Rolls-Royce resumed civilian production after WW2 with the Silver Wraith, introduced in 1946. Rolls-Royce's first post-war model, the Silver Wraith employed a chassis similar to that of the Mark VI Bentley, though with a 7" longer wheelbase. The Wraith however, was only offered with traditional coachbuilt bodies rather than the Mark VI's pioneering 'standard steel' bodywork.
Powering Rolls-Royce's post-war range was a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine of cast-iron, monobloc construction with aluminium cylinder head featuring overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. 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 4,566cc and a long-wheelbase version introduced. Production ceased in 1959, by which time 1,783 chassis had been completed, 639 of them the long-wheelbase version. They were ordered by a diverse cross section of customers, including governments who purchased them for presidential use, while a number were bought by nobility and royal families all over the world. The Silver Wraith also found favour amongst captains of industry as well as recognised stars of the entertainment world, making it a very successful model for Rolls-Royce.
The last word in motoring luxury in its day, this automatic-transmission Silver Wraith on the long-wheelbase chassis has the 4,887cc engine introduced in the second half of 1954. Chassis number 'HLW6' was completed in December of 1958 to the order of Count Manuel A Matos, who had purchased the first Bentley Cresta ('B447CD') some ten years previously. Built to design number '8500' by Hooper & Co, it features their Empress Touring Limousine coachwork with cutaway spats over the rear wheels. 'HLW6' is one of only six cars built in this style and as a late Silver Wraith it also features power steering, while the 4.9-litre engine is equipped with twin SU HD8 carburettors (early examples were fitted with a single Zenith which was subsequently replaced by twin HD6 carburettors). It was also fitted with a standing mascot as opposed to the kneeling type fitted to earlier cars. 'HLW6' is one of very few Silver Wraiths produced to this mechanical specification, the most advanced offered.
This particular car was restored in the late 1980s and was supplied by Frank Dale & Stepsons in early 2005. In the ensuing six years it was well campaigned on various rallies and long journeys, covering approximately 15,000 miles while being carefully maintained. It is fitted with a powered internal division, sideways-facing occasional seats in the rear compartment and a picnic table. It also has one notable modern upgrade: a rear parking camera with display screen discreetly placed on the driver's sun visor, so it is only visible when required. Checked, prepared and tested by Frank Dale & Stepsons immediately prior to sale, the car is offered with sundry maintenance invoices, a UK V5C registration document and fresh MoT certificate.
James Crickmay acquired the Silver Wraith in 2012 and used it in and around London for social occasions and also at R-REC events. The final upgrade to the car, at James's request, was for air conditioning to be installed as he had planned on using it on the continent, something he was not able to do due to illness.