-Royce model to receive a wide variety of bespoke coachwork, designed and made by a rapidly declining number of specialist coachbuilders. One of only two Rolls-Royce Silver Wraiths built by J.S. Inskip, this car was delivered in January of 1951. Inskip was the New York distributor for Rolls-Royce. Most of the Rolls-Royces Inskip imported at that time had British or French coachwork, but Inskip did built a handful of Inskip-badged bodies on Phantom III and Silver Wraith chassis.
This Silver Wraith is one of two built. It was on display at the New York Auto Show in 1949 and later delivered to Lawrence S. Donaldson in January of 1951. It was owned for many years by well known collector, Andrew Darling.Source - Blackhawk Collection
Drophead Coupe Coachwork: Franay Chassis Num: WVA63 Engine Num: W 148 A
Sold for $165,000 at 2011 RM Sothebys. Sold for $220,000 at 2013 Barrett-Jackson. High bid of $210,000 at 2014 RM Sothebys. (did not sell) Sold for $231,000 at 2015 Barrett-Jackson. Sold for $242,000 at 2017 Bonhams. This Silver Wraith wears coachwork by Carrosserie Franay. Only six drophead coupe bodies were built on the Silver Wraith chassis, and this is the first one. Each of the six examples were different. It is one of only eleven Franay-bodied Silver Wraiths.
This Rolls-Royce was equipped with instruments in kilometers and intended for use in France. Upon completion, the Cabriolet was displayed at the 1947 Paris Salon and then at the 1948 Concours d'Elegnace in Deauville.
This example was originally owned by Dr. Mounir Abdel-Latif, an Egyptian who was residing in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Latif brought the Cabriolet back to Egypt with him, though it was apparently registered in the United Kingdom at some point as 'FJH 679.' It was discovered in Egypt in late 1972 by Dr. James Rhea. The car returned to Arabia with Dr. Rhea and remained there until his passing later in the decade. Eventually, his widow imported the Rolls-Royce to their home in Georgia. It was subsequently sold in 1982 to Dr. Thomas Phillips of Atlanta.
In 1989, ownership passed to Thomas Phillips and Sam Ornstein in the United States, before traveling to Denmark in the hands of Jorgen Stroyer Hansen, who would own it for 13 years. By the mid-1990s, WVA63 was purchased by future Pebble Beach award winner Frank Ricciardelli of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey who put it on display at the 2002 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
Over the following 15 years, the car has been cared for by several respected collectors, including Don and Rob Williams' Auto Collection, the late Bill Jacobs of Joliet, Illinois, and Arizona businessman Ron Pratte. Around 2013 the car was refurbished to its current cosmetic scheme of black paint with maroon fender trim.
This car is one of the first chassis produced when automobile production resumed after the war. Rolls-Royce adapted their pre-war model with an updated engine and suspension. The Silver Wraith was the last Rolls-Royce to be built as a chassis with the body and interior built to customer specifications by one of a number of coachbuilders. Work was started on WVA52 in January, 1947. The chassis was tested and turned over to Hooper for construction of a 'Touring Limousine' body in June 6, 1947, Hooper design #8035. The completed car was tested two days before Christmas, 1947, and delivered to its first owner on January 15, 1948. The first owner, the Honorable Walter Roch, Esq., was a Member of Parliament for Pembrokeshire from 1908 to 1918 and a respected barrister who, by this time had retired to his estate in Monmouthshire.
The body is a close-coupled limousine in a style popular at the time. Delivered with an electric divider and a sunroof over the front seat, it also was ordered with a radio with hidden antenna, picnic tables, bar, a rear window shade, a removable vanity mirror, and a rare electrically operated driver's window.
The car was returned to Rolls-Royce in February, 1958, for major work. At that time the engine was replaced with one from WYA31 and the car was repainted and the upholstery was replaced with leather. Recent work includes an entirely rebuilt engine, paint and upholstery.
The overhead valve four-and-a-quarter litre engine is capable of speeds over 85 miles an hour on the highway. The transmission has 4 speeds with the top three gears synchronized for easy shifting. The large steering wheel helps compensate for the heavy steering and the drum brakes are both servo assisted at the front and mechanical on the rear wheels. There are hydraulic shock absorbers on all four wheels and a central chassis lubrication system. This short wheelbase car is 17 feet 2 inches long.
