Introduced in 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II set a new standard for luxury cars. For the first time ever, a Rolls-Royce was powered by an V-8 engine and the chassis and suspension were significantly updated from the original Silver Cloud. Although the new Silver Cloud offered a host of innovations, in the traditional sense, ever-conservative Rolls-Royce still implemented a ladder frame chassis that allowed for one-off, coachbuilt bodywork.
Unexpectedly, the factory did not offer an open version of their standard saloon body, and customers who desired the ultimate in top-down motoring had to commission a coachbuilder to create a custom body on the new Rolls-Royce chassis. Perhaps the most exquisite Silver Cloud II of all was the Mulliner Drop Head Coupe, a delightful open body that incorporated the lines of the saloon, giving the car a strong family resemblance.
Jonathan Winter's car.
These majestic luxury cars were the favored automobiles of the jet set and many coachbuilt Silver Clouds found their way into the garages of aristocrats, bon vivants and Hollywood celebrities.
In the movie A View To A Kill (1985), James Bond (Roger Moore) is driven around in a 1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II by Sir Godfrey Tibbett (played by Patrick Macnee).
The impressive Rolls can be seen in several scenes in and around Château de Chantilly. The car is pushed into a lake by May Day and Max Zorin, while Tibbett and Bond are knocked unconscious in the car. Bond saves himselve by breathing the air from a tyre of the Rolls. However, the car used for the lake scene was a replica as the real Rolls was owned by Bond film producer Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli. The license plate of the original car reads CUB 1, but for the film it was replaced with license plate 354 HYK. The same car can also be seen in the movie Thunderball (1965), when it is parked on the parking lot of health clinic Shrublands (Chalfont Park House).
Albert R. Broccoli, several Bond actors, EON associates and celebrities were driven around in the Rolls-Royce CUB 1 by chauffeur Jimmy O'Connell. The story about the car and driver were recently chronicled by author and Bond fan Mark O'Connell, a grandson of Jimmy, in Catching Bullets – Memoirs Of A Bond Fan. Bond cars and Bond alumni were a familiar feature in both Mark and his father’s childhood – with CUB 1 being the prized leading star his grandfather Jimmy would conduct curtain-twitching vigils to protect overnight and whose chauffeur’s uniform and love of horses (which he shared with Cubby Broccoli) was inadvertently echoed by Macnee’s character.
CUB 1 was a familiar sight around London’s Mayfair district (where Eon Productions had their first offices) and of course Pinewood Studios, where the Rolls naturally had its own parking space. CUB 1 featured too in an O’Connell family wedding and writer Mark wonders if it can be a tradition repeated one day for his own nuptials! Talking of which, in a production house where traditions are imperative, it is still a Broccoli tradition that CUB 1 escorts producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson to the royal premiere of each 007 movie. 2012’s SkyFall was no exception as CUB 1 steered Barbara Broccoli to the biggest red carpet in 007’s history.
This was fun.