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The Silver Wraith was the first post-war automobile manufactured by Rolls-Royce and was produced from 1946 to 1958. An old black Silver Wraith with a nondescript number-plate is first seen in Ian Fleming's 1958 novel Dr. No and acts as M's chauffeured vehicle. Two Silver Wraiths were featured in the James Bond film franchise, with the first - a 1958 model owned by head of Station 'T', Ali Kerim Bey - appearing in the 1963's From Russia with Love. Over fifty years later, a 1948 model was used as a Spectre-owned limousine during the 2015 film Spectre. A Q Branch-modified vehicle also appeared in the 2005 video-game adaptation of From Russia with Love.
The Silver Wraith was made from 1946 to 1958 as only a chassis at Rolls-Royce's former Merlin engine plant, their Crewe factory, alongside the shorter Bentley Mark VI. The Bentley too was available as a chassis for coachbuilders but also for the first time could be bought with a Rolls-Royce built standard steel body. It was announced by Rolls-Royce in April 1946 as the 25/30 hp replacement for the 1939 Wraith in what had been their 20 hp and 20/25 hp market sector, that is to say Rolls-Royce's smaller car. The size was chosen to be in keeping with the mood of post-war austerity.Improvements announced were: chromium-plated cylinder bores for the six-cylinder engine; a new more rigid chassis frame to go with new independent front suspension and a new synchromesh gearbox. Chassis lubrication was now centralised.
The first cars had an entirely new 127 inch (3226 mm) wheelbase chassis which differed considerably from that of the pre-war Wraith and was much nearer rigid. It matched the new Bentley chassis but with an extra 7 inch section added to the centre. The new chassis had coil sprung independent front suspension, which required a very rigid chassis to function properly, and at the rear conventional semi-elliptic springs and live axle. The braking system was a hybrid hydro-mechanical system with hydraulic front brakes and mechanical rears using the mechanical servo similar to that of the pre-war cars. The last short-wheelbase cars were delivered in November 1953. The long, 133 inch (3378 mm), wheelbase chassis was announced in 1951 and the first delivered in January 1952. 639 were made by the time of the last deliveries in October 1958.
- ↑ Peter Pugh The Magic of a Name: The Rolls-Royce Story, Part 2: The Power Behind the Jets 2015 Icon Books. ISBN 1848319630, ISBN 9781848319639
- ↑ News in Brief. The Times, Thursday, Apr 04, 1946; pg. 2; Issue 50418
- ↑ Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum - Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1. Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum (2008). Retrieved on 2011-01-14.
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