1952 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn


The legend that was to become Rolls Royce was founded in May 1904 when a deal was struck between Frederick Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls. Shortly after the first Rolls Royce motor car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in December 1904. It was agreed that Rolls Royce would initially manufacture four different models being a two cylinder 10hp model, a three cylinder 15hp model, a four cylinder 20hp model and a six cylinder 20hp model. It was immediately apparent that to manufacture their cars Rolls Royce would require a larger factory and the decision was made to establish their headquarters and manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Derby in the east midlands of England.

On the 15th March 1906 the company Rolls Royce Limited was formed and during this year Royce had been developing an improved six-cylinder model with more power than the 30hp. Initially designated the 40/50hp, this was the company’s first all-new model that was also to become known as the Silver Ghost.

Like all car manufactures Rolls Royce was impacted by the first world war, however, post war the company made a strategic decision to manufacture a cheaper smaller car, enter the Rolls Royce 20hp. This model was a success and produced alongside the Silver Ghost and its successor the Phantom ensuring the Rolls Royce motor car company would survive and prosper.

In 1931 Rolls Royce acquired the Bentley motor car company.

Post the second world war a significant milestone in Roll Royce history was the introduction of the Silver Dawn, which was the first model to be built with a factory built body. Only 761 Silver Dawns were built in a production spanning 5 years from 1949 to 1953.

Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for a sale an Australian delivered, three owners from new, restored, matching numbers 1952 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn.

Chassis number SHD30 was delivered new by York Motors in Sydney to a Mr Walter Miller from Barcaldine (near Longreach) in western Queensland. The car was originally finished in ‘tudor grey’ with maroon a leather interior and carpets.

Mr Miller used his car on and about his property and also for regular trips to Brisbane and Sydney. Interestingly in 1958 the car underwent major mechanical repairs, including an engine rebuild. At the time the odometer was 35,001 miles.

The car has an extensive history file from its early days, including the original delivery documents, service record cards and other documentation on file. A service receipt confirms the mileage as 63,379 miles in January 1964. In early 1964 the car again had a major mechanical repairs, including an engine rebuild, repairs to the fuel system, brakes and a suspension overhaul. At the time the odometer was 64,030 miles.

The car was acquired from the Miller family by its second owner in July 1991. The car was ‘well used’ by the Millers and its new owners soon decided to embark on a full body off nut and bolt restoration. This job was trusted to Barry Sparks from NBS Services and it commenced in February 1993. The brief was simple . . . SHD30 would be restored to its original condition, exactly as she left the factory.  There was to be one diversion from original and that was to be the colour scheme for the restored car. The car was painted in two tone green (the light colour is Rolls Royce ‘ice green’ and the darker colour Bentley ‘racing green’) and the interior was trimmed in beige leather with contrasting beige carpets. Everything was restored where possible or replaced with new ‘old parts’. This included the chassis, body, chrome & trim, all of the mechanicals (although the cylinder head was removed the engine was not dismantled) and, the interior including the timber and the instruments. Once completed SHD30 was essentially ‘a new car’! The restoration was complete in DATE and the car subsequently enjoyed by its owners for social gatherings and on many Rolls Royce Owners Club events.

Subsequently, in circa 2002, the decision was made to overhaul the engine and the car has travelled some 15,000 miles since. Today the odometer reads 16,606 miles (the car has travelled 116,606 miles).

The car was then sold by Oldtimer Australia to its third keeper just over a year ago and it has travelled just over 1,500 miles in this time.

The current condition of the car can only be described as exceptional and its condition certainly belies a car that was restored some twenty years ago. The paint, chrome and trim are all excellent as is the interior. The car has had a new set of tyres fitted some twelve months ago and a major service, including work to the brakes and suspension and a general freshen up by NBS Services, just over two years ago. Mechanically SHD30 is ready to use.

The car starts easily and the engine settles into that Rolls Royce idle immediately. Out on the open road the car performs as it should. The engine pulls strongly showing good oil pressure, the gear change is smooth and the car handles and stops efficiently. Everything works as it should, including the trafficators which are just plain ‘cool’!

The car was sold new from York Motors in Sydney so to drive it home the car had to be registered in NSW. It originally carried the registration AGK 389. Immediately on coming to Queensland it was registered as Q615934 and the car carries that same registration number today! If sold in Queensland the registration will transfer with the car.

There are two fabulous period photographs shown. The first was taken the day the car arrived into Queensland when Mr Miller took the car to show his daughter at St Margaret’s School and the second from circa 1959 with a massive eagle on his property in Barcaldine.

A story written by the previous owner on his journey to acquire SHD30 and its subsequent restoration accompanies the car and makes fascinating reading. The car has an owner’s manual and tools in the cabin draw as well as jack and spare wheel.

Having lived with three families in Queensland since 1952 this car presents a unique opportunity as it is an Australian delivered, restored, matching numbers example with a fascinating and known history from new.







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  • Rolls Royce Silver Dawn
  • 1952
  • Sedan
  • Manual
  • 18217 miles
  • 4566cc


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