Rolls Royce Silver Wraith 4,6 litre Drophead Coupe by Park Ward

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Rolls Royce


Silver Wraith 4,6 litre Drophead Coupe by Park Ward





The Silver Wraith was the first post-war Rolls-Royce model and was made at the Crewe factory from 1946 to 1959.

The first cars had a 127 inch (3226 mm) wheelbase chassis based on the one from the pre-war Wraith with coil sprung independent front suspension and semi-elliptic rear with a live axle. The engine was also based on the Wraith, but had a new cylinder head with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves and initially a capacity of 4257 cc. From 1951 this was increased to 4566 cc and in 1954 to 4887 cc on the long-wheelbase models. The chassis was new but followed the prewar Wraith pattern. Four-wheel hydraulic jacks built in to the prewar Wraiths and Phantom IIIs were gone, and wire wheels were replaced by disc wheels. Four-wheel adjustable shocks were reduced to only two, fitted to the rear and controlled by a hydraulic pump. The earliest cars can be identified visually by the divided bonnet sides, which in 1947 became one piece. The cooling system, at four gallons, is more than adequate, and the Silver Wraiths (along with the Phantom IVs only sold new to heads of state) are the only postwar Rolls-Royce cars to use the thermostatically-controlled radiator shutters as used in the prewar years.  The braking system was a hybrid hydro mechanical system with hydraulic front brakes and mechanical rears using the mechanical servo from the pre-war cars, patented by Hispano-Suiza and built by Rolls-Royce under licence.

The long, 133 inch (3378 mm), wheelbase chassis was announced in 1951, and 639 were made until 1959. The last short-wheelbase cars were made in 1953.

The Silver Wraith survived until 1959, having been modernized step by step with vital improvements, like optional automatic transmission in 1952 and power-assisted steering in 1956. By the end of 1954, all Silver Wraiths were fitted with automatic transmissions. The engine was bored out to 4,566 cc in 1951, and in 1954 capacity was increased to 4,887 cc for 178 horsepower. The need for more power had become inevitable, because the weight of the additional equipment had eroded the car’s performance.

Initially only a four-speed manual gearbox was offered, but this was supplemented by a General Motors automatic option from 1952.

This was the last Rolls-Royce model to be delivered in "chassis only" form, in order to receive a wide variety of bespoke coachwork designed and made by a rapidly declining number of specialist coachbuilders. Most of the bodies selected used "formal" limousine designs. For customers wishing to buy their car with a standard body already fitted, the manufacturer already offered the Bentley Mark VI.

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