THE years following the Second World War sent out a definite message to Britain's car manufacturers - develop or be left in the slow lane.
The statement even got through to the hallowed halls of Rolls-Royce which had long relied on coachbuilders to provide the bodies for its top-drawer automobiles.
The result was the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, astandard, steel-bodiedRolls, made initially for export sales but was such a beauty that home sales followed.
There was an element of early badge engineering to this car as it closely resembled the standard Bentley Mk VI but it definitely did work both visually and in driving enjoyment.
The major changes were at the front end where the Bentley Flying ‘B' radiator grille was replaced by the Rolls-Royce radiator sporting the Silver Lady.
It was referred to as a Standard Sports Saloon, which it was because its razor-edge styling and depths of power imparted a formidable road presence.
The 4,257cc engine used in the Silver Wraith provided the power, but was built with a single Stromberg carburetter as opposed to the twin SU carbs of the equivalent Bentley.
The Silver Dawn's radiator shell was a new design with, for the first time, fixed ‘shutters', the coolant temperature regulation being by thermostatic by-pass as with the Bentley.
The interior was laid out in a manner similar to the more upmarket Silver Wraith with instruments and switches grouped around a centrally mounted speedometer with all the usual veneering one associates with the marque.
In typical Rolls-Royce style some chassis went to the coachbuilders, but the Silver Dawn has to be regarded as the Daddy of the of the late and very great steel-bodied cars to emerge from the Crewe works before the marque was sold and moved south.