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Driving a 'Chinese' Silver Cloud


1965 rolls_royce_silver_cloud_III_joris_bergsma_470

Two weeks ago we were invited at the 50th birthday of carjournalist and photographer Marius Hille Ris Lambers. Very kind, especially when he added that he needed a driver for the 1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III as on the menu of the afternoon was a short drive-out. The first and last time when we drove a Rolls was a 20/25 Saloon somewhere between Beijing and Shanghai.  This was during the 2015 Classic Car Challenge China. So we were pleasantly surprised (no tricks here) that this Silver Cloud actually did the same rally in 2016 (the door stickers still on). So now we feel we are sort of a Chinese Rolls Royce connaisseur.

Next time we will try the 'chinese eyes' fixed head coupe that was present on the same occasion. Maybe even with the 2017 Beijing to Shanghai for which the brochure is available online.
 
We got on board of the mighty LWB with devision with ample room for four passengers. After a little warm up the brakes lost their funny noises, the auto transmission started behaving and the engine became quiet as it should be. We didn't use the division window as some escaping exhaust fumes of the 6,2 litre V8 would have made life in the rearseat impossible. The LWB over two ton automobile may seem a big lump to handle, but the best car in the world gives the feeling you don't need to worry about all that. The large thin steering wheel has a strong power assist but gives a very clear feel of the road and we had no problem whatsoever to guide the majestic limousine along narrow misty country roads and little roundabouts.

Less enthousiasm for the pre- ergonomy dashboard. Even worse than any pre-war arrangement. While driving in dark and mist and not really used to the car your sribe was in a continuous struggle to find wipers, lights and more in the mahogany field of controls. It may have been the age of the car - slightly older than Marius - but the heating and the defogging arrangement of the car only made noises but didn't produce any of the promised effects. Well at least it brought back vivid memories to most of the cars of that era we ever owned. 
 
Yet not one of those had the sovereign power of this British V8 that would take off effortlessly at any speed with the two tons of metal and five inhabitants. As the manufacturers used to say and write regarding engine output: "sufficient". One of the better old time understatements that fits a Rolls. Or at least this Silver Cloud III with Chinese experience.
 
Photos courtesy OneStop Photo. Special thanks for making available the car Hooper International
 
text by Joris Bergsma

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