Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

The Silver Wraith was the first post-war Rolls-Royce model and was manufactured at the Crewe factory from 1946 to 1959. None of the cars carried factory bodies, as all chassis went to independent coachbuilders. It is absolutely fascinating to compare the level of care that went into making a Rolls-Royce to the lack of care that is taken in auto making today. In fact, the Irish Presidential State Car is a 1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. Anyhow, the first cars had a 127 inch wheelbase chassis based on the one from the pre-war Wraith with coil sprung independent front suspension and semi elliptic rear with a live axle. The long, 133 inch, wheelbase chassis was announced in 1951, and in total, 639 were made until 1959. The last short wheelbase cars were made in 1953. The engine was also based on the Wraith but had a new cylinder head with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves that initially had a capacity of 4257 cc. After 1951 this was increased to 4566 cc, and in 1954 it was increased again to 4887 cc on the long wheelbase models. Initially only a four speed manual transmission was offered, but this was supplemented by a General Motors automatic option from 1952. In a bit of history, Douglas Hyde, the first president of Ireland was provided with a state car, but his stroke early in his term of office meant that he rarely traveled in public. When he retired in 1945, the Irish state decided that his successor, Sean T. O'Kelly, needed a special state vehicle for formal occasions. O'Kelly wanted to have a state horse-drawn carriage whereas others wished to have a car. It does not even seem imaginable that someone would decline a Rolls-Royce as his or her mode of transportation. Nevertheless, that is exactly what he did and he was not transported to the 1945 Irish presidential inauguration in the previously used Silver Wraith.