Introduced in the early months of 1955 as successors to the aging Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn and Bentley R-Type, the freshly unveiled Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Bentley S-Type showcased streamlined bodywork mounted on a novel box-section chassis featuring enhanced brakes and suspension.
Accompanied by an enlargement to 4,887cc and the incorporation of a six-port cylinder head, the reliable inlet-over-exhaust six-cylinder engine witnessed a significant boost in output. However, as the 1960s approached, the development of this engine neared its conclusion, prompting Rolls-Royce to transition to V8 power.
Given that the V8 had become the predominant power unit in Rolls-Royce’s crucial export market, the United States, it was only natural for the Crewe firm to draw inspiration from the finest American designs, particularly those of Chrysler and Cadillac.
Unveiled in the fall of 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 maintained an external appearance indistinguishable from their ‘Cloud and S-Type predecessors. Yet, their performance underwent a substantial enhancement, courtesy of the new 6,230cc aluminum-alloy V8 engine.
Despite being wider and shorter than the replaced ‘six,’ the new power unit seamlessly fit into the engine bay, with the most noticeable alteration being the relocation of the steering box from inside to outside of the chassis frame.
Externally, the new models presented an almost unaltered aesthetic, while beneath the surface, Rolls-Royce’s exclusive four-speed automatic transmission became the sole offering, and power steering became standard. Enjoying immense success both domestically and internationally, the Silver Cloud II remained in production until the autumn of 1962.