The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43

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Lot 258
The 1951 Turin Motor Show
1951 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé

£ 450,000 - 550,000
US$ 560,000 - 690,000
The 1951 Turin Motor Show
1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé
Coachwork by Pininfarina

Registration no. 270 YUW
Chassis no. SCA43
*The only Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn bodied by Pininfarina
*First owned by Commendatore Luigi Brassani
*Long-term single family ownership in Italy
*Careful and sympathetically restored circa 2014
*1st in Class award winner at the Warren Concours d'Elegance 2014

Footnotes

  • Carrozzeria Pininfarina's best known collaboration with Rolls-Royce is the exclusive Camargue coupé, 531 of which were produced between 1975 and 1985, but before then the celebrated Italian coachbuilder had built a relative handful of one-offs on Crewe-built chassis. The unique car offered here is one of the earliest: a 1951 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, chassis number 'SCA43', which was ordered by Commendatore Luigi Bressani, a resident of Milan, Italy.

    The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s had continued at Rolls-Royce after WW2; more components were bought in rather than manufactured in house and for the first time there was factory bodywork, which was better suited to the owner driver than to a chauffeur. This 'standard steel' body was available at first only on the Mark VI Bentley, the equivalent Rolls-Royce - the Silver Dawn - not appearing until 1949. Codenamed 'Ascot', the Silver Dawn was produced alongside the Mark VI and the coachbuilt Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, albeit in far fewer numbers. A separate chassis was retained, the same basic design being built in three different wheelbase lengths, while other notable features were independent front suspension and hydraulic front brakes.

    The range featured a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine (enlarged to 4,566cc in 1951) with inlet-over-exhaust valve gear, which had been under development since the mid-1930s. The company used belt drive for the water pump and dynamo for the first time on this engine, which employed a Zenith Stromberg carburettor in Rolls-Royce configuration. The latter was preferred to the Mark VI's twin SUs as it offered smoother running and a cold start facility, which was not available on the SU-equipped Bentley until 1952. Reporting on the Silver Dawn's arrival in 1949, Autocar declared: 'The new Silver Dawn, which was exhibited for the first time at the recent International World's Fair at Toronto, is designed to appeal to those overseas connoisseurs who appreciate the quality of a Rolls-Royce but who do not require a chauffeur-driven car.'

    Despite the popularity of the Crewe factory's 'standard steel' body, pioneered on the Mark VI Bentley and continued on the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, a coachbuilt alternative remained the preferred choice of many customers, including Luigi Bressani. The Commendatore must have been an immensely wealthy man, for the factory records show that the Silver Dawn cost him £2,100 – roughly equal to the average house price in the UK at that time and the equivalent of well over £200,000 today – and that was just for the chassis!

    On 30th August 1950, the Silver Dawn was handed over to the shippers for onward transit from Dover to Dunkirk on the Hampton Ferry. Pininfarina duly completed the car at its factory on the Corso Trapani in Turin, by which time the total cost had risen to a reputed £10,000, and in 1951 it was displayed at that year's Turin Motor Show. Its price made the Pininfarina Silver Dawn far too costly, even for Rolls-Royce, and any thoughts of a limited series were abandoned. When the Bentley Continental appeared the following year on the R-Type chassis, it cost only half as much. The only Silver Dawn bodied by Pininfarina, 'SCA43' is featured in many books on Rolls-Royce, including Lawrence Dalton's 'Rolls-Royce The Classic Elegance' (page 182) and also 'Pininfarina' by Antoine Prunet (page 112).

    Copies of old Italian registration documents on file (issued 1961) show ownership passing in 1983 to one Anna Maggioli of La Spezia, believed a relative of Commendatore Brassani. The most recent (copy) Certificato di Proprieta (dated April 2013) lists the owner at that time as one Anna Maria Morale of La Spezia, believed to be another relative. The Pininfarina Silver Dawn was then purchased from the Commendatore's relatives by Mr Stewart Wilkie and treated to a careful and sympathetic restoration, receiving the age-related UK registration '270 YUN'. In May 2014 the car was presented at the Warren Classic Concours d'Elegance at Maldon, Essex where it received a 1st in Class award and was judged 2nd overall.

    An email from Rolls-Royce (printout on file) acknowledges that Pininfarina's Silver Dawn has a 'strong connection with the design lines of our new Rolls-Royce Wraith coupé'. And there can be no doubt that this wonderful car would be welcome at the world's most prestigious concours events including Pebble Beach, Villa d'Este, Techno Classica Essen, Salon Privé, etc. A unique opportunity.
Contacts
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
The 1951 Turin Motor Show,1951 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupé  Chassis no. SCA43
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