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1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Drophead by Park Ward

One Owner for 46 Years, Less than 60,000 Miles from New. One of Six LHD Park Ward Dropheads Built

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Exterior Color Midnight Blue and Shell Grey
Interior Color Grey-Blue Leather
Mileage 59836 Miles
Engine 4.6 Litre Inline 6-Cylinder
Transmission 4-Speed Manual
Status Sold
Stock FJ1620


1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Drophead by Park Ward
s/n LSHD 60
Midnight Blue and Shell Grey with Grey-Blue Leather Interior

Along with the Bentley equivalent, the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn reaffirmed that despite the war, Great Britain was still very much the same. The cars was built with consummate attention to detail, and to the highest standards using traditionally British techniques. Included among these was the use of a separate frame so that customers seeking individual coachwork could buy chassis only and have them shipped to the coachbuilder of their choice to be fitted with a custom body. Typically, these coachbuilders were British as well, with such famous companies and H. J. Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young, Vanden Plas, Freestone and Webb, and Hooper. The majority of cars had a bodies of a few common styles (including, for the first time, Standard Steel coachwork from the factory), however, a few were fitted with special bodies.

While most cars wore saloon bodies, a handful were fitted with more exotic coachwork, such as this Drophead bodied by Park Ward. In a contemporary review, The 'Autocar' described the Silver Dawn Convertible as an 'expensive car designed for the connoisseur who requires an all-round excellence second to none and is prepared to pay for the best that money can buy in quality of manufacture and finish'. Indeed, the refinement, elegance, and quality of the car remains impressive today and it is with good reason that these coachbuilt open postwar cars remain sought after.

This particular example has been carefully conserved by its enthusiastic owners for its entire life, and has covered under 60,000 miles from new. Originally supplied to the Rolls-Royce Dealer Cooke Motors in Toronto, Canada on 16 July 1952, this is a factory left hand drive car that was originally finished in dark blue and silver exterior and grey-blue leather interior. Its first owner, Col. W.B. Phillips, acquired the car in September and was an active Rolls-Royce Owners Club member. He retained the car until approximately 1956, when he sold it to C. Aubrey East of Hampstead, Quebec. East was also an active RROC member showing it at a variety of events in the late 1950s before offering it for sale in the January 1960 issue of ‘Flying Lady’ for $7950. At this time, the car had covered 32,000 miles. By May of 1960, the car belonged to a Richard Solomon of Dayton, Ohio, who shoed it in an RROC event where it achieved second in class. The car was present at another RROC event, again with Mr. Solomon, in August of 1965, and by 1967, the car belonged to Roy Wild of Canton, Ohio. He had the engine of the car completely rebuilt, at which time the car was showing 47,150 miles.

Mr. Wild kept the car for 46 years, using it sparingly but regularly, accumulating a further 12,500 miles. A 1983 article in The Flying Lady highlights this car and Mr. Wild’s drive in The Texas Tour. Since Mr. Wild’s ownership, the car has seen a sympathetic freshening including new paint and the renewal of some of the interior. The carpets and visors, both wool, were replaced, and the leather on the front seats partially replaced as needed. The balance of the leather, including the rear seats and door panels, is original. The top was also replaced and a new top boot made. The wood was refinished and the car serviced and tuned up. The engine bay and undercarriage were detailed and the braking system overhauled as required. It is an exceptionally fine driving car, with one of the most silent and best-running six-cylinder Rolls-Royce/Bentley motors we have ever encountered.

The car makes a strong cosmetic impression. The paintwork appears very fresh and was completed to high standards. The panels are straight and display good fit. The chrome is generally nice, having been selectively renewed over the years, but remaining original in other areas. The bumpers are very good to excellent, and the radiator shell has some swirls but presents nicely overall. The waistline trim is very nice but shows minor aging, which is true of the door handles as well. The window trims are in very good condition. The lights, lenses, and glass are excellent throughout and the car has period Lucas tribar headlamps.

The interior was restored in a conservational way, with some of the original leather retained including the rear seats, front seat inserts, and door panels. The leather was selectively replaced on the front seats. The leather is in impressive condition, particularly considering the age of the original leather. The carpets are excellent, as is the wood, both of which were done to high standards and in pristine condition. The instruments and switches appear to be original and in excellent unrestored condition.

The engine compartment was cleaned thoroughly and selectively detailed and now presents well with attractive and correct finishes throughout. While not freshly restored in appearance, there is an honest and correct presentation that reinforces the sympathetic nature of the maintenance and restorative work the car has received. The trunk received new carpet to match the interior, also in high quality dark blue wool. The spare appears to have been restored and the original jack is still in place.

The car runs and drives extremely well. The motor is smooth, quiet, and well tuned. The clutch has a nice positive feel to it and the car shifts well. The brakes are effective and the car is a pleasure to use.

This is an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a very attractive early postwar coachbuilt open Rolls-Royce. 761 Silver Dawns were produced, of which just 24 were left hand drive cars with Park Ward bodies. Of those, just six were dropheads of this body type. This car has interesting and complete history, and has survived in a very complete form with its original tool tray with tools, book set, air pump, jack, torch, wheel cover removal tool, and a binder containing build sheets, copies of various documents to confirm the car’s history, and miscellaneous invoices including the engine rebuild. The car has been sympathetically restored only as required and is a fantastic car with which to attend RROC events or to use for touring. It comes from 46 years in the care of the same owner and has exceptional provenance.


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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