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It’s A Stretch! 1958 V8 Rolls-Royce

Barn Finds has readers, and commenters, from all over the world. I see comments arrive from the U.K., France, Australia, South Africa, and of course, Canada. If I’ve failed to mention other locales, a thousand pardons but these are the countries most noted. I’m concerned with this post and that’s because our U.K. followers may get chaffed by this most British of motoring icons, a 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and all of its alterations – all is not as it seems so stay tuned and I’ll explain. Located in Santa Clara, California, this Silver Cloud stretch is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $95,000 (about £76,000).

A Silver Cloud was “THE” go-to Rolls-Royce model, during its 1955 to 1966 production run. It was offered in three different series and our subject car is from the first series (’55-’58), one of about 2,000 assembled. Built on a 123″ or a 127″ wheelbase, our Silver Cloud has been stretched way beyond that point, so far in fact, that it now rides on a “custom-built” GM chassis. There is no word as to what or how this car has been engineered and constructed, it is just noted that the work was performed by Central Conversions Inc. which specializes in GM to Rolls Royce conversions.  It’s hard to tell much about this custom as the listing images are smokey and all about the same with little variety.

The guts of the matter is the powerplant; it’s out with the original 4.9 liter in-line R.R. six and in with a Chevrolet Performance Parts crate 350 CI V8 of unknown specification. The image of the engine isn’t detailed but it looks like no great shakes though it should be reliable and inexpensive to maintain. Backing up the small block is a GM 700R4 automatic transmission.

The interior is cavernous, exactly what one would expect on a limo of this size. We’re told that it has, “Dual AC units front and rear, dual AC compressors, and dual Cocktail bars (Oh Yeah!)”. The color palette is white, gray, and black but it’s doubtful that all of those seating surfaces are made from Connolly hides. The custom fabrication appears to have all been facilitated with a high quality of effort and results but a thorough inspection would be necessary to ascertain with certainty. And for 95 large, a visual eyeballing is recommended.

So, is it cool, a monstrosity, or an affront to Rolls-Royce’s stateliness, quality, and originality? It looks like a haul-around-Miami party car to me but I suppose it has value beyond a night on the town fun-time use. One thing seems certain, however, a return to this Rolls’ origins would probably make for some serious tight London street driving gymnastics, right?

Comments

  1. kg

    Always clean the camera lens before taking photos

    Like 3
  2. nlpnt

    Surprised the company that stretched it is still in business, this screams “done in the ’80s” to me.

    Like 5
  3. Woody

    As a Brit who cherishes the rolls Royce brand, I actually find this quite cool and don’t have a problem with it, after all it’s still looking like a RR!

    Like 8
    • Joe W

      Woody, I agree totally. It still says classic! The photos of the interior say that as well.

      Like 2
  4. Steve

    If you also stretch the front you could drop in a RR engine out of a Spitfire.

    Like 11
  5. Steve Clinton

    You could park this in California and Arizona at the same time.

    Like 4
    • Steve

      Reminds me of a swimming pool at a hotel in Reno, NV where you can swim back and forth between NV and CA.

      Like 3
      • Beel

        It might have been at Cal Neva at King’s Beach instead, as it spans the state line.

  6. Rob

    The real stretch is calling this a barn find

    Like 6
    • Steve

      Must have been a really big barn.

      Like 4
    • $ where mouth is

      Here here Rob !,
      My sentiments exactly. Like ebay and other once loved websights, theyve swayed so far from theyre original purpose but more so what made them popular in the first place. I keep thinking i should start another one but keep it true. BarnFinds needs a weekend in meditation and self actualizing in hopes to return to its true self.
      Or change the name and ill start a new one with actual barn finds..
      As for this faux RollsRoyce, yes it looks beautiful, nice wheel choice BUT one of the main components of an RR that makes its so valuable and exceptional is the RR motor, which is gone, and the interior, which from what i can see these sests look cheap, not comfortable, like out of an old travel-all or something.

