1949 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Dawn SaloonView vehicle description
Introduced in the aftermath of WW2, Rolls-Royce’s’ Silver Dawn, as well as its Bentley-badged Mark VI sister, were the first models from either marque to be offered with standard, factory-built bodies. During development, designers astutely perceived great social change on the postwar horizon, one aspect of which being that many owners of exclusive automobiles would soon choose to drive themselves, rather than be driven.
Though still an inherently luxurious and refined form of transportation, the Silver Dawn is a fine driver’s machine sharing many traits with its sporty sibling, including direct steering and surprisingly engaging driving dynamics.
A left-hand drive example wearing standard steel saloon bodywork and equipped with a 4-speed factory manual transmission, the auction example is one of approximately 760 Silver Dawns handbuilt between 1949 and 1955.
On the Outside
Though stately and roomy, these are relatively compact cars by Rolls standard, measuring 192 inches nose-to-tail despite a ride comfort-friendly 120 inch wheelbase. This one retains several neat early production features, including trafficator-style flip-up electromechanical turn signals located in the B-pillar.
On the Inside
The car’s front doors open towards the rears, and the rear towards the fronts, meeting in the middle like a handclap. Oxblood leather is usually a good look paired with lighter exterior colors, and this car is no exception.
Interestingly, though the 4-speed manual shifter was exclusively column-mounted for lhd cars such as the auction example, it was floor-mounted between the door and driver’s seat on those made for rhd markets–interesting, but certainly rather awkward as well!
The 4 ¼ liter straight-six is an unusual F-head design featuring overhead intake valves and in-block exhaust valves, a design noted for its smoothness, torque-rich delivery, and silent running.
The car is sold with limited historical documentation.
What We Think
Early postwar cars give a totally unique driving experience, and few also offer engineering refinements, build quality, and prestige on par with a vintage Roller. This one’s interesting early build features, including a standard 4-speed manual gearbox, help it stand out.
Estimated $16,000 - $24,000.
It should be noted that this vehicle has been on static display for a number of years and there is no history available beyond that displayed in our photography section.
We have not started or driven the car so cannot vouch for its mechanical viability or functionality. It will require recommissioning prior to road use and is sold ‘as seen’.
Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.
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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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- Location: Gardena, CA, United States
- Seller Type: Private
- Odometer Reading: 40491
- Chassis Number: LSBA12
- Engine: 4.25L F-Head Straight-Six
- Gearbox: Auto
- Steering position: Left-hand drive
- Colour: Silver
- Interior: Red Leather
- Estimated Price: $16,000 - $24,000