Mickey Hayes, 1964 graduate of Virginia Tech, has the courage to do what most others do not. Several examples from his life prove this. There is his move to the Outer Banks in the 1970s. The region was sparsely developed, and the nation’s economy was in the midst of an oil-crisis economic malaise. He went there to become a real estate developer
Over a 30-year career, Hayes spearheaded many projects which have made the Outer Banks what it is today, including the development of the Currituck Club, a noted golf club in Corolla. There’s also his history of owning Rolls-Royce motorcars. “To own a Rolls-Royce,” he explains, “the first thing you do is get up the nerve to have one. If you don’t, you’re never going to get one.”
There’s a certain mystique which surrounds the Rolls-Royce marque, which has set the highline standard for luxury automobiles for over 100 years. Hayes has been a part of that legacy for the past 40 or so years, owning more than a dozen of the RR badged rides. He has had his current Rolls, a 1960 Silver Cloud II, for 15 years.
The four-door car features a two-tone paint scheme, with a forest green bottom and metallic silver top. The car has been repainted and the interior upholstery redone. The effective air conditioning unit in this Rolls is one of the neat aftermarket features Hayes added.
Mechanically, the vehicle has its original power steering and original automatic 4-speed GM Hydramatic transmission, exported from the U.S. to the British assembly line. The exterior chrome – fenders, headlights, grill and The Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament – is original.
So are the burl walnut trim, wide-diameter steering wheel, dash-mounted rear-view mirror and, of course, the spaciousness and the easy ride. The car has been driven about 48,000 miles, is almost 18 feet long, and has a 40-plus-foot turning circle.
Also original are the drop-down wooden picnic trays nestled in the back of the front seats, providing rear passengers a dining surface, like what you would find in a commercial plane but much finer. An example of one of these trays can be seen in the Grey Poupon television advertisement from the 1980s, when the chauffeur of a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud hands a bottle of the mustard to his passenger in the back seat, where the rider is shown dining. Then the car pulls to a stop, and another Silver Cloud rolls up beside it, giving the passenger of the second Rolls the opportunity to ask the diner in the first Rolls if he has any Grey Poupon.
Hayes got his first Rolls-Royce in 1973, a Silver Cloud I. He also has owned a 1928 Rolls-Royce Twenty, a 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25, newer Rolls models like a 2002 Corniche convertible and two other Silver Cloud IIs. Silver Clouds are the Rolls models he prefers. “I love the Silver Cloud body. It’s what a classic old large sedan should look like.”
The Silver Cloud II differs from the Silver Cloud I not in its exterior architecture, but under the hood. Compared to the Silver Cloud I’s straight-6 engine, the Silver Cloud II’s V8 engine provides more torque and better acceleration. This Silver Cloud is also fitted with three British auto club medallions, mounted on a rail above the front fender, a reminder of the car’s original owner.
The Silver Cloud II was produced from 1959 to 1962. Fewer than 3,000 were made, though Rolls-Royce did sell the chassis to other coach builders. Hayes likes to have fun with his Rolls. For a number of years, it was at his home in the Bahamas. Now he takes it to tailgate parties at Lane Stadium, where he gathers with his brothers from the DKE fraternity. He even keeps a bottle of Grey Poupon in the glove box and gleefully offers it to passersby.
Text by Karl H. Kazaks
Photos by Tom Wallace