Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III from 1966, V8, 6230 cc, max. speed 188 km/h

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud is a luxury automobile produced by Rolls-Royce Limited from April 1955 to March 1966. It was the core model of the Rolls-Royce range during that period. The Silver Cloud replaced the Silver Dawn and was, in turn, replaced by the Silver Shadow. The John P. Blatchley design was a major change from the pre-war models and the highly derivative Silver Dawn. As part of a range rationalisation, the Bentley S1 was made essentially identical, apart from its radiator grille and badging.

Silver Cloud III

The Silver Cloud III was first displayed to the public at the Paris salon at the beginning of October 1962 but along with the Bentley S3 the cars were displayed on a specialist coachwork stand as if the modifications were to the special order of a particular customer.

External dimensions were slightly altered, the interior remodelled, the weight reduced by a little over 100 kg (220 lb) and improvements made to the engine which included fitting 2-inch (51 mm) SU carburettors in place of the 1+3⁄4 inch units used on the Series II Silver Cloud.

The compression ratio was increased to 9:1, reflecting the higher octane levels of premium fuel in major markets, although the option of a lower 8:1 compression ratio was still offered in markets where non-availability of higher octane fuels might be an issue.

Rolls-Royce, as before, refused to disclose overall engine power output, but indicated that there had been an improvement of “perhaps 7%”.

Increased power and weight reduction boosted speed and performance slightly. The engine now included a nitride hardened crankshaft to reflect the extra power being generated and in response to reports of broken crankshafts in the earlier V8 Silver Clouds. The transmission was a GM Hydramatic which Rolls-Royce used under licence.

The headlights were grouped in a four-headlamp layout subsequently continued in the later Silver Shadow. Other external changes included a slightly increased slope of the bonnet to correspond with a 1+1⁄2 inches (3.8 cm) reduction in radiator grille height.

Between 1963 and 1966 there were no major changes. Stainless steel wheel trims replaced chrome-plated ones in April 1963, and an improved rear window demister was introduced in November of the same year. Wider front seats were fitted in January 1964, and five months later a revised headlamp surround now incorporated a very small RR monogram. A chrome badge reading “Silver Cloud III” in an italic font can be seen on the right bottom side of the boot of most UK and European delivered examples, whilst US versions were delivered without this badge.

As with earlier models, Rolls-Royce continued to make the Silver Cloud chassis available to traditional coachbuilders. A notable version is the Fixed Head and Drop Head Coupe styled by Mulliner Park Ward, having unusual slanted headlights, also found on contemporary Italian designed or Italian-influenced high performance cars from Lancia, Triumph, Lagonda and Gordon-Keeble. It was derived from the earlier Park Ward design for the Bentley S1 and S2 Continentals, made also available for the S3. Some 100 of the 328 coach-built Silver Cloud IIIs were of this style.

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