AUG 04th 2014

The world's only Rolls‑Royce with a portaloo?

It’s long been established that when it comes to style, the Italians do not always get it right. Amongst their many famous bedroom-wall beauties have been some horrors, and after careful consideration this 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith LWB with bodywork by Vignale must rank with the latter.

The side-on profile isn’t really that bad. The rear overhang is a bit much, and the rear windscreen rake angle may not be to everyone’s taste, but from that angle it is merely a tad challenging at best. It isn’t until you take in the front of the car and its startled, toothy face that you start to wonder ‘what were they thinking?’ Understated, it is not.

A certain Joseph J Maschuch of New Jersey ordered the car new in 1954, and he would appear to have been something of an eccentric. Whereas most Royce owners would opt for elegant coachwork from the likes of Mulliner Park Ward or Hooper, Mr Maschuch decided to commission the very forward-looking Italian firm of Vignale. So forward-looking were they in fact that, a good five years after this car was made, Lincoln adopted a very similar rear window design for their own for the 1959 Continental. Fortunately, it appears that nobody else was inspired by any of the car’s other design aspects.

A further indication of Maschuch’s eccentricity was the fitting of a lavatory under the right rear passenger seat. Given that curtains do not appear to have been fitted it’s comforting to learn that apparently the five-star, gold painted mobile water closet was used only as a champagne cooler. The best part though, is that in front of the loo he also had a television installed, and a telephone was within reach…

The car will be offered with no reserve by Bonhams at its Quail Lodge event during Pebble Beach week on the 15th August. £210,000 is the upper estimate which seems a lot for Silver Wraith, but then again you’ll never be caught short again…

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