Rolls-Royce -- The classic elegance

by Lawrence Dalton. 328pp. 91/2” x 81/4″ (Dalton Watson, 21 Brook Mews North, London W2 3BW, £39.95).

Dalton Watson has a respected name for publishing top-class books about top-class motor cars. This latest is an enlargement and update of the information contained in Rolls-Royce — The Elegance Continues by the same painstaking author, published in 1971.

The new volume has the same high quality photographic content — 560 pictures, 33 drawings and 17 colour-plates, in fact — and takes the record up to the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur, although the longest chapter is about the Silver Wraith, of which almost 900 chassis were made. This great work is essentially a study of coachbuilding and the R-R EC at Paulerspury has been consulted in compiling it. The foreword is by the club’s energetic secretary, who rightly describes Dalton as “a perfectionist and it shows”. It is to the credit of Lawrence Dalton that every different body design used on the Silver Wraith is illustrated. Moreover, the listing of body types includes chassis numbers (previously omitted), delivery date, type and make of the coachwork (even body and design numbers), together with the car’s registration number and first owner. Phantoms IV, V and VI have their own chapters.

The beautiful printing on art paper was done in Hong Kong. A special-offer edition was soon sold out, but now students of R-R history and coachbuilding can buy their copies. Some high-class advertising is included, which I do not much care for because you do not know where the magazine aspect ends and the book begins.

I cannot resist cheering up those unable to run such fine cars by quoting the dedication, “. . . to the wives of Rolls-Royce enthusiasts, who find travelling long distances in early cars on poor roads in bad weather somewhat tedious, and whose thoughts are turning to the snug interior of a post-war car with independent front suspension, a heater and a windscreen wiper that works.” The reaction of wives and girlfriends of VSCC members to that should be rather interesting! WB