13-15 August 2015
1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Drophead Coupe by Park Ward
- Chassis no. LELW94
- Engine no. L93E
- Body no. S20
Sold for $297,000
- 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.
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