Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III – 1964
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Rolls Royce introduced the Silver Cloud model in April of 1955. It followed the production run of the Silver Dawn, and the relocation of manufacturing to Crewe. The new model was to be somewhat larger, substantially roomier, just as nimble and no less speedy. In addition, provisions were added for conveniences such as power assisted steering, automatic transmission and improved ventilation. Initially, ‘sufficient’ power came from a staid six-cylinder engine.The Silver Cloud Series II, introduced in August 1959 saw the introduction of eight-cylinder power. This offset the tendency for both production and coach built bodies, which had become progressively heavier.
A 1963 road test stated: ‘It is a pity that a connoisseur’s car like the Rolls-Royce remains far beyond the dreams of the vast majority of the World’s motorists, but good to know that cars of this quality can be built still and that there is a healthy market for them. They set a standard that is really appreciated best when one returns to driving lesser cars.’The Silver Cloud range prompted the immortal line used in its advertising, ‘At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.
The final iteration, the Silver Cloud III, began production in September 1962.The press called the new Silver Cloud the ‘finest car in the world’ and said, ‘There is little doubt that these find new cars will carry on the maker’s tradition and reputation.’ They were right: orders came from all around the world, with an unprecedented number from America, where it proved to be extremely popular in Hollywood.
The Silver Cloud II, launched in 1959, retained the same body as the Silver Cloud I, but was powered by a completely new V8 engine of 6,230cc. Coupled with automatic transmission as standard, the Silver Cloud II set new standards of refinement and performance. The ‘Autocar’ wrote: ‘Only by adopting advanced production methods and thereby increasing yearly output can a superlative machine like this be made today at a price its clientele can afford. The Rolls-Royce is one of very few surviving top quality cars; the maintained standard of overall excellence is rewarded by full order books, and a world reputation which has never stood higher.’In 1962, a lower bonnet line and twin headlamps were introduced and the Cloud III was born. Engine power was upped by 15% and the top speed rose to 117 mph. The compression ratio was increased and the 1-inch SU carburetors replaced by 2-inch units.
he Silver Cloud III arrived in 1963. External dimensions were slightly tweaked, the interior remodeled, the weight reduced by a little over 100 kg (220 lb) and improvements to the engine boosted speed and performance slightly. The headlights were changed to a four-headlamp layout remarkably similar to that of the later Silver Shadow, a model which the company had been brainstorming since the late-1950s. Official Rolls-Royce documents indeed state the four-headlamp layout was introduced to prepare customers for the radically new, then-forthcoming Shadow.
A notable (but not particularly favored among classic car circles) version of the Silver Cloud III is the “Chinese Eye”, featured on the Mulliner Park Ward coachbuilt cars, of which only about 100 were made, including one drop-head coupé that was owned by Peter Sellers for four years, and another by Lucille Ball, among others.