1968 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Coupé Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd Registration no. not UK registered Chassis no. CHR3931
The British 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 UK firms trading pre-war, only 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 Shadows. 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 Silver Shadow Coupé (a two-door saloon in factory parlance) was first registered on 11th April 1968 and is believed to have been delivered new by Lex Mead, whose placque is in the boot. The car is said to have stayed in the UK for many years before moving to France where it remained for a similarly lengthy period and was extensively restored (body, engine, transmission, brakes, interior, etc) in 2010. Unfortunately, there are no invoices on file for the work carried out.
In March 2013 the Rolls-Royce was sold by Pessac Automobiles Prestige to a Mr Guillou in Metz, who sold it in December 2013 to the current owner in Belgium. Finished in the very pleasing colour combination of Burgundy with black vinyl roof and beige leather interior, the car currently displays a total of 62,000 miles on the odometer and comes with cancelled French Carte Grise and an old Contrôle Technique dated March 2013.