Starring Rolls Royce with links to The Beatles and Dad’s Army goes under the hammer
PUBLISHED: 11:01 25 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:16 25 August 2015
In the early 1960s, Ann Croft, wife of the late Suffolk-based Dad’s Army creator David Croft, splashed £1,700 on a second-hand Rolls-Royce.
Little did she know that 50 years later her beloved car would be worth nearer £50,000.
But now the cream-coloured 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith saloon, owned and treasured by Mrs Croft for more than half a century and which she sold in 2013, is set to fetch between £40,000 and £50,000 at an auction.
David and Ann Croft, who lived at Honington Hall, near Bury St Edmunds – used the car for personal appearances, attending film awards and for going to the BAFTAs.
In the 1980s, the couple’s daughter, Penny Croft, co-wrote the BBC TV sitcom, Life Without George, and featured her mother’s Rolls-Royce in one of the episodes in a wedding scene filmed at Creeting St Peter, near Ipswich.
It also appeared in one or two of David Croft’s shows.
Auctioneers Bonhams say: “Around 1960, Ann Croft or Ann Callender, as she was also known, was presenting a television programme called Whitsun.
“One of the guests on the programme was Raymond Way, who ran a car dealership in London’s Edgware Road. After the show they were talking about cars and he told her about one that he had recently purchased. That was the Silver Wraith.
“As well as presenting television programmes, Ann Croft also ran a theatrical agency called Ann Callender Associates. Some of the big names on her books included David Jason, Ian Lavender and Shirley Ann Field. She also ran a booking agency, booking acts to appear on Ready, Steady Go, a popular music television programme at that time. These included The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Dusty Springfield.
“All of these stars and many more were chauffeured around London in the back of the Silver Wraith.”
The car, which was displayed at the London Motor Show in 1954, was originally dark blue, but at some point in the 1960s it was sent back to the Rolls-Royce factory at Crewe to be resprayed in its current cream colour.
The car cost £10,500 new in 1954, when the average British house cost £1,970 and when a gallon of petrol (yes, a gallon, not a litre) cost four shillings and five pence halfpenny (about 23p).
The car will be auctioned by Bonhams at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, on September 5.