1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

Vehicle Profiles

Sedanca Coupe
Coachwork: Saoutchik

Chassis Num: WTA45

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 m....[continue reading]

Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.

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....[continue reading]

Coachwork: Inskip

Chassis Num: WZB36

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 ....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: Franay

Chassis Num: WVA63
Engine Num: W 148 A

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 Wraith....[continue reading]

Touring Limousine
Coachwork: Hooper

Chassis Num: WVA52

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 th....[continue reading]

Sedanca Coupe by Saoutchik
Chassis #: WTA45 
Saloon by Park Ward & Co.
Cabriolet by Inskip
Chassis #: WZB36 
Drophead Coupe by Franay
Chassis #: WVA63 
Touring Limousine by Hooper
Chassis #: WVA52 


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 with hydraulic brakes.

The Silver Wraith was constantly refined during its production. The engine was replaced with 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 with 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


By Jessica Donaldson
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