1955 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Wraith Project

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1955 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Wraith Project


The Silver Wraith was the first post-war Rolls Royce. It was made from 1946 to 1958. It was meant to fill the role as Rolls Royce’s smaller car, the size being chosen to stay up to date with the mood of post-war trends. Improvements over the 1939 Wraith were as follows: chromium-plated cylinder bores, a more rigid chassis frame, independent front suspension, a synchromesh gearbox, and centralized chassis lubrication.

The Vehicle

The Silver Wraith had undergone several upgrades during its production life. The engine is a 278.6 cu in straight-six mated to the 4-speed manual with synchromesh. The chassis to these Silver Wraiths differ heavily from the pre-war Wraiths and are notably more rigid. Servo assisted drum brakes were used at both ends of the Silver Wraith, hydraulically operated at the front, and mechanically operated at the rear. Today’s example was also a recipient of coach building efforts via the good folks over at Park Ward.

On the Outside

The exterior to this Wraith can be described as decent at best. The grey/green paint has faded quite a bit since the car rolled off the production line, and there are chips all around the car. The hubcaps and white wall tires would benefit greatly from a deep scrubbing. Unfortunately, it’ll be much tougher to buff out the corrosion on the passenger side of the chrome front bumper. The rear bumper is straight but the bumperettes appear to be dented and bent. Glass around the car is in good condition, showing no chips or cracks.

On the Inside

The interior is fair. Gray leather seats have aged poorly, and the creases that formed in the leather a number of years ago have now turned to full-blown cracks in the material. The rear bench shows less cracks, but a similar degree of creasing, nevertheless. The black Bakelite steering wheel is dirty, as are many of the wooden inserts around the interior. Most of the pieces have noticeable chips or scratches, although the rear compartment has been preserved better than the front. Back behind the rear bench, the liner between the seat backs and rear windshield is totally damaged. The headliner and sun visors all hang tightly in place, and the cargo net is a charming piece of functional storage.


We have access to copies of the build sheets for this car. The Wraith received the following special features: automatic gear box, step irons, blinker indicators, Silver Dawn-type headlamps, a flat gas tank, and an upgraded wiper rotor. Under the hood, the engine bay looks somewhat tired. A power washing would greatly liven things up, but the exhaust manifold does appear to have a layer of surface corrosion on it.

History Highlights

It is unclear to us when the car was delivered to the United States, but we do have an ownership card. The card tells us that by 1977, the car spent most of its time in Brookville, New York. After that the trail goes cold again until the seller purchases the car around August of 2012.

What We Think

This Silver Wraith is not in Concours condition, clearly. Potential buyers must acknowledge that this car will require some level of restoration efforts after successful purchase. The paint outside is heavily damaged and a repaint should be thoroughly considered. Furthermore, the interior deserves to be completely redone as well. This is an excellent opportunity to secure a popular luxury automobile below market value that has the potential to be very special once rehabilitated. Furthermore, coachbuilding by Park Ward. cements this Wraith as a highly unique model. Damage considered, we at The Market by Bonhams are confident that this Silver Wraith will have few issues achieving its $20,000 - $30,000 estimate.


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’.

Due to California emissions laws, please note that this vehicle may only be sold to an out-of-state resident for use outside of California or to a licensed automotive dealer.

Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.

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: Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 39850
  • Chassis Number: DLW152
  • Engine: I6
  • Gearbox: auto
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: Gray
  • Interior: Gray / Leather
  • Estimated Price: $20,000 - $30,000

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