Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith (1946 – 1959) Review

Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith (1946 – 1959) At A Glance


+Stately and very clearly a pre-war luxury car - in full-size

-Straight-six engine struggled to pull this car along convincingly, no longer really deserved the 'best car in the world' epithet

As was the way with many British car companies, Rolls-Royce re-started production after WW2 with a car very closely based on the pre-war Wraith. The 1946 Silver Wraith used the same 127-inch chassis as its predecessor, but had an upgraded engine and was offered with more contemporary coachwork. It was still very upright and traditional, though - just as a flagship should be. 

At first, the Silver Wraith was available only for export, its home market having to wait until 1948 before home sales commenced. It featured coil sprung independent front suspension and semi-elliptic rear with a live axle, and had an interesting hybrid hydromechanical braking system. Initially, it was powered by the 4257cc straight-six engine closely based on the pre-war unit, but this rose to 4566cc in 1951 and then again to 4887cc in 1954.

The Silver Wraith was offered as a bare chassis only, and it was up to the owner to have a coachbuilder construct the body, with Mulliner proving the most popular option.

Ask Honest John

Can you help me trace the history of a Rolls Royce classic?

"I recently purchased a 1974 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow long wheel base. I'm trying to find out any history of this vehicle. Can you help, please? The plate under the bonnet says it is a Silver Shadow as does the log sheet but I have been told it may be a Silver Wraith. Thank you. "
I'd get in touch with the Rolls Royce Owners Club ( - they'll be able to help you identify the car. Initially, they were just long wheelbase Shadows but after a while got the name Silver Wraith II. As well as the longer wheelbase, they're often identified by a smaller or even deleted rear window. They also have a vinyl roof - but this was an option on Shadows. Tracing the history of a car is tricky, but if the car is known already to the club they may have some info.
Answered by Keith Moody
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