1950 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

This 1950 Rolls-Royce two-passenger Silver Wraith with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner is a unique creation. As with the art of coachbuilding, the design and specifications were often left up to the individual purchasing this vehicle. Park Ward, Mulliner, Hopper, J. Young, and Freestone were notable coachbuilders tasked with creating bodies for these late 1940s and early 1950s Rolls-Royce's.

The Silver Wraith was introduced following World War II and retained many of the designs of the post-war era. The sweeping fenders and separately-mounted Lucas headlights were indicative of the pre-WWII manufacturing.

Under the elegant bodies was a new chassis design, though it borrowed inspiration from the earlier Rolls-Royces. The front suspension was comprised of coil springs and semi-elliptics could be found in the rear. Disc wheels and white wall tires replaced the old wire-wheel design. Under the hood was a 260 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine that produced around 130 horsepower. A four-speed manual gearbox was mated to the engine and mounted either on the column or to the floor.

This Silver Wraith shown is a one-of-a-kind creation and has recently undergone a five-thousand hour restoration that took three years to complete. Upon completion, it was brought to the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded a Best in Class.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007

Vehicle Profiles

Drophead Roadster
Coachwork: Mulliner

Chassis Num: WGC48 or WGG48

After 1945, all Rolls-Royce production moved to Crewe where it remained for the next sixty years. The postwar Silver Wraith chassis, with 4.3-liter 6-cylinder engine, was offered in two wheelbase lengths and was the last Rolls-Royce model to be deliv....[continue reading]

Enclosed Drive Limousine
Coachwork: Mulliner

Chassis Num: LWHD48
Engine Num: W48D

As war time came to an end, Rolls-Royce re-entered automobile production in 1946 with the Silver Wraith. This was the last Rolls-Royce delivered exclusively as a chassis for coach-built bodies. Power was from a pre-war inline 6-cylinder, with a new h....[continue reading]

Drophead Roadster by Mulliner
Chassis #: WGC48 or WGG48 
Enclosed Drive Limousine by Mulliner
Chassis #: LWHD48 


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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