Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by H.J. Mulliner & Co.
*Please note that this car is titled 1959.
Formerly the Property of Mrs. Jessie Woolworth Donahue
Launched in 1946 and following the prewar Wraith, which itself evolved from the 20/25, the Silver Wraith was the last Rolls-Royce model produced exclusively in chassis form for bespoke custom coachwork. While firmly rooted in many respects in the prewar era, the highly dignified Silver Wraith was nonetheless carefully and systematically updated throughout its lengthy production run, continuing as a Rolls-Royce staple model until 1959. The prewar F-head inline six-cylinder engine was retained and tuned for usable torque output, and the independent front-suspension system was carefully updated. Just 1,886 examples were produced in all, with a great many exported to the crucial and robust export market in the US.
Chassis LHLW18, this original long-wheelbase, left-hand-drive example was imported by Inskip Motors on September 12, 1958, and sold to Mrs. Jessie Donahue, heiress to the F.W. Woolworth retailing family. Equipped with factory-fitted air-conditioning and rear-passenger security locks, LHLW18 is one of five originally produced with the stately H.J. Mulliner Style 7356 Touring Limousine body design including blind rear quarters. As a late-production example, it benefits from all the mechanical improvements made to the series, including the premium 4.9-litre Continental-specification “S” engine, improved brakes, and the excellent GM Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic gearbox. Large original Lucas R-100 headlamps enhance an undeniably stately presence.
Remaining excellent throughout and having enjoyed meticulous care, proper temperaturecontrolled storage, and limited use, LHLW18 continues to benefit from a two-year, ground-up restoration completed by Miami, Florida’s acclaimed Vantage Motorworks to original specifications. The period-correct Mason Black and Brewster Green exterior finish is complemented by a driver’s compartment trimmed in green Connolly leather, while the passenger compartment features a green West of England cloth headliner, English virgin wool broadcloth seats, green mohair carpeting, and rich wooden accents. Passenger amenities include two folding polished wood picnic tables and a power-operated division window. The finishes of LHLW18 are as beautiful as they are accurate, highlighting the detail and focus of the expert restoration.
Beginning its show career before the restoration was fully completed, LHLW18 received Second Place for Best Post War at the 2002 Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club National Meeting. Once complete, it received Best in Class at Amelia Island and Most Distinguished Rolls-Royce at Greenwich during 2003, followed by Best Post War Coach Built at Bridgehampton in 2004. Under further RROC scrutiny, it earned Best Post War Coach Built at the 2005 Atlantic Regional Meeting and Best Post War at the 2008 National Meeting.
LHLW18 is complete with original documentation, tools, a fitted cover, maintenance and restoration documents and photographs, judging reports, show trophies, and ribbons and an extremely rare original spares travel kit. Exceedingly rare and truly elegant, it will certainly anchor any proper Rolls-Royce collection. LHLW18 embodies the stately elegance of the coachbuilt Rolls-Royce both in design and presentation.