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Lot 105
1952 Rolls-Royce "The Blue Knight"

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CHASSIS NO: WFC97

• One-of-a-kind creation
• From the world-famous collection of Gary Wales


4.5-litre six-cylinder F-head engine, 150 HP, four-speed manual gearbox, servo-assisted brakes


Rolls-Royce automobiles have received coachbuilt bodies of every sort through history, but this very special Silver Wraith, known as “Blue Knight,” is truly unique. The Silver Wraith was Rolls-Royce's first postwar model. Introduced in late 1946, the Silver Wraith utilized a chassis similar to that of the Silver Dawn and Mk VI Bentley, but with a 7" longer wheelbase at 10' 7". The Silver Wraith was only intended for traditional coachbuilt bodies rather than the Mk VI's pioneering 'standard steel' bodywork. Powering Rolls-Royce's postwar range was a new 4,257 cc six-cylinder engine of cast-iron, monobloc construction with aluminum cylinder head featuring overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. Only the bore and stroke dimensions were shared with the prewar overhead-valve Wraith engine, the major advantage of this new 'F-head' layout being its large valves and generous water jacketing around the valve seats. A four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh was standard initially, an automatic option (for export models only at first) not becoming available until 1952, at which time the engine was enlarged to 4,566 cc and a long-wheelbase (11' 1") version introduced. Manufacture of the short-wheelbase Silver Wraith ceased in 1952, with a total production of 1,144; the long-wheelbase version continued until the introduction of the Phantom V in 1959, by which time 639 chassis had been completed.

The body design of this Rolls-Royce was the brainchild of an American Rolls-Royce enthusiast, collector and custom car builder from the capital of custom car building - Southern California. Starting with a 1952 Silver Wraith that had been converted to a hearse many years ago, he created what could be considered the most fun and entertaining car ever to be built on a Silver Wraith chassis. Constructed over four decades ago, this vintage sport utility vehicle is loaded with a host of cleverly done, high quality features executed by a talented craftsman. The six-foot rear section of the body is luxuriously trimmed in beautifully varnished wood where jump-seats and picnic are located. When the tailgate folds open, two more benches are exposed, as well as storage compartments. The rear license plate compartment is opened with a special T key, revealing mobile kitchen complete with a set of dishes, two-burner stove and a running water system with a five-gallon capacity. The driver compartment was not overlooked either, fitted with air-conditioning, a six-way power seat and hidden extra sound insulation.

After 44 years of display in a private collection, this very special one-off coachbuilt classic utility vehicle is on the road again. This is the ultimate family fun truck. We will leave it to your imagination to come up with the different ways to have fun and enjoy its many different features. Your friends will be impressed and share the enjoyment along with you; you’re the only one in the world that will have one.

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