Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III

In 1965, $20,000 bought a seven-bedroomed house, 11 Austin Minis, or a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. The Rolls that everybody remembers was the ultimate conveyance of landed gentry and captains of industry. But, by the early Sixties, Britain’s social fabric was shifting.

Princess Margaret announced she was to marry a divorcé, and aristocrats were so short of old money that they had to sell their mansions to celebrities and entrepreneurs. Against such social revolution the Cloud was a resplendent anachronism. Each took three months to build, weighed two tons, and had 12 coats of paint. The body sat on a mighty chassis and drum brakes were preferred because discs made a vulgar squealing noise. Beneath the hood slumbered straight-six or V8 engines, whose power output was never declared, but merely described as “sufficient.” The Silver Cloud stands as a splendid monument to an old order of breeding and privilege.

MODEL HISTORY

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The Cloud I was launched in 1955 and survived until the end of the decade, when Rolls exchanged their six for a V8 and made power steering standard. Cloud IIs ran until 1962, when the car enjoyed its first major facelift—a lowered hood line and the use of voguish twin headlamps.

HEAVY CHROME

Rolls claimed their chrome plating was thicker than on any other car in the world.

ENGINE

Cloud IIs and IIIs—aimed at the American market—had a 6230cc five-bearing V8 power unit, squeezed into a cramped engine bay.

INTERIOR

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A haven of peace in a troubled world, the Silver Cloud’s magnificent interior was a veritable throne room, with only the finest walnut, leather, and Wilton carpeting. The gear selector sat behind the steering wheel.

MAX HEADROOM

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The roof line was high in the best limousine tradition—passengers had enough room to wear top hats. The wide rear three-quarter panel was designed so rear occupants could be obscured from prying eyes.

TOP SECURITY

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Doors were secured by the highest quality Yale locks.

TOOLKIT

Every Cloud had a complete toolkit in the trunk.

SCRIPT

Roman numerals were chosen for the Cloud III script to lend an air of dignity.

ANTIQUE STYLING

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Everything about the Cloud’s styling was antique, looking more like a piece of architecture than a car. Standard steel bodies were made by the Pressed Steel Co. of Oxford, England, with the doors, hood, and trunk lid hand-finished in aluminum to save weight.

ANTIQUE STYLING

Everything about the Cloud’s styling was antique, looking more like a piece of architecture than a car. Standard steel bodies were made by the Pressed Steel Co. of Oxford, England, with the doors, hood, and trunk lid hand-finished in aluminum to save weight.

FRONT ASPECT

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The 150-watt 5¾-in (14-cm) Lucas double headlights were necessitated by onerous North American safety requirements. Turn signals were moved from the fog light to the front fender on the Cloud III.

ORNAMENT

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The Spirit of Ecstasy graced a silver radiator shell that took several men five hours to polish.

S P E C I F I C A T I O N S


MODEL Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III (1962–65)

PRODUCTION 2,044 Standard Steel

BODY STYLE Five-seater, four-door sedan.

CONSTRUCTION Girder chassis with pressed-steel body.

ENGINE 6230cc five-bearing V8.

POWER OUTPUT 220 bhp (estimate).

TRANSMISSION Four-speed automatic.

SUSPENSION Independent front with coils and wishbones, rear leaf springs, and hydraulic dampers.

BRAKES Front and rear drums with mechanical servo.

MAXIMUM SPEED 116 mph (187 km/h)

0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 10.8 sec

0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 34.2 sec

A.F.C. 12.3 mpg (4.4 km/l)

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