A Rolls Royce Silver Cloud at the curb in Eugene, now that’s worth walking down the street to shoot. Uh oh, the owners have just exited Full City Coffee, and are getting in. Am I too late?
I hear the repeated but labored wuh-wuh-wuh of the starter, sounding all the world like the six volt starters in old American iron. The Silver Cloud first appeared in 1955, so I’d like to think it started out with 12 volts, and I wasted five minutes on google trying to find out. Anyway, just as I get the beautiful Rolls in profile, the engine decides to start, and with quite a clatter indeed.
I’m quite sure this is a Series I Silver Cloud, as the engine sound was decidedly six cylinder, not V8. And it sounded louder than my old Ford truck on a cold morning with a lifter or two complaining. OK, the thing is half a century old, give it a break. And in my googling about its electrical system, I find some references to the venerable 4.9 liter F-head six having a tendency to develop piston slap with high mileage. Sounds about right. I’ve heard these engines they way they’re supposed to be, and the tick-over is hushed indeed.
And off it went, in a Stockhausen symphony of mechanical sounds. Time to call those mythical RR mechanics. When I was a kid, my father told me that RR hoods were locked shut, and if there was ever a problem with them, RR would fly a team of mechanics to anywhere in the world to fix it, for free! The price of claiming the mantle of the world’s best built car, presumably.
I wonder if there’s any coffee cup holders in those beasts 🙂 similarly, I wonder if is this a limo company warrior out for a quiet day of errands or a garage queen out for a quiet frapuccino…….
This body, with the later quad headlights, is my favorite RR, though I actually prefer the ever-so-slightly more understated Bentley grill even better.
Yes, the SIII is one of the best-looking Rolls-Royces I think – and the long-wheelbase version with the extra window behind the door is awesome.
Would the Ford in question be a Galaxie 500 LTD with the “Pantry Cloth” interior?
Pantry cloth? Is that like a potato or flour sack? 🙂
From one full size car fan to another: http://ateupwithmotor.com/luxury-and-personal-luxury-cars/90-ford-ltd.html (OK I admit it was an unofficial name.)
Umm, I though it was called Panty cloth, ie ladies underwear.
Wow I read that badly. (And now my brain is turning over what ridding nude in an LTD would feel like… 😛 )
PANTY cloth, not pantry cloth. In those days that tricot nylon stuff was all the rage for foundational undergarments — the best thing there was for that until spandex came along, apparently. It had a nice sheen to it, was soft and silky, and wore like iron so it was a great choice for auto upholstery at the time. Today we have microfiber materials that do much better, though they rarely seem to be used in cars. Maybe when the current fad for cow skins treated in such a way as to be indistinguishable from petrochemical plastics passes, people will again embrace practical interior materials…
EDIT: That’ll teach me not to reload the page first before posting!
I was just razzing Dan. I knew about the panty cloth, but was trying to visualize what pantry cloth would have looked like. Flour or potato sacks was the best I could do. 🙂
The postwar F-head RR 6s had a hardened steel sleeve in the top of the bore, that extended down the cylinder for ~1″ or so. This was to prevent the “ridge” at the top of the bore with high mileage. ALMOST a better idea; what happened was that the bottom part of the cylinder would wear & the rings would hit against the standard-size hardened sleeve at the top. Bad things happened.
I’m pretty sure that RR didn’t use hydraulic lifters on that engine; they had tried them on the PIII & had problems.
BTW- the later RR V8s had hydraulic lifters, bought from GM or their suppliers. There was an iron cradle in the block for the lifters, so that temperature changes of the aluminium (I meant to do that- English spelling) block would not cause too much clearance around the lifters.
These cars were 12V, positive ground.
Thanks for the additional info. I assumed it had to be 12V; must be the sound of their starter, or maybe the battery was low!
The sealed hood was a myth. Not a myth was that RR did not publish wiring diagrams. If you needed one, you sent away to the factory, and they shipped a full-sized original. Unfold that, pin it to the wall while you worked, and then return it to the factory when you were done. And for some strange reason, Corniches never really matched the diagram. Each of them was as much a hand-bulit one-off as it was a “production” car.
