1939 Rolls-Royce WraithSOLD

Grandes Marques Auction, MECC, Maastricht NL, Saturday 13th January 2007

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Estimate: €26,000-32,000

Sold: €20,035

In the 1930's, Rolls-Royce set new standards with its series. It was achieved not by making great technical breakthroughs, but by using the very best of proven technology. One could argue that various Hispano Suizas had more advanced specifications, but one has to note that many of them are now fitted with Rolls-Royce gearboxes. There were no weaknesses in the cars which Rolls-Royce made which is why, when the company began to use the slogan, 'The Best Car in the World' it was regarded as measured opinion backed by solid collateral.

Autocar road reports of the late 1930s reported the new Wraith as being like floating along on a cloud. The behaviour of the car attained a degree of refinement beyond previous experience. All in all, the new model was clearly superior to its immediate predecessor the Rolls Royce 25/30 hp. There could be no doubt that this new small Rolls-Royce was on a par with the standard set by the much advanced Rolls-Royce Phantom III. Power came from the 4,257 cc in line 6 cylinder engine. Only 491 of the new chassis were produced, of which just approximately 150 chassis were fitted with Park Ward coach work and again only 50 were produced with the 6 light saloon body with a division. The start of hostilities in 1939 unfortunately brought manufacture of this advanced motor car to an end.

Chassis WHC66 was sold for the princely sum of £ 1,100 on 6th February 1940 to the Clyde Auto Co. in Glasgow to be delivered to its proud new owner, a certain F.H. Lilley, Esq, also of Glasgow. Mr Lilley opted for the elegant 6 Light Enclosed Saloon coachwork by Park Ward, which is still fitted to the car today. Among the specifications for this stately car were a Lucas fog light, forward facing occasional seats to the rear and an electrically operated dividing window forming part of the partition between the driver's workplace and the passenger compartment.

More recently WHC 66 has spent the last 10 years in a private museum and has only occasionally been used. The previous owner has had the leather interior retrimmed and the cylinder head has been renewed.

A very stylish and very rare piece of Rolls-Royce history for a relatively modest outlay. Definitely a lot of the car for the money!

Reference Number 5501

as of 12/22/2006

Car 1939 Rolls-Royce Wraith