1959 Rolls-Royce estate car owned by late industrial tycoon Orin Smith to be auctioned; it was bizarrely designed to include beds and a loud air horn to “blast” cattle off the highway
Florida based businessman and retired CEO of the Engelhard Corporation Orin Smith (1935 – 2016) was passionate about cars and next month, those with deep pockets will be in with a chance to purchase 58 vehicles from his collection that will be sold, mostly without reserve, by RM Sotheby’s at their annual Amelia Island sale on 10th and 11th March.
Amongst the eclectic selection of classic and contemporary cars from the late industrialist’s collection is a 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I estate car by H. J. Mulliner and Radford. One of just two examples, this immaculate short-wheelbase shooting brake was originally supplied to a Robert L. McCormick of Wichita, Kansas and transported to New York on the Cunard flagship Queen Elizabeth.
McCormick kept the car – which features a luggage space that can accommodate items up to 6-foot long – until 1965 and on selling it to a Palm Beach based judge named Lewis M. Schott, penned the new owner a letter that read:
The Radford conversion is a “complete job”. I will explain to your chauffeur and secretary how it makes into beds, etc, etc.
I’ll explain the 3-way horn switch to your employees. I used the loud horn for “blasting” livestock off the Mexican highways.
Finally, I hope you have as much fun out of the car as I have had. It should go 200,000 miles without work on it… A serious sacroiliac precludes long motor trips for me for a few years, and I’m an unhappy warrior when I think about it.
Sold again in 2007 to Florida Roll-Royce expert Richard Gorman, the shooting brake was then subject to an 18-month renovation. It is now presented in velvet green and a sage with parchment leather interior piped in velvet green and features upgraded air conditioning.
Of the overall collection to be sold on behalf of Smith’s family, Don Rose of RM Sotheby’s remarked:
I had the great pleasure of knowing Orin Smith and found him to be a true gentleman in every sense of the word.
In addition to his impressive gathering of some of the finest Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles, Orin displayed an eclectic taste with a keen eye for other icons of style, including sporting machinery from pre-war to the best of the contemporary.
The common thread here is beauty, in both design and engineering; fitting for a man of generous spirit devoted to excellence. Because of those qualities, Orin Smith was beloved to the Amelia Island crowd, which makes the offering of his collection at our Amelia Island venue all the more poignant.
Of the shooting brake itself, the auctioneer adds:
Numerous Rolls-Royce shooting brakes exist, but many of them are crude later conversions. This car is a true and authentic coachbuilt original, created to the exacting specifications of its original owner, and restored to that same high standard – air horns and all. Errant cattle, consider yourselves warned.