The property of a titled gentleman 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Long-wheelbase Saloon Coachwork by James Young Registration no. AHJ 287C Chassis no. CEL41 Engine no. CL20E
'In the twilight of their coachbuilding years, James Young had with these cars reached the pinnacle of excellence.' - Martin Bennett, Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Despite the popularity of the 'standard steel' bodywork, introduced when production of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars resumed after WW2, a steadily declining number of independent coachbuilders continued to offer alternatives. One of the most prominent of these surviving firms was James Young, a company that had established itself among the foremost coachbuilders for upmarket chassis by the end of the 1930s. The Bromley-based carriage-maker had bodied its first automobile in 1908, affiliating itself with a succession of quality marques throughout the 1920s and 1930s before being acquired by the Jack Barclay Group in 1937. Its factory devastated by wartime bombing, the company did not resume exhibiting at the London Motor Shows until 1948, continuing to offer coachbuilt designs of distinction on (mainly) Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis until the arrival of the unitary construction Silver Shadow/T-Series range in the 1960s. A lack of suitable chassis would force the firm's closure before the 'Sixties decade ended, but in its declining years James Young produced what are widely recognised as its finest creations, this beautiful Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III among them. Facing increasing competition from faster rivals and with development of its ageing six-cylinder engine nearing its end, Rolls-Royce had turned to V8 power as the 1960s approached. The V8 was, of course, the predominant power unit in Rolls-Royce's most important export market - the USA - so it was only natural that the Crewe firm would study the best American designs - principally those of Chrysler and Cadillac - for inspiration. Introduced in the autumn of 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appeared externally unchanged from their 'Cloud and S-Type predecessors, though the duo's performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc aluminium-alloy V8 engine. Although wider and shorter than the 'six' it replaced, the new power unit fitted relatively easily within the engine bay, relocation of the steering box from inside to outside of the chassis frame being the most obvious alteration to the previous arrangements. Externally the new models appeared virtually unchanged, while beneath the skin Rolls-Royce's own four-speed automatic transmission was now the only one on offer and power steering was standardised. Launched in 1962, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III and its Bentley S3 equivalent employed their predecessors' 6.2-litre V8 engine - though with larger carburettors, new distributor and raised compression ratio - and came with a four-speed GM-derived automatic transmission as standard equipment. Most obvious among many changes from the preceding models was the adoption of four-headlamp lighting, the absence of sidelights from the wing tops, and a slightly lower radiator shell. Inside there was improved accommodation with separate front seats and increased room for rear passengers. The long-wheelbase versions of the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Bentley S Series continued after the introduction of the new V8 engine, offering a less expensive alternative to the newly introduced Phantom V limousine. Four inches longer in the wheelbase than the standard saloon, these even more exclusive models usually were fitted out with an internal division. The Silver Cloud III 'mini Phantom' offered here is one of 31 built on the long-wheelbase chassis by James Young with body Type SCT 100. A rare variant completed without the internal division, it was restored regardless of cost to concours condition by marque specialists Frank Dale & Stepsons in 2006 for one of Europe's most prestigious collections of desirable motor cars. The work included but was not limited to, a complete mechanical rebuild, a repaint from bare metal in Tudor Grey and full interior re-trim together with chrome and woodwork restoration. Upgrades incorporated include central locking, colour-matched seatbelts, power adjustable seats to the front and modern stereo equipment tastefully blended into the dashboard, while power windows and air conditioning are other noteworthy features. 'AHJ 287C' has covered relatively few miles since the restoration's completion and remains in magnificent condition. Almost certainly the best surviving of the 31 such cars bodied by James Young, this rare and elegant Rolls-Royce is offered with current MoT/tax, Swansea V5 document and a file documenting the restoration process, with all of the bills in chronological order.