The ex-George Gordon Meade Easby, Three owners from new
1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Special Touring Limousine
Coachwork by H.J. Mulliner
Chassis no. LWVH114
Engine no. W113-H
Body no. 5540
Rolls-Royce's first post-war model, the Silver Wraith debuted in late 1946 and employed a chassis similar to that of the Silver Dawn and MkVI Bentley, though with a 7" longer wheelbase at 10' 7". The Wraith, however, was only intended for traditional coachbuilt bodies rather than the MkVI's pioneering 'standard steel' bodywork. Powering Rolls-Royce's post-war range was a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine of cast-iron, monobloc construction with aluminum cylinder head featuring overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. Only the bore and stroke dimensions were shared with the pre-war overhead-valve Wraith engine, the major advantage of this 'F-head' layout being its large valves and generous water jacketing around the valve seats. A four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh was standard initially, an automatic option (for export models only at first) not becoming available until 1952, at which time the engine was enlarged to 4,566cc and a long-wheelbase (11' 1") version introduced. Manufacture of the short-wheelbase Wraith ceased in 1952, with a total production of 1,144; the long-wheelbase version continued until the introduction of the Phantom V in 1959, by which time 639 chassis had been completed.
The last word in motoring luxury in its day, this Silver Wraith has Special Touring Limousine coachwork by the highly respected firm of H.J. Mulliner. It was ordered on June 20,1952, delivered to H.J. Mulliner on May 20, 1953, arrived new in US in November of '53, and landed in the garage of the first owner, Arthur Soloman, on December 16th of that year. The car was one of the first Rolls-Royces to be equipped with an automatic transmission. The build sheet lists the 'Special' notation to denote the private nature of the vehicle, one not intended for liveried use. Where jump seats would often be found, a luxurious walnut sheathed cabinet with picnic tables and a leaded crystal cocktail set is featured.
The Rolls eventually found its way into the garage of one George Gordon Meade Easby. Mr Easby was the great-grandson of Civil War-ear Union General George Gordon Meade, had paternal lineage going back to seven signatories of the American Declaration of Independence, and had maternal linage in Philadelphia going back to1682. Over the course of his family's long history, his descendents acquired quite a lot of possessions which would later mature into one of the most impressive private antique collections in America, numbering over 100,000 objects and showing in the White House, as well as countless museums. He was also a Hollywood actor, a radio host, and a 25-year veteran of the US State Department. Oh, and he was also named the most eligible bachelor in Philadelphia at one pointa title he no doubt held as he died with no siblings, spouse, or heirs.
During Easby's long ownership of the Wraith, he kept it parked in the garage of his family's Baleroy Mansiona home often said to be one of the most haunted in America and something Easby loved to boast about. It was kept in good company by his 1935 Packard that he had bought new. In the 1980s, Easby showed his Rolls at the New Hope, Pennsylvania Auto Show, winning through the mid-1980s.
Following his death in 2005, the car remained in his estate for a few years until it was purchased by the current vendor. Upon acquisition, a careful reconditioning was undertaken including a repaint in its original colors, new carpets, mending to the leather seats, and inspecting and repair, as necessary, to all mechanical assemblies. Work was completed in 2011 and all receipts since acquisition have been maintained and will be included with the vehicle. Also included are the original Rolls-Royce owner's handbook, the H.J. Mulliner handbook, and the complete tool set. Following the completion of the work, the car was shown at the Barrington Concours d'Elegance, where it won the Award of Distinction, and the Highland Park Auto Historica, where it won Best of Show-Post War.
Showing only under 7,000 miles on the clock, believed to be from new, and ready for its fourth keeper, this well kept Silver Wraith is sure to delight with its many modern luxury features and eclectic prior ownership history. Based on Mr. Easby's family history, who knows, maybe the Waterford Crystal cocktail set was once Napoleon Bonaparte's...
- Further research has indicated that prior to Mr Easby's ownership, this Rolls was owned by Rita Hayworth's husband, Ali Kahn.