Whilst Europe was still recovering from the ravages of the Second World War, Rolls-Royce engineers were already busy at work on the firm's first all new model since the 1930s. Revealed to the public in 1949, the Silver Dawn was aimed at the new breed of sporting owner-driver rather than those who preferred to sit traditionally behind a chauffeur.
Well received and much in demand from the outset, the Silver Dawn was available only in limited numbers and British buyers had to wait until 1953 before they could even purchase one. Most chassis received the standard steel, four door body, but the most demanding clients could still specify bespoke bodywork from the few surviving pre-war coachbuilders who were keen to display their flair. Just 14 Silver Dawns received bespoke coachwork, 11 of these by Park Ward, by now owned by Rolls-Royce themselves. Silver Dawn developments included engine enlargement from 4,257cc to 4,566cc, the choice of manual or automatic gearbox and a lengthened, more elegant and capacious boot, all in 1952.
This most desirable and rare of Silver Dawn variants sports Park Ward's elegant 'Foursome Drophead Coupé' coachwork, featuring long, flowing front wings and a tapering tail, complemented by rear wheel spats set off by chrome trims, and offers well appointed accomodation for four as the name implies. A remarkable innovation for its period is the hydraulically operated hood, which is fully lined and offers the occupants typical Rolls-Royce refinement when raised, complemented of course by finest quality Connolly hide upholstery and Wilton carpets. In line with its more sporting character, this Drophead Coupé does without the saloon's wood cappings, opting for matching leather dashboard and door coverings instead, the latter pleated in Art Deco 'sunburst' style.
Built to the order of a Major Hasari, apparently resident in Paris, chassis 'LSHD 54' is noted in works records as having received left-hand drive steering, a km/h speedometer, French type headlamps, export bumpers, 12/41 rear axle, high frequency horns and a special bonnet as part of a typically comprehensive specification. Major Hasari ordered a black paint finish with matching hood (not leather) and tan leather (Connolly ref. VM846), all of which the car retains although the seats were re-covered c.35 years ago. Both hood and paintwork are believed to be 53 years old and original!
In the late 1950s 'LHSD 54' was sold to a famous owner, Italian publishing tycoon Angelo Rizzoli, owner of La Stampa and 25f all other Italian newspapers. Mr Rizzoli imported the car to Italy, registering it on Milan plates in October 1958, but kept it at his villa in Cap Ferrat where it was used sparingly during his holidays. Upon his death in the early 1970s the Rolls-Royce passed to his children, who sold it to the current owner, one of Italys earliest car collectors, shortly afterwards.
Since then LHSD 54 has been preserved in completely original condition, shown very occasionally (at events such as the Villa dEste Concours in 1986, where it won the Max Meyer prize) and driven with care. The total mileage covered to date is 70,111km and all aspects of the car are believed to be in working order, including the power hood. Accompanying this unrestored car are rarities such as the small tool set under the passenger seat, large tool set in the boot, period radio, hood cover and cloth half tonneau (still in its storage bag), plus original Silver Dawn (left hand drive) Owners Handbook, original Milanese registration book, factory chassis records and sundry correspondence. A collectors delight!Seules 14 Silver Dawn reçoivent une carrosserie sur mesure, 11 dentre elles habillées par Park Ward, désormais propriété de Rolls-Royce. En 1952, la Silver Dawn évolue avec un moteur passant de 4,257 cm3 à 4,566 cm3, le choix dune boîte de vitesse manuelle ou automatique ainsi quun coffre plus élégant et plus spacieux.
Construit sur ordre dun certain Commandant Hasari, habitant à Paris, le châssis LSHD 54 est décrit dans les archives de lusine comme une conduite à gauche équipée dun compteur en km/h, de phares typés pour la France, de pare-chocs destinés à lexport, dun pont 12/41, dun klaxon haute fréquence ainsi que dun capot avant spécial. Le Commandant Hasari demanda à ce que la voiture soit peinte en noir avec la capote (en simili) assortie et lintérieur en cuir beige (Connolly ref.VM846), dont tout demeure aujourdhui à part les sièges ayant été refaits il y a prés de 35 ans. La peinture et la capote ont vraisemblablement 53 ans et sont donc dorigine.
A la fin des années 50, LHSD 54 fût vendue au célèbre magnat de lédition italienne Angelo Rizzoli, propriétaire de la S