1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith
Lot 327
1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Touring Limousine, Chassis no. ELW79 Engine no. L78E
Sold for £34,500 (US$ 57,988) inc. premium
Lot Details
1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Touring Limousine

Coachwork by H J Mulliner

Chassis no. ELW79
Engine no. L78E


  • Rolls-Royce's first post-war model, the Silver Wraith employed a chassis similar to that of the MkVI Bentley, though with a 7" longer wheelbase. The Wraith however, was only offered with 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 aluminium cylinder head featuring overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. 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 version introduced. Production ceased in 1959, by which time 1,780 chassis had been completed.

    The last word in motoring luxury in its day, this automatic-transmission Silver Wraith has the 4.9-litre engine introduced in 1954. Long-wheelbase chassis number 'ELW79' was completed with touring limousine coachwork by H J Mulliner (body number '5841' to design number '7356') and sold new to Harry L Dowsett of Dowsett Holdings Ltd. The car was originally registered 'HLD 1'.

    Engineer Harry Dowsett was born in 1907 in New Zealand where his physicist father was involved in establishing the Southern Hemisphere's first Marconi wireless communications facility. In 1940 he acquired the Lowestoft shipyard founded by John Brooke and changed the company's name to 'Brooke Marine'. Harry Dowsett's business interests would eventually extend well beyond the Suffolk coast, with Dowsett Holdings Ltd and Dowsett Engineering (Australia) Pty Ltd being formed to oversee international subsidiaries involved in a diverse range of enterprises.

    Collector Hans Bezemer had been interested in the ex-Dowsett Silver Wraith for a long time when the car was offered for sale via the Paradise Garage in Clapham Old Town, London SW4. An accompanying copy of the original logbook shows that the Dowsett family owned the car at that time. After almost two years of negotiation with the Dowsetts, Hans Bezemer and the Paradise Garage came to an agreement and since 1992 the car has been registered in the Netherlands.

    'ELW79' is still presented in its original Velvet Green, a very dark shade that in shadow looks almost black, while the interior is original Beige leather, which has never been re-coloured or repaired. We are advised that the engine benefits from a recent service and the Silver Wraith comes with all its tools.
  1. John Polson
    Specialist - Motor Cars
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