The Silver Wraith, launched in 1947, was an evolution of the pre-war Wraith and was offered in the traditional chassis form ready for the fitting of Bespoke coachwork. The 4,257cc overhead-inlet, side-exhaust engine developed before the war was used, as well as a modified coil and wishbone independent front suspension. Hydraulic brakes were used for the first time on a Rolls-Royce wîth hydraulic brakes.
The Silver Wraith was constantly refined during its production. The engine was replaced wîth the 'big bore' 4,566cc in 1951 and automatic transmission was offered as an option in 1952.
Once again the press raved about the car. 'All the world knows that Rolls-Royce carry on an unremitting search for engineering perfection in everything they undertake. The qualities which made their aircraft engines famous, and their cars the finest procurable, are the result of hard work scientifically conducted, and of a painstaking attention to detail from the large to the most minute. And now a new range of cars is about to appear it is believed that the new cars are the best that Rolls-Royce have ever built.'
The Silver Wraith was described like this: 'In common wîth all Rolls-Royce cars, the Silver Wraith has an indefinable something about it, a delicacy of behaviour, which escapes definition in written words. it is a car for the connoisseur in cars'.Source - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
At a time when most of England was suffering post war and didn't have much use for a luxury motorcar, Rolls Royce decided to no longer produce cars in strictly separate series. Instead they would create as many parts of the engine, chassis and gearbox that would be identical for the different makes, and therefore easily interchangeable. The British economy had suffered due to raw materials shortages, prohibitive purchase tax and petrol rationing. The Silver Wraith was the embodiment of the new company philosophy of a reliable car with components that could be easily maintained.
Considered by many to be the most technologically advanced Rolls Royce model in history, the Silver Wraith was an exceptional graceful and elegant automobile. Introduced in 1946 the Silver Wraith was produced at the Crewe factory. The first post-war Rolls-Royce model, the Silver Wraith rode on a 127-inch wheelbase that was based heavily on the pre-war Wraith with coil sprung independent front suspension and semi-elliptic rear with a live axle. Also based on the Wraith, the engine featured a cylinder head with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves and an initial capacity of 4,257 cc and 135 horsepower.
The capacity was increased to 4566 cc in 1951, and to 4887 in 1954 on the long-wheelbase models. The Wraith's braking system was a hybrid hydro mechanical system with hydraulic front brakes and mechanical rears that utilized the mechanical servo from the pre-war cars, which was patented by Hispano-Suiza and built by Rolls Royce under license. For the first time on a Rolls Royce hydraulic brakes were used.
In 1951 Rolls Royce announced the long, 133-inch wheelbase chassis. A total of 639 of these units were produced until 1969. The final short-wheelbase models were made in 1953. At first only a four-speed manual gearbox was available but in 1952 a General Motors automatic option was added to the list of offerings.
The Silver Wraith was the final Rolls-Royce model that would be delivered in 'chassis only' form with the intent to be bodied by independent coachbuilders. The number of specialist coachbuilders was quickly declining over the years. Many of the Silver Wraith bodies selected used 'formal limousine designs'. The Bentley Mark Vi was offered for customers that wanted to purchase their car with a standard body already fitted. The Silver Wraith differed from the Mark VI in the fact that it wasn't a complete car, merely a rolling chassis. The Silver Wraith outlived the Mark VI and continued to survive until 1959 by undergoing modernizations like automatic gearbox and power assisted steering. The Silver Wraith would be the final Rolls Royce that showed a vast variety of coachwork styles.
The Rolls Royce Silver Wraith has filled many official capacities over the years including the Royal Dutch State Limousine in 1958, the Royal Danish Ceremonial Car 'Store Krone' also in 1958, the Irish Presidential State Car from 1947 until now. Other official uses include the Ceremonial State Car for the Brazilian President in 1952. The
The Silver Wraith had numerous movie cameos over the years including 1968 'The Love Bug', 1975 'The Return of the Pink Panther', 1989 'Batman', 1992 'Batman Returns' and even the recent 2012 film 'The S
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Silver_Wraith http://www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/wraith/ By Jessica Donaldson
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