1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn news, pictures, specifications, and information
Sold for $315,000 at 2010 Bonhams
Sold for $352,000 at 2014 RM Auctions
The Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn shared much of its all-steel factory body and mechanicals with the Bentley Mark VI. The company realized that the market still had room for individually commissioned, bespoke automobiles on the same chassis, and so the Silver Dawn could be had without bodywork. The factory actually catalogued two different styles of drophead coupes on the chassis, with both being produced by Park Ward, of Willesden.
Body style number 322 had the 'dipped' fenders, which were a signature of early post-war Packard designs. These fenders curved to envelope the front fenders, faded down into the sides of the body, and extended again to cover the rear wheels with a 'spat.' They had a neatly folding convertible top with room to accommodate four adults. Just a dozen examples of the Silver Dawns were built to this style, of which only six were delivered to the United States.
This Silver Dawn, chassis number LSLE43, is powered by the 128-horsepower engine. It was built for Eli Lilly Jr., of the Eli Lilly Company in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The car has an automatic transmission, high-frequency horns, a medium-wave radio, sealed beam headlamps, and wide whitewall tires, and it also came with 'blinker' turn signals, to be fitted in the United States.
The car left England for the United States on March 20, 1953, via the SS American Banker. On September 18, 1953, it was delivered to distributor S.H. Arnolt in Chicago, from whom it was sent to Auto Imports Company, of Indianapolis, Mr. Lilly's dealer of choice. Mr. Lilly took delivery of the car while vacationing in Palm Beach, Florida, as it was then sent on to Foreign Motors there.
Mr. Lilly later sold the car to Sexton W. Phelps, of New York City and Connecticut, then Charles D. Lane, of St. Louis, Missouri, and later Paul Rizzo, of East Meadow, New York. The current owner acquired it from the estate of Sam Garrett.
The car is finished in black and red and has a two-tone leather interior.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014
Sold for $451,000 at 2017 RM Auctions
761 Silver Dawns were built 1949 and 1955 and 64 of those received unique coachwork.
This 1953 H.J. Mulliner, alloy-bodied, Silver Dawn Drophead Coupe (Serial No. LSLE31) is the only one produced. It was ordered and owned by Texaco attorney Howard Kizer. The Kizer family, along with Carl Fisher, financed the Indianapolis Raceway.
The sporting nature of this Bentley is reminiscent of the drophead coupes on the Bentley Mark VI chassis. It has a raked and vee'd split windshield and deeply skirted and curved fenders.
The 1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn was advertised as an owner rather than chauffeur driven car. Most were produced with factory-assembled steel bodies and almost all were exported to North America. There were a few sedans equipped with Farina and Freestone bodies with Park Ward bodied a limited number of coupes and convertibles. This is the only one produced by Mulliner.
The car is powered by a 4.6 liter, in-line 6-cylinder, developing 150-horsepower, coupled to an automatic 4-speed transmission, with a 120-inch wheelbase. It weighs about 4,100 pounds with power front hydraulic and rear mechanical brakes and is capable of speed of about 87 miles per hour. It has a proper set of hand and road tools, a British wicker picnic hamper, a 'polo' walking stick, and a red umbrella stashed in the boot.
A 4000-hour restoration project preserved this one-and-only example of a H.J. Mulliner, 1953 Rolls-Royce, Silver Dawn Drophead coupe.
This rare example is a one-of-a-kind project with custom body by the leading coachbuilder, H.J. Mulliner. It won best in its class at the Rolls-Royce Owners Club Grand Classic at Meadowbrook and at Amelia Island. It also won Best in Class at Eastern U.S.Concours,Best in Class at the Rolls Royce Grand National, Best in Division and Sponsor's Major Award at Buckingham Concour's d'Elegance.
The launch of the Silver Dawn in 1949 confirmed the public's acceptance and demand for the standard steel body, as only a few were fitted wîth specialized coachwork.
After the war Rolls-Royce decided that if increasing volume was their main objective, then the manufacture of complete motor cars was required. This meant designing a pressed steel body and modernizing some of their production methods.
The company was initially cautious. It didn't know what the public reaction would be to the first non-coachbuilt cars, but they were well received and demand for the Silver Dawn was strong, especially in America to where the first cars were exported. These cars had the straight six 4,257cc engine.
A new market emerged at home too wîth the Silver Dawn becoming available in the ÚK in 1953, by which time it had the bigger bore 4,566cc engine, automatic transmission availability and big boot coachwork.
The 'Autocar' described the Silver Dawn as an 'expensive car designed for the connoisseur who requires an all-round excellence second to none and is prepared to pay for the best that money can buy in quality of manufacture and finish'.Source - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.
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