1965 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Cloud III

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1965 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Cloud III

Background

Released in April 1955, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud banished the formal upright lines of its predecessor the Silver Dawn in favour of more elegant and modern profile.

As the first model to have its body, as well as the chassis, manufactured by Rolls-Royce it featured a pressed steel body on top of a straightforward box-section chassis. A variety of panels including doors, bonnet and boot lid were constructed in aluminium rather than steel to save weight. Of course, if buyers still wished to go down the coach-built route – and many did – then they could.

The S1 came with the familiar 155bhp straight-six engine but a new aluminium overhead valve, 6230cc V8 arrived – as did power-assisted steering, as standard – for the 1959 S2, raising power to an altogether more satisfactory 200bhp.

The Silver Cloud III followed in October 1962, the designers whipping 100 kilograms off the kerb weight, with the more power extracted from the V8 by the adoption of a higher compression ratio and fitting of bigger carburettors.

Styling tweaks including the adoption of imposing twin headlights, a lower grille and lower bonnet line. All of which gave it an even more grown-up aesthetic.

Forget their badge-engineered Bentley Brethren, for in period all Silver Cloud variants proved themselves the only possible choice of transport for men (and women) of means.

Today, this particular old girl is a bit of a bargain.

The Vehicle

Vendor Joe is selling this 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III on behalf of his father. “He always wanted one,” he explains. “And has used it as a weekend run-around, to potter locally and pick up the Sunday papers. It’s covered relatively limited miles in his 7 years of ownership but has obviously been an important family ‘event’ for visiting grandchildren”.

He bought the vehicle from Silverstone Auctions back in 2015, with the car’s previous owner having competed significant work back in 1996. “My father spent heavily shortly after purchase, with most expenditure going on a braking system overhaul – the invoices from David Sainsbury can be viewed in the history file.”

Joe describes the Rolls-Royce as, “very usable, but far from perfect”, which is an honest appraisal – as you will see. “There are no major issues that I am aware of beyond characteristic rust in the lower rear wheel arches, and the interior would perhaps benefit from new carpets.”

The included V5c document indicates January the 1st, 1965 as the car’s first date of registration. It also denotes a total of nine owners from new.

“Unfortunately, my father has not been driving it recently due to his declining health, but he did enjoy it during the summer with no concerns.” Alas, with no realistic chance of being able to do so again, the Silver Cloud III is now ready for pastures new.

On the Outside

Even today, when many classic cars seem tiny in comparison to modern vehicles, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III still demands your visual attention; it’s one striking, big statement of a car. There is no doubt that its upright formal radiator with Spirit of Ecstasy atop still retains its powers of shock and awe.

There is a lot of chrome involved in that edifice, and there’s a fair bit too elsewhere on the car, but it’s generally of a good standard. There is a touch of tarnish here and there however, a good machine polish with some suitable restorative product would no doubt do it a wonder of good.

From a bodywork perspective, the car left the factory with Black and Blue coachwork; this was changed to Black and Silver by the previous owner. It’s an elegant colour combination and looks very sharp from a distance; up closer, as Joe alluded to, there are a few issues here and there. As mentioned, there’s a bit of rust on those rear wheel arches and you will also find some paint bubbling directly underneath the front of the driver’s door, as well as in a couple of other places.

There is also the odd scrape and chip, but generally the old girl holds up quite well. It’s no concours queen, so you could drive it to the pub or supermarket and have no qualms about leaving it in the car park.

On the Inside

Rolls-Royce cabins of this era are evocative, packed full of the finest materials and as such, lovely places to inhabit. This example is no different, although some of those materials could do with a refresh or even replacement. That includes the carpets, which are a touch threadbare in places and wood dashboard and veneer generally has dulled.

The leather seats have fared better and are generally very good with a pleasing patina – a good clean and feed would no doubt benefit them and sharpen interior matters up further. Door cards are good, but someone has (criminally) fitted Sony radio stereo speakers in the front doors; the mesh grill is missing on one of them. The windows will also need some attention though, as we could only operate the rear n/s from the driver's door switch. Up top, the headlining is clean and free from sagging.

The boot opens to reveal a huge storage capacity and a spare wheel that’s past its best – we would replace it for peace of mind before any long journeys. The black carpet is in good nick and the jack is also present.

Underneath

Popping the magnificently long bonnet/s, a bit tricky on the near side owing to the catch not quite releasing, reveals an engine bay that while not in the first flush of youth, is tidy and looks to be relatively leak free. There is though a bit of surface corrosion here and there, particularly on the radiator and fan shroud.

The venerable V8 starts first time and ticks-over well; there is a bit of a rattle, but it soon becomes clear that it’s the exhaust silencer (confirmed with a look underneath, which shows a heavily bashed and subsequently deeply rusted front edge) – replacement should be factored in.

From a driving perspective, the big Rolls-Royce generally wafts along nicely, but the engine does appear to be in need of a tune or fresh fuel as it does not run as evenly as it might, though the auto box goes about its business without fuss. Brakes are also up to the job, in a "Cloud" fashion; given the serious outlay on them at the beginning of Joe’s father’s stewardship.

There is some surface rust on the underside; some areas of underseal looked to have cracked and fallen off quite a while ago, so the exposed areas could do with taking back to bare metal and being re-sealed.

History Highlights

You will find a fair few invoices in the Cloud III’s history file; one of the last of these is for a service carried out on August 13, 2022. This included new spark plugs, power-steering fluid, as well as fresh oil and filter. It is worth noting that it also states that both rear shock absorbers have leaks.

The power steering system had a leak repaired by Autocrafts Ltd of Stroud, Glos, in 2018 at a cost of £765.60, while Fiennes Restortion Ltd of Leichlade carried out £1,682.72 of restorative works in November 2016. That year also saw the battery replaced. David Sainsbury carried out considerable works in April 2015, June 2015, August 2015, and September 2015 at a cost of £5,865.50, £6,593.46, £1,556.06, and £1,180 get the car running, and perhaps most importantly, braking well.

It must be noted that some of the paperwork refers to a different chassis number and the chassis plate is not as per the build sheets, V5 or more importantly, the actual stamped number on the chassis. Joe’s father tried to find out why this was the case from the previous vendor, but with little luck.

You will also find a Daily Telegraph clipping showing the Silver Cloud III taking part in the Trans-America rally, at the hands of the previous, then 97-year-old, owner.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of the paperwork to support our claim that this car has had considerable money spent to ensure that it performs well on the road.

What We Think

A concours Silver Cloud III will set you back in the region of £80k, whilst even a good car will come in just around the £40k mark. This old girl drives well but has some TLC required both in the cabin, bodily and underneath. As such, we think it will realise somewhere between £18,000 and £25,000.

Be in no doubt, that at either end of the estimate it is a lot of car for not a lot of money. It has had some serious wedge spent on it in the last seven years, most of it at the beginning of its current owner’s stewardship.

It can certainly be driven as is, or steadily improved. If you are handy on the bodywork front then all the better, as you can enjoy the process of bringing it up to a nice standard.

Equally you can buy it and simply smoke around it, knowing that it represents the pinnacle of Sixties luxury motoring.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this car is located at The Market’s Abingdon HQ; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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Seller

jpet

  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 79,000
  • Chassis Number: SJR81
  • Engine: 6200
  • Gearbox: Auto
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Black over Silver
  • Interior: Blue/Black
  • Estimated Price: £18,000 - £25,000

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