Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn

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See also the 1994–1998 Silver Dawn
Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn
Rolls Royce Silver Dawn 1953 4566cc.JPG
Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Ltd
Production 1949–1955
760 made[1]
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car (F)
Body style 4-door saloon
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Related Silver Wraith
Bentley Mark VI
Bentley R Type
Engine 4.3 L I6
4.6 L I6
Transmission 4-speed manual or 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 120 in (3,048 mm)[2]
Length 4877 to 5334 mm (192 to 210 inches)[2]
Width 69 in (1,753 mm)[3]
Height 64.5 in (1,638 mm)[3]
Predecessor None
Successor Silver Cloud
1952 car exported to the North American market

The Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn is a full-size luxury car that was produced by Rolls-Royce at their Crewe works between 1949 and 1955. It was the first Rolls-Royce car to be offered with a factory built body which it shared, along with its chassis, with the Bentley Mark VI until 1952 and then the Bentley R Type until production finished in 1955. The car was first introduced as an export only model. The left hand drive models had a column gear change, while right hand drives had a floor change by the door. Only with the R Type based model was it officially available on the home market, from October 1953.[1][4]

A mere 760 were produced between 1949 and 1955. Earlier models up to circa May 1954 had a different fascia (dashboard) from the Bentley Mk.VI and 'R' Type, and were fitted with a single exhaust system. Later models from the SRH chassis series had the Bentley style fascia and the twin exhaust system, as fitted to the Bentley 'R' Type. On the Standard Steel cars throughout the production history, all the body panels forward of the bulkhead/firewall were slightly different from those fitted to the Bentley.[1]

The in-line six cylinder engine had overhead inlet and side exhaust valves and had a capacity of 4,257 cc until 1951 when it was enlarged to 4,566 cc. The carburettor was a single downdraught Stromberg until 1952 when it was replaced by a Zenith. [2]

A four speed manual gearbox was fitted to all cars at first, with a 4-speed automatic becoming an option in late 1952 on the 'E' Series chassis, and on the corresponding Bentley 'R' Type chassis. [5]

The suspension was independent at the front using coil springs while at the rear the live axle used half elliptic leaf springs. The car had a separate chassis made with traditional riveted construction until 1953 after which it was welded. Servo assisted 12.25 in (311 mm) drum brakes were used, hydraulically operated at the front but retaining mechanical operation at the rear. Although many cars were fitted with factory built bodies, others were supplied to external coachbuilders.


A factory bodied Silver Dawn with automatic transmission tested by The Motor magazine in 1954 had a top speed of 94.0 mph (151.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 15.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 15.4 miles per imperial gallon (18.3 L/100 km; 12.8 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £4704 including taxes.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Martin Cannell
  2. ^ a b c The Rolls-Royce Motor Car. Anthony Bird and Ian Hallows. Batsford Books. 2002 ISBN 0-7134-8749-6
  3. ^ a b c "The Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn". The Motor. May 5, 1954. 
  4. ^ A-Z of Cars 1945-1970. Michael Sedgwick and Mark Gillies. Bay View Books. 1986. ISBN 1-870979-39-7
  5. ^ Contrary to erroneous reports, the automatic gearbox was never standardised, and the synchromesh gearbox was available until the end of production. Martin Cannell.