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Homepage. This page: A series of images featuring a Rolls-Royce Wraith, as used by Bowers of Chesterfield in the 1950s.

Bowers' Rolls-Royce 25/30hp Wraith.

Thanks again to Jim Walker for these photos of FLB 898, a 1939 Rolls-Royce Wraith, with Limousine coachwork by Park Ward. Originally I had titled this car as a Silver Wraith, but I'm instructed that the pre-war cars were called Wraith only, no Silver. It was used, along with various other vehicles including Austin Sheerlines and a Rolls-Royce 20/25, on high-class hire duties around the Chesterfield area. One high profile customer was the (then) Duchess of Devonshire, whenever the Chatsworth Estate cars were unavailable. The first two images are in fact promotional cards given out by Bowers, featuring the Wraith on wedding hire duty. The first card shows Jim's father (also Jim) holding the Rolls' rear door open. The second shows the Wraith and also the firm's 20/25 - regarding the latter, Jim adds: "The R-R 20/25 behind in the ad. photo was very unreliable. It only seemed to keep going when Ray Neaves, the driver shown, drove it. Later, when he moved on, I drew the short straw because it never broke down on me!"
Rolls-Royce Wraith and the 20/25
Jim Walker and the Wraith

An expensive crash involving the Rolls-Royce.

Unfortunately, FLB 898 didn't always look this immaculate while serving with Bowers, as the following photograph from the 1950s demonstrates:
The Rolls-Royce Wraith after a crash with another car
Jim tells the story of how the Rolls-Royce's crash unfolded:
"The accident happened around 1950, Dad driving, when another vehicle turned right across his bows at the traffic lights on the junction of Chatsworth Road and Walton Road, Chesterfield.
It turned out that the the press dies for front and rear wings were destroyed in a bombing raid during the war. Dad was forced to beat-out and re-finish the original aluminium wings. He did an excellent job, but then he was J.E.Walker, M.I.M.I. (so am I by the way, but I could add LAE., T.Eng. also).
There is, in a museum somewhere, an identical model, except for cloth rear upholstery instead of hide, used by Montgomery as a Staff Car during World War 2. Unfortunately the museum escapes me unless it is the Imperial War Museum."
Two more photos showing the damaged Rolls-Royce now follow. Note the old-style traffic lights at the road junction, and the cast iron "finger post" road sign, advising drivers of the route to Ashover, Matlock, Sheffield, Derby and other destinations.
The crashed Rolls-Royce at the scene of the accident
Another view of the Rolls after the accident
In 2012 Robert contacted me with some extra information on the cars shown above:
FLB 898, a 1939 Rolls-Royce Wraith Chassis WXA109: delivered 19.11.1938 (not39), body 4446, 13317, for Capt.R.S.Barnes, and then ended up in the USA, eventually. The 20/25 behind that: Chassis GAW20, 1933 Limousine by Hooper, body 7703, design 5104, which was a standardised design, supplied to W. Waldemar Bauer. Dismantled in the sixties, apparently.
More of Jim's photos will be added to the site shortly. Another pre-war Royce, this time a 20/25 similar to that used by Bowers alongside their Wraith, can be see on the Rolls-Royce 20/25 photo page. Items of paperwork that belonged to the Bower firm can be seen on this page of the site.

2. Silver Wraith Limousine LWB.

David kindly sent over the following three images of his father, Harry Aston, stood with a long wheelbase (with partition) 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith that he owned in the 1960s, until his death in 1968. The registration 462 FPD was a Surrey series introduced in 1958, so either the car was actually a '58 car, or perhaps it had been imported and re-registered? Either way, the car doesn't show up on a search of the DVLA site, and apparently the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club don't know of its current whereabouts either.
Robert sent over some information on this car, previously though to be a Silver Cloud 1, confirming that it is a Silver Wraith LWB Limousine, by James Young.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Coachbuilt Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith by James Young
Front view
Note the old-style traffic lights visible in this side view of the Silver Wraith.
Side view of the Silver Wraith limousine
Return to Old Car Photos section, Page No. 10.

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