Monterey

13-15 August 2015

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Lot 344

1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Drophead Coupe by Park Ward

  • Chassis no. LELW94
  • Engine no. L93E
  • Body no. S20

Sold for $297,000


Body Style 705. Est. 178 bhp, 4,887 cc F-head inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and wishbones, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and adjustable shocks, and hydraulic front and mechanical rear drum brakes with power-assist. Wheelbase: 133 in.

  • One of only five built to this exceptionally rare, beautiful design
  • An original left-hand-drive example; first sold in Quebec
  • Offered from long-term enthusiast ownership


The Silver Wraith was intended to be Rolls-Royce’s ultimate model during the late 1940s and 1950s. As such, the vast majority of the 1,883 chassis delivered in 13 years were fitted with large saloon and limousine bodies. Exceptionally rare were the Silver Wraiths delivered with two-door bodywork, and rarer still were convertible styles, which could be considered the ultimate Silver Wraiths.

CHASSIS NUMBER LELW94

Coachbuilder Park Ward’s style number 705 was one of the last original drophead coupe designs created for the Silver Wraith chassis, production of which was already in the process of winding toward conclusion by 1956. This body, like few others, combines the best of 1930s design, including the dramatic falling fender line that drops from the front to the “hip” at the rear of the car and then turns up into a modern pontoon rear fender. Delicate chrome trim was used to outline the curves and touch up the brightness of the beltline, which, along with a two-tone color scheme and low-profile convertible top “stack,” served to lighten the design and add welcome sportiness.

Five Silver Wraiths were built to this design, four of them left-hand-drive chassis for North American customers. The car offered here, chassis number LELW94 and body number S20, was the second of the five and the first left-hand-drive car. It was fitted with the optional automatic transmission, speedometer in miles per hour, dual horns, an adapter for an engine block heater, and, most importantly, power steering, which had just become available. The latter was an important necessity for this car, which was originally supplied to construction magnate H.J. O’Connell, of Cote de Liesse Road in Dorval, Quebec, reportedly for the use of his wife.

The Silver Wraith remained with Mrs. O’Connell for some years and in the Montreal area for many more, in the long-term care of its second owner, Ross Rowell. It eventually made its way to Florida, where it was restored in its attractive present color combination of Shell Grey over Black, yet still retaining its original Red leather interior, albeit with new carpeting. It was then acquired in 1989 by the present owner for his highly regarded collection of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. It records less than 50,000 actual miles and remains in very nice condition throughout. Thought, as the car has been on display in a climate-controlled private museum, further mechanical sorting would be advised prior to any exclusive road use.

Documented by a collection of service receipts and copies of original build information from the Rolls-Royce Foundation, this is the only example of this striking body style available for public sale today, and it may well be the only one to come to market for many years to come. It represents the Silver Wraith’s design at its most beautiful and modern and is a fitting touchstone to the end of production for one of the all-time great Rolls-Royces.

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

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... 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