      Id say its worth $60k and thats a stretch ;)
      Though ive never shopped for a limo, so, my value assesment is well, not that valuable .

      Like 3
      • David Frank David Frank Member

        While it is true that they have strayed some, at least there are still lots of actual barn finds. I don’t mind the truly unique. It’s the nothing special custom cars that make me sad because I know they are chosen over true barn finds or survivors. There are still lots of both out there. Check out this barn find!!! It even includes the original (corvette) Nomad concept car!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpVNw1jmB6c

        Like 6
      • Armstrongpsyd Armstrongpsyd Member

        “I keep thinking I should start another one but keep it true.” Maybe it’s time to put your money where your mouth is? BF does a good job of entertaining motor heads with actual barn finds and interesting vehicles. Turning out a daily blog is harder than you can obviously guess. BF’s posts rarely leave me without at least one rig that causes me to click on it. That’s a pretty impressive stat. Managing our expectations might be a good measure of who we are. Let’s not expect perfection from an auto blog, but instead appreciate the effort put into this daily break from the greater reality.

        Like 11
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Armstrongpsyd:

        Thank you for your comment. And what a monotonous world this would be if we churned out the same old “stuff’ day after day.

        As for your assessment of, “Turning out a daily blog is harder than you can obviously guess“. All I can say is, “Damn straight!” I live the life daily and it’s a chore some days but fortunately we have a team of skilled writers. In my case, it’s the variety of subjects that keeps me going.

        Thx,

        JO

        Like 12
  7. Rick 1

    We’re getting the band back together.

    Like 3
  8. Kirk

    The interior has all the luxury of a metro transit bus. All this stretch has done is given more leg room than a professional basketball player would have use for and made for a very expensive car that cant be driven around corners anymore without alot of stress and pre planning. I think the original 127 inch was plenty big and a much nicer RR than this turned out to bè IMO

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Kirk,

      Metro bus interior? YEP!

      As someone who owned and operated a vintage Rolls-Royce limo service with upwards of 7 vehicles, I can say with confidence this car was created “down to a price” to be used in commercial limo service. Having owned and restored [I had a restoration shop that specialized in Rolls-Royce] several Silver Cloud vehicles, I know that there is a downwards sloping “sweep line” from the front fender to the rear door. When this was stretched, that line was basically cut in 2, and the added section is horizontal, destroying the natural slope of the original design.

      The “drinks bars” are out of a limo accessory catalog, the seats and stretched interior panels don’t match the original color of the door cards, and the dual A/C system was fabricated & installed by someone who really didn’t understand mobile air conditioning. Who puts exposed fans and heat exchanger coils in the trunk, where luggage quickly thrown in can do some damage, or if some paperwork was set on the trunk floor, where it could be sucked into the fans? The changes made to the interior were not done to the far higher quality that’s expected in a Rolls-Royce. This car’s all about a cheap thrill for people who only want it for a few hours of use.

      I was also disappointed to see the company had done a GM chassis conversion to a very rare Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, as the entire production run of the Dawn was only 760 vehicles, and they are highly prized today. I don’t remember the exact breakdown of production, but the Silver Dawn they converted was a late series “big boot” version, and I’m not sure they even made 100 examples.

      Like 2
  9. $ where mouth is

    Dear Jim, Armstrong,,
    Please dont mistake my shared critique of the legit point that BarnFinds has an increasing number of not barn finds, i love this sight.
    Im not suggesting the cars posted arent worthy of posting or that the write ups arent well worded, educational, enjoyable.
    I was considering applying for the position i read BF is hiring for; love Barn Finds.
    To be clear, as i keep encountering more amd more, people complaining about dust and presentation, clearly confused as to what one ought expect with an actual barn find..
    Please know that the work and presentation is exceptional and im sure i ‘speak’ for all of us when i write : THANK YOU

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Thx!

      JO

      Like 1
  10. Quidditas

    An abomination …

  11. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I often wonder what the companies who create these one-off stretch cars from used cars, and the limousine companies who buy them to rent by the hour to the public, consider when it comes to the liability question in case of an accident when the limo is hit in the side by a large vehicle.

