To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION at RM Sothebys' Open Roads, Fall event, 11
- 20 November 2020.
$300,000 - $330,000
- One of just 52 LHD examples executed by coachbuilder H.J.
- Delivered new to noted Chicago businessman and art collector
Samuel G. Rautbord
- Later owned by real estate titan Lewis Rudin, a.k.a. 'Mr. New
- Recent mechanical and cosmetic restoration; over $150,000 USD
in accompanying invoices
Among the most elegant postwar bodies created for Rolls-Royce was
the Silver Cloud II Drophead Coupe by H.J. Mulliner, design number
7504. The car was known as an "Adaptation," and it was created
using a factory standard steel saloon body that had been modified
into a convertible by removing the steel top, fitting two doors in
place of the usual four, and adding a modified chromed waistline
moulding. So extensive were Mulliner's modifications that the
resulting car was, in its every detail, essentially a fully custom
body, and indeed, the cars were available with the same range of
bespoke options available to any Rolls-Royce client-that is to say,
anything the buyer desired.
This stunning left-hand drive Drophead Coupe example offered here,
chassis LSZD53, was delivered new in August 1961 to noted Chicago
businessman and art collector Mr. Samuel G. Rautbord. A copy of its
original build sheet illustrates that it was specified from new
with electric windows, plain "Sundym" glass, lambskin rugs,
provisions for the installation of a Delco-Remy aerial, a specially
configured rear divider, and bespoke dual red stripes adorning the
hood and beltline. Presented today still wearing much of its
original interior upholstery and wood trim, it is one of just 75
left-hand drive, short-wheelbase examples executed that year, of
which 52 were bodied by H.J. Mulliner.
Born into an impoverished immigrant family, Rautbord worked his way
up through law school, and by 1939 had joined the American
Photocopy Equipment Company (APECO) as its part-time legal counsel.
In 1944, amidst APECO's nosedive towards bankruptcy, Rautbord
bought out one of the major partners and took over management of
the firm. As company president and savior, Rautbord would find
great success-expanding the company, taking APECO public in 1957,
splitting its stock in 1960, and acquiring diversified businesses
with the help of his two sons, Clayton and Robert. Rautbord and his
second wife Dorothy were well regarded for their philanthropy and
art collecting habits, and in particular as patrons of the Art
Institute of Chicago and the British Museum.
Contemporary press of the time notes that Mr. Rautbord was renowned
for his penchant for this Rolls-Royce, though he reportedly rarely
drove it himself-instead preferring to have his chauffeur do the
task for him.
At some point around the time of Rautbord's passing in 1979, LSZD53
was acquired by New York City real estate magnate Lewis Rudin.
Interestingly, accompanying documentation shows that the
consignor's workshop was responsible for maintaining this chassis
for "Mr. New York" all those years ago. Later ceded to Rudin's
third wife, Basha Szymanska, this chassis remained relatively
dormant over the intervening two decades. In 2015, Szymanska
commissioned noted workshop Automotive Restorations of Stratford,
Connecticut to return LSZD53 to the pinnacle of roadworthy
A thorough folder of service documentation (100-plus pages) details
over $150,000 USD worth of line items executed toward that end over
the past four years. Notable maintenance items listed include a
full engine rebuild, suspension overhaul, and servicing to the
transmission and differential, and among many other features
addressed. All told, the mechanical condition of this chassis'
6.2-liter V-8 powertrain is said to be "fully sorted." The
consignor states that though the air conditioning system is present
and original, it will require further servicing and charging to
work properly. Acquired in 2019 from Szymanska's estate via
Automotive Restorations, the consignor's short stewardship of this
chassis has been focused on finishing the aesthetic conditioning of
Originally delivered wearing Whitehall Grey, this chassis has been
recently refinished in the period-correct shade of Porcelain White.
Additionally, it has been furnished with a new burgundy Everflex
convertible top and bespoke Scarlet Red Wilton carpeting and
floormats in a shade matching its original interior components.
Though the original, grain-matched wood does exhibit some patina,
its character is nonetheless pleasant; the same can be said of the
pair of nicely preserved fold-out tray tables for rear passengers.
Finally, a set of bespoke Firestone whitewall tires and
color-matched hubcaps enrich the appeal of this distinctive
Said to have traveled just 400 miles in the past two years, this
exquisite, highly presentable and well documented Silver Cloud II
Drophead Coupe Adaptation is now accompanied by the proper manuals,
books, and tools in addition to its aforementioned history file and
service documentation.To view this car and others currently
consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/0620