1949 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Dawn Saloon

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1949 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Dawn Saloon


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.

The Vehicle

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.

History Highlights

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.

Buyers should expect the title within 30 business days following the sale; however, please note that for reasons beyond Bonhams/Market control, including any delays in lien releases by lien holder and/or delays by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) in certain states, there are instances where the Buyer may not receive the title within 30 business days and, in those circumstances, Bonhams/Market will work to provide the titles to the Buyer as soon as possible.

If a Lot is rendered “Title in Transit”, it is unlikely that the Buyers will receive the title in the mail within 30 business days following the auction/sale; however, Bonhams/Market will work to provide the titles to the Buyer as soon as possible.

The Buyer acknowledges that delays in transferring titles including, due to delays at government Motor Vehicle departments, happen from time-to-time and, the Buyer will hold both Bonhams/Market and the Consignor harmless from any allegations of damages arising out of government delays.

Please note it is the responsibility of the Buyer to transfer ownership in compliance with their jurisdictional rules and regulations.

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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  • 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

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