Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 147

1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Drophead Coupe by James Young

  • Chassis no. LSHF169
  • Body no. 4031

Sold for $671,000


Body Style SC15VL. Est. 178 bhp, 4,887 cc F-head inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, unequal-length wishbone and coil-spring front suspension, solid rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and hydraulic front and mechanical servo-assisted rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 123 in.

  • One of two such examples built, both on factory left-hand-drive chassis
  • Exceptionally well-balanced, fully custom aluminum coachwork
  • Formerly part of the Anthony Preston collection
  • The discerning connoisseur’s alternative to the more common “adaptations”


Drophead coupes remained extremely popular on the Silver Cloud chassis, usually crafted by H.J. Mulliner. The initial offering was style number 7410, an aluminum-skinned design that was a fully custom body, created from the ground up, with no two being exactly alike. Cost and efficiency reasons led to the replacement of this attractive design, late in production of the Silver Cloud I, with the so-called “Drophead Coupe Adaptation,” modified from factory saloon body panels.

Nonetheless, as the trend moved away from true custom coachwork to reworked factory bodies, one could still acquire a Silver Cloud I drophead whose body had been handmade, from the wooden frame up, by skilled artisans in the traditional manner. James Young of Bromley, Kent, noted for the subtle elegance and exceptionally high quality of their work, offered their design number SC15VL, a four-passenger drophead coupe with a neatly folding convertible top and modern smooth slab sides, with only a subtle “kick” over the rear wheels. This design was considerably more expensive than an “adaptation” and, thus, considerably more rare. Just two were produced, both with aluminum coachwork on factory left-hand-drive chassis.

Chassis number LSHF169, offered here, was originally delivered on 22 May 1959, to Alfred Hart of Bel Air, California, equipped with power top, radio antenna, and (unique among the two cars) power windows. A colorful local socialite, Mr. Hart began his career in Chicago during Prohibition, wholesaling liquor for one Al Capone. He later relocated to California, where he continued in the distillery business while also establishing the City National Bank of Beverly Hills, investing in local real estate, buying the Del Mar racetrack, and investing in the original Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. When Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped in 1963, it was Mr. Hart who arranged the $240,000 ransom.

The car was subsequently acquired by Anthony Preston, a well-known Rolls-Royce collector from New York, famous for his long-term ownership of one of the Phantom II Henley Roadsters. It passed in 1975 to Charles Patterson of Pittsburgh, in 1978 to Robert Martin of Houston, Texas, and in 2003 to Dr. John Livesay, who never registered it in his name. In 2007 the Silver Cloud was acquired for another well-known collection. In his ownership the car was cosmetically refinished in Oxford Blue with a Saddle Tan top and matching hides, as presented today, with a correct tinted windshield (as original), refinished brightwork, and Vantage Motorworks’ upgraded factory-style air conditioning.

Since joining Orin Smith’s collection, its fifth registered home from new, the car has been well maintained and occasionally driven, to his usual high standards, and still presents in the same fine condition as when it was acquired. It shows only light chassis wear from its occasional street use, with the paint and interior remaining superb, including remarkable traditional James Young wood veneers capping the doors and dashboard, the original radio, and correct vanity compartments and hand tools. The car had ticked over fewer than 52,000 miles at the time of cataloguing, a figure believed to be original.

With the other James Young drophead coupe remaining in its long-term American home for the foreseeable future, this is the opportunity to acquire the sole other example built – the chance of a lifetime for the collector for whom mere rarity is not enough.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more