Rolls-Royce took a departure from its traditional approach when it launched the Silver Cloud in 1955. Unlike previous models that required incomplete cars to be sent to custom coach-builders for completion, the Silver Cloud, along with its corporate sibling, the Bentley S1, was a fully completed car with a factory-built body. This innovative move allowed Rolls-Royce to produce the car in greater numbers and at a higher margin, paving the way for future developments. When purchasing or selling a Silver Cloud, it is crucial to gather complete records and to compile a detailed ownership history. A pre-purchase inspection by a Rolls-Royce mechanic is recommended, as repairs can be quite costly, the more you fix now, the less the customer will find later.
Some areas to look at that will determine the overall quality of your Silver Cloud are:
- Rust: The Silver Cloud is prone to rust in the lower sections of the doors, fenders, and sills, as well as on the chassis and suspension components.
- Electrical system: Wiring in older cars can be prone to issues, so be sure to check for any frayed or damaged wires, as well as malfunctioning electrical components.
- Engine and transmission: These cars are equipped with a variety of mechanical systems, including a six-cylinder engine and a four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. These components can require maintenance and repairs over time, such as oil leaks, excessive smoke, or unusual noises from the engine, or slipping or hesitation from the transmission.
- Brakes: The brakes can be a weak point in these cars and may require regular maintenance and repairs. Look for cars that have had their braking systems updated or upgraded, if possible.
- Suspension and steering: The Silver Cloud’s suspension and steering system use a total-loss Bijur system, which requires regular attention to avoid issues. The adjustable shock absorbers that were operated by a lever on the steering column can also cause problems.
- Interior: The interior of these cars can also suffer from wear and tear, such as cracks in the leather seats or dashboard. Some cars may also have issues with windows, locks, or seats that do not function correctly.
- Cooling system: The cooling system is critical for the proper operation of the engine, and these cars can have issues with overheating or leaks.
The Silver Cloud’s had adjustable shock absorbers operated by a lever on the steering column, and the brakes were equipped with a second master cylinder in 1956. The chassis and suspension were powered by a total-loss Bijur system, which had an oil tank on the firewall.
In 1959, Rolls-Royce introduced the Silver Cloud II, which featured a new aluminum 6,230-cc V-8 engine that was 30% more powerful than its predecessor. The SCII was succeeded by the third iteration of the Silver Cloud (the SCIII), after which the model was replaced by the Silver Shadow.