    Stretch coachbuilders that lengthen brand new vehicles have to submit examples to NHTSA [or sometimes computer generated accident tests] certifying the vehicles meet the current safety standards. Cars like this stretch likely have ZERO testing performed IRT or by computer modeling.

    I know of a specific case where a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was stretched, and then involved in a traffic accident resulting in several deaths. The car in question actually fell apart from the accident. If I wanted to use this vehicle in a commercial endeavor, I wouldn’t even consider such a vehicle if the company doing the stretch could not produce evidence of a permanent financial bond addressing such a possibility.

    It’s one thing to cut a vehicle in half and add a new frame and central body shell [it’s not that hard], but to show evidence that proper testing shows it meets current [at the year of the modification] safety requirements is very important.

    In the 1980s the Rolls-Royce coachbuilder Hooper & Co. in London decided to build a limited production Silver Spur Limo. It was not just a “cut and lengthen” process, they also cut behind the rear doors as well, and added 4″ to the roof line so it was still in proportion to the whole car.

    Hooper worked with Rolls-Royce to come up with the CGI info required by the UK, US, and German governments to be able to sell the cars with full R-R warranty. I was one of the guys involved in the process and helped get it thru the US hurdles. They added over 30 kilos of side intrusion barriers to meet US requirements. That’s a lot of steel, and involved extra bracing to the underside and into the roof as well! Somewhere I have photos of the design and building of these limousines, it was as if they were almost building another body from scratch. I ended up writing a story about the Hooper limousines for one of the Rolls-Royce club publications once the cars were approved for sale.

    Like 3
  12. Ward William

    While it is a horrible thing to do to a regal old lady, it could well be a decent moneymaker. Think about it, reliable V8 and loads of British space and snottiness inside, if you were to buy it and operate it as an owner/driver business, you could recoup that money in 1-2 years and then it’s all profit.

  13. Gary

    I was at Jegs in Columbus Oh back in the mid to late nineties and either they or someone who rented the lower level were doing some stretched Lincoln limos. They had them in various stages of completion and while they looked to be nicely built I could see where they would come apart at the seams in a bad collision much like a rv does, just exploding. Way to much wheelbase on a stretched car chassis

  14. Cam W.

    Be very careful when dealing with any stretched or significantly modified vehicle. As Bill McC points out, any new vehicle being modified for sale must comply with FMVS standards, testing, and documentation rules. This law does not apply to used vehicles. There are lots of older models floating around from before the rules were made, or before the rules were enforced.
    This came to a head around 30 years ago, with a string of fatalities involving such vehicles. This included ambulances with poorly engineered cot-mounts and cabinetry. The ensuing lawsuits put an end to some conversion companies, including government entities that had been making their own ambulances. Everything from armoured cars, through buses, and motorhomes, sold-new, or purchased with intent to modify must comply with FMVSS. If you have purchased a cab-and-chassis, or “police package” vehicle, you will find a separate manual on conversion, modification, and equipment placement.
    Many stretched vehicles like the Roller shown here are purchased for some sort of commercial use. Most States or Canadian Provinces do not require specialized inspection or engineering reports. If it meets basic minimum standards, it will likely get plated. Many insurance companies are also reluctant to insure modified vehicles. BTW, if you “forget” to notify your insurance company of such details, they will consider the omission as a “material misrepresentation”, and deny coverage (and dump you).
    On old rides like this, the owner/operator assumes most if not all potential liability.
    For anyone considering using something like this on public roads, my advice is to seek (verifiable) proof of FMVSS compliance.

    Like 2
    • Steve

      Can,
      Is that why ambulances today are built on van or truck chassis?
      I prefer the looks of “old” ambulances over van and truck-like ambulances; but if need be I’d rather be in a safe ambulance. I know I won’t care what the hearse I’m riding in looks like!

      • Cam W.

