1 of 760: 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn

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For the Rolls Royce fanatics out there, this 1953 Silver Dawn could represent an exciting project vehicle, for while the restoration of the vehicle was commenced some years ago, the owner is now looking for someone with the skill and enthusiasm to complete the job. The Rolls is located in Rogers, Arkansas, and is listed for sale here on eBay.

The owner says that his father commenced the restoration on the Rolls back in 2012, but he ran out of time. The car has been substantially dismantled, and restoring and reassembling the car is going to represent a major undertaking. However, the owner believes that the car is actually complete. Produced between 1949 and 1955, only around 760 examples were built, with the majority being produced for left-hand drive markets.

In 1951, Rolls Royce increased the engine capacity of the Silver Dawn from 260 to 280ci. This gave the car 150hp and allowed it to reach a top speed of 100mph. From late 1952, Rolls Royce also introduced an optional 4-speed automatic transmission, and it is this combination that is fitted to this car. The owner says that the car ran and drove well prior to the restoration commencing in 2012. Once again, while it appears that the car is mechanically complete, there will be a fair amount of reassembly required before the car moves under its own power again.

The owner’s father was a master craftsman woodworker, and all of the timber interior components have already undergone what can only be described as meticulous restoration work. The interior is complete, but will once again require a certain amount of restoration work, and complete reassembly. Thankfully, with all components present, it should make having new leather components made significantly easier, as existing components will be able to be used as patterns for new parts.

While it will require a lot of work to revive this Rolls Royce Silver Dawn, the completed car should be a beautiful piece of automotive history. It will take a brave individual to take it on, but judging by how spirited the bidding on the car has been so far, there are obviously a few brave people out there. At the time of writing, bidding has reached $5,300, but the reserve hasn’t been met. It will be interesting to see what this one finally sells for.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. rustylink

    you’d have better luck building a time machine and going back to 1953.

    Like 5
  2. mark

    Great project for the right person. This is one of those “try and find another one” deals for the Rolls Royce crowd.

    Like 4
  3. Bob

    There is such a small market for old RR. The cost to restore this car probably exceeds its value. But if someone really loves it, the value is not important. I have lost money on most cars I have owned. But I have enjoyed every minute. Hobbies cost money….period.

    Like 17
  4. John C

    OMG! I almost bought a 1959 RR, about 30 yrs ago. It was in Daily Driver shape.
    To be on the wise side I called RR of Beverly Hills. They were nice enough to put one of their mechanics on the line.

    My jaw dropped and I was stunned by the time I hung up.

    He asked if I was familiar with a famous names widow? I said I do know the name.
    He said, “Her car jus left here yesterday for service and a few small repairs, her bill was $10,000.”

    I said thank you so much. I hung up and never considered a RR again.

    Only the ouija board can correctly predict what it will cost to see this on the road again.

    Good luck to new owner, send pictures and make sure you belong to the Auto Club.

    Like 4
    • Brakeservo

      I have personally owned five Silver Dawn’s, as many Silver Wraiths, and dozens of the Bentley equivalents. They are extremely simple reliable and robust machines. The stories of outrageous costs or unavailability of parts are myths perpetrated by the ignorant who don’t know these cars. That’s not to say that there aren’t quite a few charlatans presenting themselves as expert mechanics and overcharging gullible and naieve owners. For instance, many well known shops will wrote a full brake overhaul including the brakeservo for five or six thousand dollars. I can do one for under $500 in parts and a few days labor. Tuneup parts? Chevy six cylinder points fit perfect, ordinary Champion plugs, the usual generic Lucas parts are typical. Complete engine rebuilds are expensive, (think of the sticker price of a new Honda Accord) a clutch job is very slow and labor intensive, and pulling the radiator is a major undertaking, but if you get a good car without major needs, the average guy can do his own work with commonly available parts. Don’t be afraid of a good one. They were my daily drivers for thirty years.

      Like 8
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        As a former owner of a 1952 Silver Dawn, as well as about 3 dozen other Rolls-Royce & Bentley cars, I have to agree with Brakeservo, what he says about repair costs is very accurate.

        Silver Dawn cars rarely come up for sale, and are a pleasure to drive compared to the larger Rolls-Royce cars like the Silver Wraith. This is not a difficult restoration, and most parts are available either new or good used.

        The woodwork, [if done correctly] is a $4,000 value, as there is a lot of it inside one of these cars. I say “done correctly” because they were created using “mirror-matched” burl walnut veneers, polished to a mirror like finish.

        Like 4
  5. Bill Wilkman

    Unless the PO was meticulous in bagging and tagging everything, reassembly will be a challenge. I believe RR used GM automatics. If this is true at least the transmission rebuild should be reasonable

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      Bill W.
      Yes, the transmission is an original Hydra-Matic, with park gear in reverse [once the engine is stopped]. That said, most of the early units were built by a European company under contract with Rolls-Royce, by the name of Hersey. They were built to a higher level of internal fit & finish, and also have the famous Hispano-Suiza mechanical clutch type power brake system built into the tailshaft.

      Most parts do interchange with the GM variation, including seals, gaskets and bearings, but some “hard parts” like valve body pieces should be replaced as a complete unit.

      Like 1
  6. James Sterrey

    Who dares wins!
    Would be all over that like a bad rash if it were in Australia.

    Like 3
  7. Jim ZMember

    But I am already many $$ into restoring a 1959 Ambassador…sigh!

    Like 1
  8. MikeH

    Back in the early 70s, I was at Overseas Motors in Dallas, buying something for the Morris Minor I was working on. That was back in the day when the only place to get parts for British cars was at the dealer, and the dealer didn’t give a crap whether you got parts or not. Anyway, I was standing at the counter when a guy, who I assume was a runner for a repair shop, came in to pick up brake caliper kits for some sort of a RR. The parts guy puts them on the counter and I’m thinking that they look just like the ATE kits I had just put on my Type 3 VW. I wrote down the ATE number and when I got home, sure enough, it was the same rebuild kit. The only difference was that the one for the RR was $50, probably a shop discount price, and the one for the VW was $5. That cured me of wanting a RR.

    Like 1

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