6 cylinder, in line configuration, one piece cast iron cylinder block and cranckcase
Single dry plate clutch, 4 speed gearbox, synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear
Parallel girder with channel crossmembers and cruciform bracing
Max. speed : 90 mph (144 km/h)
The Silver Dawn's left hand drive
revealed straight away that it was principally destined for the US car
Its chances of success were better than for the Silver Wraith with its coachbuilt body or the Bentley Mark VI.
Infact, the Silver Dawn was nothing
more than a badge-engineered
Mark VI.The standard Steel saloon body was equipped with a Rolls-Royce radiator and instead of emblems
with a winged B, those with the entwined RR were attached. Minor modifications under the bonnet - and t
the bonnet, as this was shaped to conform with the wings' edges - completed the alterations.
The engine was the one that served in the Silver Wraith, i.e. the version with a single carburettor
and a camshaft profile resulting in a slightly lower powered output than that of the Mark VI.
For the American car market the
Silver Wraith was not as attractive
as a car which was tailored to be driven by the owner - it had been designed to be driven by a chauffeur.
This was not the case with the Silver Dawn. Nevertheless this badge-engineered car still did not successfully fulfil the wishes of American buyers because it had a four speed gearbox which was manually operated via a lever at the
steering wheel. In motor cars of the luxury class an automatic gearbox had become common in the USA
earlier than in other parts of the world. Rolls-Royce started to offer this feature in 1952.
Several variants of the Silver Dawn
do exist, distinguishable partly because of their noticeable technical
The original model from 1949 had a capacity of 4,257 cc and was always left hand drive; right hand drive later
became available strictly to special order only. From 1951 the Silver Dawn was available with body unchanged
but fitted with the bigger engine of 4,566 cc. This version was to become referred to as "Big Bore - Small Boot".
The early models of the Mark VI
and the Silver Dawn were both extremely prone to rusting.
This was the first attempt by Rolls-Royce in the field of producing a complete car.
The necessity for careful precautions against later corrosion had not been understood.
This problem was exacerbated by the quality of material - particularly sheet steel - in the early
post-war period which was considerably below the usual Rolls-Royce standard.
There are more Silver Dawns about
today than might be expected - usually extensively restored,
but some still in original condition.
The latter group are, more often than not, guaranteed to be in need of ground-up restoration,
with the most expensive part being the body repairs.