CC Outtake: No Wonder The ’65 Ford Claimed To Be Quieter Than A Rolls Royce

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?Β 

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.