Yes; that’s why I said “time to call the mythical RR mechanics”.
I thought the V8s were licensed from Cadillac, and that they used Hydramatics as well. The V8 is still being used in the high end Bentleys.
That RR you saw in Eugene obviously needs major service/engine rebuild, a properly running Rolls-Royce does not make a cacophony of noise!
A Rolls-Royce ‘fails to proceed’ – Rolls-Royce does not break down! lol…
Rolls-Royce bonnets have never been sealed shut by the factory, this is just an old myth based on a practice made by early manufacturers had of sealing the bonnet for reliability runs. Sealing hoods/bonnets was common for that reason, but never on a production/retail car.
From RROC in Australia
BTW, my uncle was a RR Mechanic (in Bermuda and later Australia) and was never ‘sent’ anywhere to repair a car…
As I said, that was something my father told me when I was five or six. It wasn’t the only thing he ever told me that turned out not to be correct, especially about cars.
I had the same problem with being forced to go to church! lol! Being told things that turned out not to be correct!
It’s probably why I’ve become ‘Literal Larry’. Knowing (and passing along) the truth is pretty important most of the time!
What always shocks me about these cars is how expensive and out dated they were for the time, this is a 1955 and it looks like a 1938. Inside it still has the instruments in the center or the dash I believe like a 30’s car too, the generation after these were the square style 1966 or so ones that they made until the early 80’s
I have looked on the internet, but have not been able to find it, but some time in the late 1960s, one of the American car magazines had a comparison test for luxury cars of various sorts. Their comment was that “The Rolls-Royce is the best 1939 Packard ever made”.
I have that July ’65 C/D, and you just prompted me to look at it again. Yes, they did not like the Roller; it was way, way out of date by 1965, its last year of production. But interestingly, the one thing they raved about was the brakes, with its mechanical servo.
I will do a full CC on the Silver Cloud one of these days.
One of those rollers used to be stored at a school friends house while it owner holidayed on a nearby island the sound while riding in one is silence it was a 58 model and this was 67/68 so it wasnt a new car but it was quieter than my fathers new HK Holden wagon.
They were usually about 20 years behind until zee Germans bought them, the only one I ever ridden in was a 1987 or Silver Spur, and it was like a really nice mid 70’s car, though it felt “tall” like a mid 50’s car.
My 59 Minx has the instruments in the dash centre speedo ferthest from the driver must be an English fetish
Instruments in the middle of the dash made it more easy to put the driver on the left or the right. At most, just reverse the position of the speedometer & the cluster gauge.
BTW- military vehicles usually had the instruments in the middle so that the front seat passenger (usually of a higher rank than the driver) could monitor the speed.
F-head six? On a Rolls?
Interesting, what passed for luxury and top-end engineering in years past.
Rolls Royce was always an extremely conservative company (in the truest sense of the word). Durability, reliability, proven designs, and build quality were much higher priorities than pursuing the latest engineering advances. Nothing ever got chaged or replaced until the replacement could be shown to serve better than the original. And “better” was measured by the criteria cited about, not by a stopwatch.
Rolls-Royce cars of this era were never designed to be driven by their owners anyway. Smoothness and comfort for the owner riding in the back was paramount. The later V-8 cars were first Rolls-Royce cars designed to be driven by the people who bought them.
Considering nothing that really looks like a luxury car has been built since the generation after this one, I don’t mind the 30’s styling at all 😛 If I were to get stinking rich and ever feel the need for a chauffeured car I would choose something a lot like this. (Although maybe with the drivetrain of a Bentley Arnage turbo, not to make it faster, but to ‘proceed more efficiently’ )
In LA there are a few of these around with SBC power. I understand they do proceed forward quite effectively.
I believe the single headlamp cars always had the straight six. The facelift brought twin headlamps and the V8 motor. As Steve65 has already mentioned, RR were extremely conservative, and this is exactly what their clientelle expected.
Nope, the S2 had single headlamps and the V8. S3 had quads and the V8.
And (to the author) Rolls-Royce is always hyphenated!