﹒Registration number for sale by separate negotiation
When the Silver Shadow made its debut in 1965 it represented a marked change of direction for Rolls-Royce, moving on from the traditionally constructed Silver Cloud to bring in a new era of unitary bodyshells and separate suspension units.
Around a decade of development work went into the car after the styling was signed off, which makes it even more remarkable that the slab-sided styling still looks timeless today.
Four-wheel disc brakes with fail-safe dual circuits and independent rear suspension, using hydraulic self-levelling technology borrowed from Citroen, made the Shadow modern to drive, despite the pushrod V8 engine tracing its roots back to the Silver Cloud’s gestation.
And despite the modern construction techniques, there was no skimping on the Shadow’s traditional British craftsmanship. The interiors and outer panels were all hand-finished, with the finest walnut, leather and lambswool used to perfect the luxury of the cabin.
The original 90-degree V8 five-bearing pushrod engine was sufficient to propel the Silver Shadow up to a top speed of around 120mph (power output was simply quoted as ‘sufficient’), but ponderous steering and soft suspension meant I was no dynamic tour de force. It was, however, astonishingly comfortable, while a long-stroke version of the V8, displacing 6,745cc, made later cars more powerful.
It was the company’s best-selling model by quite some margin, though in later life this had a bearing on the Shadow’s reputation as many of them fell into the hastily tarted-up ‘white wedding’ trade. Those days are largely gone today, which makes survivors in their original colour schemes especially rare.
On top of that, this one is very, very special indeed as it has been owned by the same family since it left the HR Owen dealership in London in 1970.
LRG13 was supplied new to a Mr George of Loughton, Essex, in November 1970, making it one of the first Shadows to be sold with the new 6,745cc V8 and GM three-speed automatic transmission.
A motor engineer himself, Mr George maintained his Rolls-Royce lovingly for as long as he could, which means there are very few bills from early in its life as he did any work the car required himself.
Title of the car passed to Mr George’s son-in-law in 2016 when the original owner (now 96 and still very much with us) hung up his driving gloves, passing on the car he’d owned since new to the family’s other big car enthusiast.
The car has since been maintained by a respected Rolls and Bentley specialist and was recommissioned after a short lay-up. The odometer was also replaced as it had stopped working, so the recorded 17,000 miles need to be added to the 86,000 on the original clock, making a total of just over 103,000 from new.
Within the history folder are two V5s – the current one and another older one showing Mr George as the car’s only keeper. There’s also the original bill of sale from 1970 from HR Owen on Golders’ Green Road, North London, where the car was supplied for £5,500 (about £74,000 in today’s money). Also included are the original handbook and service manual.
In more recent times, the car has been maintained with cost no object. Just this year alone, over £3,500 has been spent on an engine overhaul and reconditioned alternator, while in 2017 there are bills from a notable Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist documenting over £10,000 of recommissioning bills.
The original registration number of LRG13 has been valued separately at £4,500 and the owner is happy to negotiate a price with the buyer for this to stay with the car. It is not included in the final sale price.
From the rich walnut and aged leather smell through to the sumptuously padded seats and deep, fluffy overmats, the Silver Shadow’s cabin is a truly magnificent place to be and is all in fine fettle.
The leather is free from cracks and abrasions, the wood is all excellent and there’s even an original factory supplied label that goes over the air conditioning controls, explaining how to use them.
A period Pioneer radio-cassette looks like it was added in the late 1970s, while the full-length Webasto sunroof has been there since new and is a wonderful period modification.
Finished in two-tone brown, the Silver Shadow was ready to welcome the 1970s before their excessive brownness had even begun to kick in.
It’s a fabulous car to look at and maintains an imposing presence even today, while being a 1970 model it has a few features that are pretty unusual, such as the boot lid-mounted reversing lamps, side repeaters and monogrammed headlight bezels.
While it exudes presence, up close there are some imperfections in the paint surface. Nothing major or off-putting, but in places the finish is a little flat where the paint has aged. This is something that wouldn’t put us off in the slightest though, as the car still wears its original factory paint and has never been restored -such patina is priceless and to over-restore it would be to take away a large chunk of the car’s originality. It’s lovely as it is.
The extensive recent overhaul, coupled to the 2017 recommissioning, suggest that the Shadow is in overall fine fettle. It certainly started and sounded fine and showed no signs of leaks, rattles or excessive smoke. The vendor reports that it drives exactly as it should.
From its early days as the height of luxury, through the era of cheap Shadows being a bit wide-boy-ish, the iconic Seventies Rolls-Royce has now come full circle, with the best and most pedigreed examples now being highly sought after by collectors and those who appreciate the very finest in retro-cool.
This Silver Shadow ticks both of these boxes. It’s an absolutely fabulous period piece, but more than that it’s incredible history and the fact it still has a connection with its original owner make it especially desirable. We’d go the extra mile and factor the registration number into your budget to maintain this remarkable car’s originality.
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