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Silver Cloud II: The Rolls-Royce beneath the Crystal

Rolls-Royce done the impossible by turning their core model of motor cars, the Silver Cloud II, into a Jewel. Find out how.

Silver Cloud II
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On July 17th, Rolls Royce and Swarovski unveiled their first cooperative project at Munich’s Four Seasons hotel. At the gala, a pair of ballerinas pulled back the cover on the companies’ creation, a 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II covered in over one million Swarovski crystals.

While more sporting gentlemen may have preferred the Silver Cloud-based Bentley S2, there was no doubt that this Rolls was the ultimate car for chauffeured travel in the 1950s and 60s.

The Silver Cloud II reached production in 1959. The previous car’s straight 6 was replaced by a new aluminum 6.2 liter motor, the first V8 used by the brand. Like other Rolls Royce engines, the company listed its power output as “adequate,” although test numbers from the time show a major improvement in performance, managing to go from 0 to 60 mph in just under 11 seconds with a top speed of 114 mph.

Many features we now take for granted were new additions to the Silver Cloud. Power steering had been made standard, and both electric windows and air conditioning were offered as options. The automatic transmission may have been sourced from GM, but the four speed unit was far more advanced than the two speed Powerglides used in General Motors’ own products.

Although a separate frame was used to allow the company to bolt on any body desired by their customers, about 2,400 of the 2,700 cars built during its production run the standard sedan body as seen on this model. Even though aluminum alloy was used on the doors to save weight, the sedan still weighed over 4,500 lbs. At 213 inches long and 75 inches wide, the car is about a foot longer than a modern Mercedes-Benz S-class.

The Silver Cloud cost just $9,526 in 1962, or about $70,000 in today’s money. Today, pristine examples sell well north of $100,000, with rare variants like the convertible Drophead Coupe body trading for over $200,000.

Bejeweling a Classic

Thanks to their amazing clarity and consistency, Swarovski crystals have become the go-to material for adding visual pop to everything from cell phone covers to shoes. The manufacturer first delved into the car world in 2009 with a pair of Mercedes-Benz SL600’s, one silver and one gold. Each car received a coating of 300,000 crystals. Although neither car was sold, the estimated value for one of these Mercedes was placed at around $1 million.

This new Silver Cloud goes well beyond its predecessors: The unique design of the crystals used on the Silver Cloud lets them act like prisms, splitting white light into all the colors of the rainbow. Their smaller size and even coating across the car’s pearl-painted body panels are responsible for creating a much more vivid effect.

With a cost of around a quarter for each crystal, this car’s unique decoration is valued at $250,000, and that’s before taking into account the massive amount of work it took to add them: Although Swarovski will only say the build took “several years,” the working time frame involved six full-time employees.

Unlike the Mercedes, the Silver Cloud II will be sold to the public via an auction. The proceeds from this sale will go to Help in Motion, a charity that operates free clinics to help addicts recover from drug abuse. This unique vehicle is expected to sell for at least $1.25 million.


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