Rolls-Royce introduced its first post-war model, the Silver Wraith, which shared a chassis similar to the Bentley Mark VI but with a longer wheelbase of 7 inches. Unlike the Mark VI, the Silver Wraith exclusively featured traditional coachbuilt bodies rather than the pioneering “standard steel” bodywork.
Powering Rolls-Royce’s post-war lineup was a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine constructed with a cast-iron monobloc and an aluminum cylinder head. The engine incorporated overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves. Initially, a four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh was standard, with the option of an automatic transmission becoming available in 1952.
In 1952, the engine was enlarged to 4,566cc, and a long-wheelbase version of the Silver Wraith was introduced. Production of the Silver Wraith ceased in 1959, with a total of 1,883 chassis completed, 639 of which were in long-wheelbase specification.
This particular long-wheelbase Silver Wraith showcases saloon coachwork crafted by James Young, one of the few British coachbuilders that continued its operations after World War II. James Young, based in Bromley, began producing automobile bodies in 1908 and collaborated with various prestigious marques throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
By the end of the 1930s, the company had established itself as one of the leading coachbuilders for high-end chassis. Despite having its factory devastated by wartime bombing, James Young resumed exhibiting at the London Motor Shows in 1948 and continued offering distinguished coachbuilt designs, mainly on Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis, until the arrival of the unitary construction Silver Shadow/T-Series range in the 1960s.