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Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Published: 17th Mar 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
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Last of the old school Rollers, few classics are as classy, gracious or make you feel so good as a Silver Cloud


1955 The Silver Cloud (and the Bentley S1) burst on the scenes in 1955 after a lengthy five year development run. Looking more modern than the old Silver Dawns and Wraiths, it still retained a separate chassis just when the monocoque age was forming. The engine was a new 4.8-litre development of the B60 straight six with old style overhead inlet/side exhaust-valved cylinder heads, although it still mustered a healthy 175bhp and strong performance for its time with 100mph cruising.

New fangled electrically-controlled dampers were made standard but for the first year power steering wasn’t even on the optional extra list! Stopping this heavyweight cruiser were huge yet effective enough drum brakes all round.

1956 A year after launch, power steering and air conditioning became worthy options.

1957 If the standard saloon wasn’t for you, then a host of bespoke body styles (see main picture) such as a two-door (Bentley Continental) convertibles together with a longer wheelbased saloon were offered.

1959 Silver Cloud II (Bentley S2) announced; the chief change being the fitment of Rolls-Royce’s new 6230cc V8, which became the mainstay right up until the end of the Century. Kicking out 185bhp it gave the car some much welcome zip, although some prefer the older trusty old six which was silky smooth and spookily silent.

1962 The last of the line R-R Clouds and Bentley S3s were launched equipped with bigger SU carbs and a higher compression ratio. As a result 200-210bhp was guessed, although Rolls never really quoted power outputs. More modern twin headlamps adorned the front end, that’s the way the car stayed up to late 1965 when the range was replaced by the trendy new Silver Shadow although it survived in Phantom limo guise until pretty recently.


What could be more vulgar than an old Rolls or Bentley being driven like a GTi – or Jag MK2 for that matter? No, the real ‘Cloud Nine’ pleasure of piloting a Silver Cloud or Bentley is when you simply relax and take it easy, watching the world hurry by in uncanny smoothness and silence. Even half a century on, the car’s sheer ambience still amazes and no wonder it was hailed as the best car in the world.

Not that performance is slow. Stately is a better description; typical road test times clocked these heavyweights to 60mph in around 13 seconds while a late V8 can almost touch 120mph… which is faster than a TR3!

It’s not something we’d like to try considering that finger light feel-less power steering (don’t buy one without – it’s a truck to drive otherwise) hardly inspires confidence. As a majestic cruiser there’s little to touch Crewe’s finest. Comfort reigns supreme and there’s plenty of space in the back, especially in the longer wheel-based versions. Opt for a bench-seated car and there’s more than ample room for six to savour the experience. You can’t really compare the Cloud to the later Shadow because in the end it’s down to personal taste. The Shadow naturally feels more modern although the magic carpet ride isn’t appreciably superior.

Rolls or Bentley? Again it’s matter of personal taste. Unlike today’s ranges, the former are the most popular with buyers and so worth more and as a result it’s not unknown for Bentleys to have been ‘Roller- ised’, although you can tell whether the bonnet has been altered to accept the squarer-cut Rolls grille. Check the car’s history, V5 and look for signs of original Bentley markings.


Some regard the Silver Cloud as the last of the genuine Rolls-Royces. Built how proper cars used to be made – on a separate chassis of course – it was the final curtain call on old school Rollers and Bentleys, an era where mere costs took a sumptuous back seat to priceless, peerless craftsmanship. Today, after a period in the shadows of the replacement Silver Shadow, the more genteel and arguably far more cultured Silver Cloud is now emerging as the wiser and somewhat classier buy.


* RUST Although chassis is inherently strong, check well, especially the rear end which can rot badly, especial the ‘horse shoe’

* CHROME A reconditioned grille costs £3500 while hubcaps are £300 a go so don’t dismiss these defects as cheap fixes because they won’t be

* ENGINE Longlasting, especially the smooth sixes (although tappet setting is an art). Overheating, poor exhaust manifolds on V8s

* CHASSIS Single-shot chassis lube system from the driving seat but may not work now, Sloppy steerings may need a new ‘box at £1400!

* PARTS Plenty of specialists and breakers around – even factory can help you out


Values are starting to rise – although are not yet totally in the clouds! Nevertheless. the days of a cheap Silver Cloud or Bentley are fast becoming a thing of the past. Magazine price guides seem to differ from what some experts say… Expect to pay £25,000 and above for a truly nice example while a fair example, albeit one that will want a fair bit spent on it, can easily command £15,000. Sub ten grand examples are usually liabilities and can be real money pits reckon marque experts. Top cars can sell for £40-£50,000 these days while special-bodied models, such as the convertible can be ticketed at £200,000. Bucking the current trend somewhat, Bentley versions trail Rolls’ prices by a few thousand but left-hand drivers can carry quite a premium as they are wanted by the well heeled for their overseas homes.


If you want pure old fashioned engineering and craftsmanship at its very, very best – and consider a Silver Shadow far too flashy and common for your taste – then take a step further back in time and sample the delights of a Silver Cloud or Bentley S1-3. Pure class on wheels but of course, you must buy a good rather than a cheap one or you may well discover that every silver lining does indeed have a dark cloud lurking somewhere.

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