• In single ownership since the mid-1990s
• Cosmetically renovated around 25 years ago
• New exhaust system fitted in 2006
The Silver Shadow was the car that marked Rolls-Royce’s transition into the modern age. Introduced in 1965, as the first Rolls-Royce to use unitary construction it was lower and sleeker than anything that had gone before it, and it embraced new technologies so Rolls-Royce could no longer be accused of falling behind the times.
As a result of its unitary construction, it was able to provide more passenger space than its predecessor, the Silver Cloud, despite being 3½ inches narrower and seven inches shorter. Other new features for a Rolls-Royce included disc brakes and independent rear suspension. Also of note was the advanced self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension system made famous in the Citroën DS.
Priced at £6557 at launch, it was every bit as expensive as one would expect a Rolls-Royce to be, but that didn’t matter. The updates proved to be just what the company needed, and the Silver Shadow was a hit. Rolls-Royce sold more Silver Shadows than any other model to date, and their survival rate is high so they are very well supported for spares and maintenance.
The Silver Shadow was upgraded in 1970 with a larger V8 of 6750cc, which produced 189bhp and was coupled to the smooth General Motors Turbo-Hydramatic 400 automatic gearbox. For the last years of production, from 1977 to 1980, it was revamped as the Silver Shadow II. It was easily identified by its American-mandated rubber bumpers and a few more minor detail changes, but more significantly it was improved under the skin by the adoption of rack-and-pinion steering and modified front suspension which greatly improved handling.
The history of this Silver Shadow can be traced back to 1989, when it was owned by a Mr. Moran, a friend of the vendor. Mr. Moran kept the car, which was then gold, for four or five years before the vendor purchased it, but he did not apply for a V5 until after he had renovated it, so has only been the registered keeper since 1996.
The photographically-documented cosmetic renovation involved a full repaint in red and reupholstering the interior in black leather with red piping.
Over the ensuing 25 years, the vendor has used and enjoyed the car but is now offering it for sale as he is downsizing his classic-car collection.
Besides the V5, the paperwork file consists of a collection of MoTs from 1991 to 2018 and an invoice from Grays Tyres and Exhausts for the new exhaust system that was fitted in 2006. There is also a large collection of photographs detailing the car’s renovation. In the way of original factory literature, it is being sold with the Rolls-Royce & Bentley Owners’ Handbook for the Silver Shadow II and Bentley T2.
Having been reupholstered around 25 years ago, the Rolls-Royce’s interior presents very well. The leather has matured over time, with some creasing, but there is no evidence of deterioration that we could see and it all appears to be in very good condition. The same goes for the carpets, door cards, centre console and the attractive walnut fascia, although the wooden cappings on the doors are showing their age and may benefit from some sympathetic renovation.
The headlining is excellent and the boot space is also very clean and well turned-out. The interior boasts both the original Blaupunkt radio and a more modern JVC radio-cassette player, which is in turn connected to a JVC multi-CD changer housed in the boot.
The car’s 25 year-old repaint has survived very well and is still highly presentable. A few small marks and bubbles have appeared on and under the surface, but these do not detract significantly from its appearance. There is a section of paint on the boot which has gone a bit flat, so that may benefit from being touched-up.
All the chrome on the car appears very good, especially at the front, although there is some mild pitting starting to appear on the rear bumper and boot handle, and a few small splits have appeared in the plastic bumpers. All the glass on the car appears intact, with just a few small marks in evidence on the rear lights.
While the car is largely solid, and corrosion was not raised as an issue when it was last MoTed in 2018, since the car’s renovation was only ever cosmetic, an inspection of the sills shows that they are starting to suffer from the effects of the British weather and bidders may wish to think about addressing them as a priority. There are also a few prominent cracks which have appeared in the front skirt.
The Shadow’s large, powerful V8 is running very well and, coupled with the automatic gearbox and power steering, it allows the car to be driven effortlessly in spite of its size. The fact that the car passed its MoT with no advisories in 2018 would suggest that the brakes and suspension are all in good order, so this really is a car you can jump in and drive.
We would draw attention to the fact that the car’s true mileage is not what the odometer would suggest, as past MoT certificates testify. For a few years, mileage was registered at 69,400 miles, but in 2017 or 2018 a new speedometer was installed with the much higher reading of 129,000 miles.
If you’ve got space in your garage, everything about a Silver Shadow seems to make sense. They’re old enough to by stylish, young enough to be practical and, since they’re Rolls-Royces, they are built to the highest standards and positively cosset their occupants with luxury.
This example has given its owner thousands of miles of reliable, comfortable and enjoyable motoring, and we should think it will do exactly the same for its next owner.
Whether you want something for the family to enjoy or just want to treat yourself, this Shadow will make driving a pleasure whether making a short trip into town or traversing whole counties.
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