Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II – 1959

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II is the last of the illustrious marque of which the motoring world could agree: ‘This is the best car in the world’. It performed better than any previous Rolls-Royce; and every model that followed (starting with the re-styled Silver Cloud III) marked a further compromise on a long road to relative mediocrity.

The Cloud II shared its fabulous grandeur with Cloud I. There were minor cosmetic changes, but only in the cause of technical improvement or greater luxury, like the improved headlights and the addition of adjustable fresh air vents to the fascia.

Cloud II also had more body styles, adding a two-door convertible and two-door coupe to the range. Like Cloud I, Cloud II had the ‘standard steel’ sedan body, its mighty wings rolling backwards in a wave of refined elegance to meet their rear echo, and every subtle curve and scoop in harmony with the whole.

As always with Rolls-Royce, there were long-wheelbase limousines (299 of 2417) with handcrafted coachwork and a division window, but the Crewe standard was an international hallmark of complete excellence.

The Silver Cloud II took that excellence to new technical heights. It was the first Rolls-Royce to be powered by a V8. With or without General Motors’ excellent automatic transmission (R-R and Bentley had used them for years), Cloud II was faster, quieter, accelerated much better, and now had power steering as standard to make it much easier to handle and respond.

The only faults you could possibly find with it are retrospective: in its day, high fuel consumption was not an issue, and if the chassis or bodywork proved prone to rust fifty years later, frankly, big deal. It’s the only car that feels as good to be driven in as it does to drive.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

UK

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1959 (until 1962) ENGINE: 6,230 cc V8

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed 117 mph (188 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 10.8 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud is the car which prompted the immortal advertising slogan ‘At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock’.

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