Monday, October 15, 2012

Danville Street Sighting - 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II

All my life I considered it sacrilegious to cut up a fine luxury car like a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, particularly a classic one. It was one of the things you just didn't do. So of course, someone did.

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud was produced from 1956 to 1966 and was RR's volume seller during that time. The standard car was built on a separate frame to allow for custom coachwork. Power came from an inline six for early models, but the Silver Cloud II gained a 6.2 liter V8.
This car is - or was - a first-year Silver Cloud II. It has come a long way since it rolled out of the factory in Crewe, and it's lost a lot of its original parts in the process. Most noticeable is the roof chop job. It is a bit extreme but is done well enough that it looks professional. The original Rolls frame was discarded for a full tube chassis, the body was channeled and a Chevrolet V8 was shoehorned under the hood. It sits very low to the ground thanks to an air bag system that can raise or lower it as desired. Wheels appear to have come from a late 1930s Ford and have chrome center caps with beauty rings, with wide whitewall tires to set them off. The front end has been subtly modified to reshape the headlight bezels into a teardrop shape, the two small vents on either side of the grille have been removed, and the foglights and bumper over-riders are also gone. Out back, the rear bumper has been cut and moved inward against the body, and the taillights have been sunken into the quarter panels. The body was sprayed with a color-changing metalflake silver over matte black in a two-tone that follows the body's character line nicely. Serving to upset the purists, the Spirit of Ecstasy has had her head cut off and replaced by the head from something else. I have no idea what. There's another Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament serving as the shift knob on the tall manual floor shifter. I must admit, if there's any part of the car I don't like, it's that. The interior is otherwise fairly subtle with wood, turned aluminum, and vintage style custom gauges that look like they were cribbed from an Auburn Speedster replica. The banjo steering wheel is a nice touch and more visually interesting than the plain black 3-spoke wheel that came with the car originally. Rounding out the whole package is a license plate that reads YIOUTAH which probably paraphrases what purists say when they see it. "Why I oughta..."

I give it points for being different.

8 comments:

  1. that is sick! well done indeed. the whole thing is in such good taste. jay, i believe the tail lights are "frenched". a term used in the days of old by customizers meaning recessed into the body..or sunken, as you put it. i am enjoying your writings here,especially the inclusion of the obscure, and not-so-popular models. nice work.

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  2. Desecration, disgusting, tasteless

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  4. As a former employee of the Goodwood factory... I like this a lot. A agree with the poster's comment about the shifter being a little shocking, but it is over the top Ed Roth Rat Rod style. Tasteful execution 60% American hot rod cues to 40% English saloon.

    The choice of wheels is particularly interesting, I guess the body carrys cues of 30's cars despite being originally built in the late 50's, so the 30's wheels match. Gives it a gangster look.

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  5. I actually would love to make a clone of this custom with a small tweak of taking the extra time to do a full "American" job to it by converting it to a two door to actually make it compete. Lengthening the front doors and removing the rear would of made this one of my all time favorite customs. I guess if I can get around to it and can scrape the funds together I may just have to do that LOL. I appreciate the men who modify cars and ignore the naysayers as long as what they do is done as artistically done as the original designers concept. Long live the renegades, outlaws, and anti-purists.

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  6. The hood ornament is a Kneeling Lady. It's quite common on Wraiths and early postwar cars. I agree with you about the shifter. The teardrop lights aren't my thing. I would have put modified quad lights in to make it look like a Cloud III. Check out the Bentley Boys. There is a very cool car there.

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  7. The Silver Cloud has been begging to be "Sledded" for years!!! I hope we see more now,leave them poor old 49 Mercs alone. Thats Mercury not fingys daughters name, ya know,the one that tory with the bad hair liked. Adolf Clarkson I f!nk...

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