To seventh heaven with the Rolls-Royce ‘Honeymoon Express’

Unlike its counterparts, this 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud was built strictly with a couple’s requirements in mind, soon earning it the title ‘Honeymoon Express’. The unique Freestone & Webb body even boasted the ultimate representation of 1950s American excess, for better or for worse…

Rolls for two

It’s unclear whether first owner Arnold Moreton actually had marital intentions in mind when he ordered this bespoke Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I through British Rolls-Royce dealer H.R. Owen. Perhaps he was just keen on its unique character: despite its significant proportions, the aptly titled ‘Honeymoon Express’ had only two seats, the vacant space being used to accommodate extra luggage and the concealed hood instead.

Nuptials give you wings

Freestone & Webb’s ‘Honeymoon Express’ project would turn out to be one of its last. With Rolls-Royce and other key clients moving away from separate bodies and on to monocoque construction, the London-based coachbuilder was soon absorbed into H.R. Owen. But in its twilight hour, the highly regarded outfit produced this pretty drophead, with a prominent pair of tailfins dominating the design form. This was clearly influenced by their popularity in the States at the time, but the fact that F&W crafted wingtips for the Spitfire during the War might also have played a role in their inclusion.

Last-minute Dutch courage

The extra luggage space was welcome for obvious reasons, but also tucked out of view was not only a spare wheel and toolkit for the practically minded gentleman, but also his-and-hers ashtrays and an extra-large vanity mirror in the passenger-side cubby box. Unusual for the time, the fabric roof folded down hydraulically beneath the rear deck, completely out of sight. A pair of cocktail cabinets could also be found behind the newlyweds’ seats – for when you were safely parked up at your destination, of course. Ultimately, only three ‘Honeymoon Express’ bodies were created by Freestone & Webb – two Rolls-Royces and one Bentley – and with the other two locked into a private collection, this rare Roller seems to be a romantic proposal indeed. It’s currently vying for the affections of both the jury and the public at the 2016 Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza.

Photos: Vantage Motorworks

On 21 and 22 May 2016, the glitterati of the international classic car scene convenes on the shores of Lake Como once again for the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza. Classic Driver will be reporting live from the event in partnership with A. Lange & Söhne, the official watch partner of the world-class automotive beauty pageant.