Monterey

18-19 August 2017

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Lot 130

1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Drophead Coupe by Inskip

  • Chassis no. WZB36
  • Engine no. W36B

Sold for $561,000


  • The most sporting, desirable coachwork for the Silver Wraith
  • The last example of American custom coachwork produced on a Rolls-Royce chassis
  • Known history with only three private owners from new
  • A spectacular design in dramatic and beautiful colors
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic


The final two Rolls-Royces produced with American custom coachwork were a pair of lavish drophead coupes, built by former Brewster craftsmen for longtime importer J.S. Inskip of New York. Built on two very early Silver Wraith chassis, these cars featured sumptuous baroque curves, inspired by the French designs of Saoutchik and Figoni, including sweeping fenders decorated with chromed brass, and a distinctively sporting “dip” in the beltline. Few Silver Wraiths were as dramatic as this duo.

The car offered here, chassis number WZB36, was the second and last Inskip drophead coupe completed, and therefore the final Rolls-Royce produced with an American custom body. Build records indicate that the chassis was originally planned for a James Young saloon, but this order was cancelled and the car instead sent to the United States. It was finally sold by Inskip to its original owner, Lawrence S. Donaldson of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 29 January 1951. Mr. Donaldson was an heir to the Donaldson’s department store fortune, and his Silver Wraith was maintained at the family’s historic mansion at 1712 Mount Curve Avenue, which stands to this day as one of the Twin Cities’ grandest residences.

Minnesota banker and early car enthusiast, Andrew Darling, purchased the Silver Wraith from Mr. Donaldson in August 1957. Mr. Darling was a longtime Classic Car Club of America and Rolls-Royce Owners Club member, who loved driving his automobiles and famously maintained one for each month of the year, often with his beloved dog as company. The Inskip drophead coupe was well-maintained in his ownership for nearly four decades, before being sold at the famous auction of his collection by Sotheby’s in 1996.

Shortly thereafter the Silver Wraith was acquired by its current owner, who after maintaining it in its original condition for several more years, commissioned its restoration by the late Mike Fennel of Saugas, California. It was refinished in the present beautiful dark sapphire blue, with a complementary red leather interior and blue cloth top, and presents beautifully throughout, including a well-detailed and restored engine compartment. Today recording 24,910 miles, the car retains its original engine, and is accompanied by a partial set of road tools and copies of its build information and ownership histories from both the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club and the Rolls-Royce Foundation.

Simply put, few Silver Wraiths were truly dramatic and beautiful, and this spectacular example of American coachwork is one of the foremost examples.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more