Rolls Royce silver Cloud

The last real Rolls Royce!

Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Image

Introduced in 1955 the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud was a major departure in style from its predecessor, the stately, but by now completely old-fashioned, Silver Dawn. It was also the last Rolls Royce of an era; it still had the welded steel chassis with the bodywork mounted on top of it; later models were to have monocoque construction. it was designed by John Polwhele Blatchley, a remarkable gentleman who started his career early; for three years from the age of 12 he was bedridden with rheumatic fever and passed the time creating plans and models of cars. His time was obviously well spent because he managed to create not only a beautiful luxurious limousine but also one that stood the test of time, staying in production for a whole 11 years. During this time over 7300 of these cars were built; quite a remarkable number considering that the market used to be confined to world leaders and the very top industrialists! A combination of competitive pricing and a new wave of wealthy people after the war provided a ready demand; even Elvis Presley owned one.

Initially the car came with a five litre straight six cylinder engine but this was later upgraded to a 6.2 litre V8 to give it more oomph; this increased the top speed from 103 mph to 114 mph and improved lowdown torque as well. Acceleration from 0 to 60 improved from 13.5 seconds to a rapid 10.9 seconds. the weight of the car was increased so petrol consumption went up too, from an estimated 14.5 mpg to 13 mpg; however the average buyer of a Rolls-Royce was not too concerned about that, or the fact that the larger engine took up so much room under the bonnet that it was actually necessary to take a wheel off to get to the sparking plugs!

Unfortunately this engine was not only noisier than it's predecessor but less reliable, initially, as well! The tale that Rolls-Royce cars never breakdown is more a marketing myth than a gospel truth.

As with previous models buyers could choose to have their own favourite coachbuilders, such as Mulliner Park Ward, to create a body to their own choice; favourite designs were Fixed Head and Drophead Coupes but the majority of purchasers opted for Rolls-Royce's own body shell, which was made of steel and aluminium alloy.

During the following 11 years numerous alterations and improvements were carried out before the model was finally retired in 1966, to make way for the Silver Shadow.