1968 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Convertible Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd Registration no. CBY 338G Chassis no. CRH5023 Engine no. 5023
The motor industry's almost wholesale switch to unitary construction and, in particular, Rolls-Royce's adoption of the method for building its new Silver Shadow, meant that by the mid-1960s the market for traditional coachbuilt automobiles had been severely curtailed. Of the many hundreds of firms trading pre-war, just two - James Young and the now combined firm of H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd - were left to meet the demand for a coachbuilt Rolls-Royce or Bentley, though these might be more accurately termed conversions rather than 100 percent bespoke creations.
Recalling its glamorous Grandes Routières of pre-war days such as the Phantom II Continental, Rolls-Royce's final coachbuilt models - entrusted to the company's in-house coachbuilder H J Mulliner, Park Ward - were limited to just two, a two-door coupé or similar convertible, the former arriving in March 1966 and the latter in September the following year. The cars were hand built in the best traditions of British coachbuilding using only materials of the finest quality, including Wilton carpeting, Connolly hide and burr walnut veneers, a necessarily lengthy process that took all of 20 weeks for the saloon and slightly longer for the more complex convertible. This painstaking attention to detail resulted in a price some 50% higher than the standard Silver Shadow's. Nevertheless, demand for these more glamorous alternatives to the much more numerous Silver Shadow was strong right from the start, a state of affairs that resulted in them being given their own model name - 'Corniche'- in March 1971.
This early Silver Shadow Convertible was supplied new via Mann Egerton Ltd, Norwich to L A Trafford Esq of Mulbarton Lodge, Norfolk. The registration number was 'GCL 11'. In September 2002 the Rolls-Royce was registered in Ireland, passing in 2006 to Robert Archibald of County Carlow. The immediately preceding owner had all the interior woodwork restored by A J Hickman of Lichfield in 2013 (bill on file) and then commissioned a mechanical refresh to include a brake service by PJG Autos of Bristol, which included new callipers, new master cylinder, new discs, etc. The steering box seals were replaced at the same time.
The current vendor purchased the Shadow in August 2014, since when marque specialist Phil Murray of Devises has fitted new window seals, adjusted the wheel bearings, fitted new drive shaft universal joints, installed new carpets and made all the windows function properly. Finished in Regal Red with matching mohair hood and beige leather interior, 'CBY 338G' is described as in generally good condition and driving well, though the interior hood lining would benefit from a clean or possibly replacement. sold only because of the vendor's ill health, this rare coachbuilt soft-top Rolls-Royce sundry restoration invoices, MoT to June 2016 and a V5C registration document.