Rolls Royce Silver Wraith-fit for a queen

Terry Sutherland, owner of First Class Classics will be showcasing the 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith which has had royalty travel in it, at the upcoming at the Brit and Euro Classic Car Show on Sunday, March 3 at the Lloyd Elsmore Park. With him is Classic Car Show chairman Rev Dr Richard Waugh. Times photo Wayne Martin

If cars could talk, the 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith would have a lot of interesting stories to share.

The sheer, imposing elegance of the gleaming limousine standing proud at the Lloyd Elsmore Park, (the venue for the Brit and Euro Classic Car Show on Sunday, March 3) the first impression is that it’s fit for the Queen.

It’s easy to imagine Her Royal Highness sitting upright in the plush interior, waving out to the eager crowds.

In early 1958, four identical Rolls-Royce Silver Wraths were supplied to the Australian Government for use by them for Royal Tours (most members of the Royal family including Princess Anne) by the Governor-General and for visiting heads of state.

First registered in the same year by the Australian Government, this car that now belongs to Terry Sutherland, of First Class Classics at Harris Road, East Tamaki.

The limousine was first sold to an Australian wedding car company in 1993. On April 15, 2004 First Class Classics purchased the seventh last Silver Wraith model of the era and thereby became its third owner.

Showcasing the car for the first time at the Brit and Euro Classic Car Show, Terry, a former airline pilot for 47 years, says that a lot of couples use the Rolls-Royce for their wedding day.

“You can hire the car for a minimum of three hours and it comes with a driver. A lot of people also hire it for special occasions like their 100th birthday. We give the ladies a tiara and white gloves to emulate the Queen,” he says.

The Rolls Royce comes with a Court of Arms, two flag points and a blue light that indicates royalty and heads of state

Pointing to the sepia-toned pictures of the Rolls Royce arriving at Cunnamulla, Queensland, for Princess Anne’s visit in 1970, Terry says that between 1947 and 1958, Rolls Royce manufactured only 1783 Silver Wraiths. “But these were the last Rolls-Royce cars to be exclusively delivered as solely chassis and engine combinations, relying on coach builders to provide the custom bodywork.  The coach builder was H J Mulliner and Co Ltd of Chiswick, London.”

An original natural timber dashboard, a  sun roof, spacious back seat that can be wound up, pop-up seats for extra passengers, roll-on shades, a glass partition and ash trays are precious reminders of a different era in which bespoke, hand-built motor cars were once made.

Brit and Euro Classic Car Show chairman Rev Dr Richard Waugh is excited about the upcoming show.  “Just last week we had our 1000th classic car registration which was a new milestone as last year’s record number was 837.

“With such a fine array of classic cars and motorcycles – including Terry Sutherland’s 1958 Rolls Royce – and free entry to the public, our event at Lloyd Elsmore Park is now one of the largest free community event in east Auckland and with the distinctive British and European themed event, probably the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Auckland Brit and Euro Classic Car Show is on Sunday, March 3, from 10am-3pm at Lloyd Elsmore Park.