        There are 3 types of ambulance bodies commonly in use in North America (and around the world):
        Type ! is built on a regular dual-wheel pickup or medium-duty truck chassis with a ambulance body behind the cab. These are popular with fire Depts like FDNY.
        Type 2 uses the regular van chassis, and used to commonly feature a “high-top” roof conversion. These used to be the most common, but have become less so as they tend to have less carrying capacity and space than Type 1 or 3. The “Sprinter” style body is very popular in Europe, and some services use it in North America as well.
        The Type 3 is the dual-wheel “cube-van” style, and is probably the most common. They have decent storage space, and tend to cost less than a Type 1, and take slightly less space.
        I used to have a business supplying ambulances for TV/Film, and had a fleet of about 30 units of all 3 types. Most were current, but some were “period”, so I am very familiar with FMVSS issues. There was a time in the 90s when I was able to buy some nice looking units really cheaply because they did not comply with FMVSS. We used them only as static props, and did not transport people with them. They were often simply parked around a building (with background extras dressed like doctors, nurses, medics milling about to establish a “hospital” shot).

        Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Cam W,

      I couldn’t have said it better, thanks for the follow up!

      Sometimes the government can be their own worst enemy when it comes to trying to enforce new regs on existing vehicles. Case in point;

      A long time friend in Baltimore was running a wedding photography and vintage limo company. He was using several older British limousines, the types with a steel chassis and a wood-framed body covered with aluminum. In the mid 1980s the limo and taxi commission announced a new regulation that required ALL limousines regardless of year of manufacture, to have seat belts for all passengers.

      As it wasn’t possible to install seat belts in folding jump seats, he ended up removing the folding seats. But for the back seat area, the only possible way to attach the seat belts was to cut holes in the floor and bolt the seat belt brackets directly to a frame crossmember. This was the only method the inspectors would approve.

      Fast forward a few years and one of the cars was involved in a serious accident, and on impact the wood body frame broke free from the chassis. This resulted in 2 rear seat passengers almost dying due to the seat belts holding them in place while the car’s body moved up and away from them.

      Multiple suits were filed and eventually settled out of court, with the state being held partially responsible as they had been informed in writing [before the accident] by a mechanical engineer, that the addition of the seat belts in the approved manner, would likely result in the damages seen in the accident, and were the direct cause of the passenger internal organ injuries. I was one of the court-recognized expert witnesses involved in 2 of the cases against the government.

      Because the state asked for the settlements to be sealed prior to actual judgements, I can’t mention the state or the names of those involved, but the regulation is still in effect. So even today one cannot legally rent a vintage limo or automobile in our state if it doesn’t have an all steel body with seat belts installed to the body shell, as it won’t pass the limo or taxi commission inspection.

      Like 1
  15. Steve

    Cam – thanks. Obviously you know what you’re talking about when it comes to modern ambulances. What shows and/or movies were your ambulances in?

  16. Cam W.

    Steve: I was in the “picture car” business from the late 80s until 2008. Together with my partners, we owned several hundred cars. Alot were beater cop-cars and taxis. My ambulances were in hundreds of TV series episodes in shows like Due South, FX the Series, Robocop, Sci-Factor, Monk, !-800 Missing. The ambulances were also used in many feature films, direct-to-video, and “Movie of the Week” type shows. Some include 16 Blocks, Exit Wounds. We supplied personnel to operate the ambulance on camera, so I got to be in the background in some scenes with actors like Michael Douglas, Steven Segal, Robert DeNiro, the late Charles Bronson, and James Garner. Garner was a true car-guy, and would hang around and tell us stories about off-camera adventures with he and Steve McQueen street-racing. We also supplied ambulances for many music videos: BTW, google Philosopher Kings video “Cry”, that is me driving the Type 1 ambulance. I bought it with crash-damage from Detroit Fire Dept, and rebuilt it. It was one of their last 454gas engine units. It was really quick. I drove it for moving shots with police escort on several occasions, and sometimes had to wait for police to catch up.

    Like 1

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