Bolte Roller an authentic gem

Riley Riley

Now here’s a car that will make the neighbouts sit up and take notice.

This very rare 1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III once transported long-serving Victorian Liberal Premier Sir Henry Bolte.

It’s one of just 253 built on the longer wheelbase chassis and features Mulliner Park Ward’s standard saloon coachwork equipped with a division.

What’s a division you ask? It’s the wall that separates the driver from the important passengers riding in the back.

The first owner of the Roller is listed as the Premier’s Department, Treasury Place, Melbourne, Australia for the use of the Right Honourable Sir Henry Bolte (then Victorian Premier).

Bolte, a Liberal, is Victoria’s longest serving Premier and held office for 17 years, from June 7, 1955 – August 23, 1972.

He was a strong supporter of capital punishment and refused to grant clemency to Ronald Ryan, the last man hanged in Australia, in 1967.

Bolte was asked by a reporter on the day of the hanging what he was doing at the time the sentence was carried out?

“One of the three Ss, I suppose,” he said.

The reporter asked him what he meant by the three Ss?

Bolte replied: “A shit, a shave or a shower.”

When it comes to classic cars, celebrity ownership makes all the difference in terms of their long term value.

To be auctioned by Shannons next week, the guiding price for this absolute gem is $50,000 to $60,000 which is a pretty good deal.

The car is powered by a 6.2-litre V8 coupled with a four-speed automatic, with drive to the rear wheels.

Completed on November 30, 1962 and delivered through local agents Kellow Falkiner Pty Ltd, its Date of Guarantee was issued on January 23 the following year.

Originally finished in Mason’s Black with a single gold coachline and beige leather upholstery, the car was equipped with a number of options specially ordered for the Premier.

They included full refrigeration, electric windows, a power aerial, Dunlop whitewall tyres, a flag mounting bracket and high frequency horns.

Another unique feature specified was the 8:1 compression engine.

The car reportedly ended up with a doctor in Adelaide before passing to the current owner, a long-time enthusiast then living in Sydney, back in the 1970s.

Rolls club member and fellow enthusiast John Hallihan bought the car in the early 1980s and kept it for some years, during which it was displayed at the Darling Harbour Museum, before it went back to the vendor, now living in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, about 15 years ago.

Apart from an older repaint in the current silver colour scheme, the car presents in very original condition throughout, although the original engine (CL16A) was replaced with one from another Cloud III.

A desirable Silver Cloud III with fascinating Australian provenance, the Rolls will be sold with no reserve.

UPDATE: Unfortunately the car has been withdrawn from sale.

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