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1986 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

Guide Price: £10,000 - £14,000


﹒Lustrous Dark Oyster Metallic paintwork with red coach lines
﹒Smooth and quiet 6.75-litre carburetted V8
﹒MOT until June 2021
﹒Original service book and owner’s manual included

The background

The Silver Spirit is the definitive 1980s and 1990s Rolls-Royce - and as a result, one of the definitive luxury cars of that era. While other brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Lexus took the idea of a luxury car in new directions and offered technological advancements, the British firm simply stuck to doing what it knew best, packing as much comfort, space and craftsmanship as you could possibly fit in a four-door body rolling on four wheels.

This particular car is a Mark 1 Spirit, the generation produced between 1980 and 1988, and like all models of this type uses the familiar 6.75-litre naturally-aspirated V8. Mark 1s drive through a three-speed automatic gearbox with selection from a lever on the steering column, and cruise along on hydropneumatic suspension, a technology licensed from Citroen. The Silver Spirit would also spawn the Silver Spur, effectively a long-wheelbase version of the Spirit.

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The history

D52 TWF was first registered on 14th November 1986, supplied in Dark Oyster Metallic paintwork (code 9510439) and mushroom grey hide (A4136) with red piping. The seller has owned the car for a relatively short period, having bought the car in July 2020 to fulfil a dream of owning and driving a Rolls-Royce and searched for the ideal example since September 2019.

No significant work has been undertaken during the seller’s ownership. The car is now for sale as despite the seller continuing to enjoy the Silver Spirit, and having put on around a thousand miles since buying the car, they have now found an example of the Rolls-Royce Shadow that originally prompted the search for this car.

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The paperwork

There is a small folder of paperwork included with the car. This includes the original service book, first stamped in March 1987 having covered just over 6000 miles, through to August 2014 at which point the odometer was showing 88,371 miles. The book contains no stamps past this point, but there are individual items of paperwork included in a separate folder that cover some additional work since the last stamp, and the car has covered relatively few miles since 2014.

The owner’s handbook is also included, along with the V5 and paper evidence of several MOTs, though naturally this can also be found online. 

The interior

Before you even slide into the sumptuous seats your first interaction with the Silver Spirit is with its weighty doors. Pushing the button to unlatch them and pulling on the handle is like the car’s handshake, an early introduction to the levels of quality you’ll find within.

All doors open with the same mechanical click and substantial feel, and their attendant door cards and sills are all in very good condition. Starting with the rear seats – this is a Rolls-Royce, after all – the mushroom leather and red piping is all in great shape and rich in both colour and feel. The mats underfoot are in good condition too and the carpeted footrests are a neat touch, encouraging passengers to remove their shoes and appreciate the soft carpet! The centre armrest is as plump as the seats, and details like the brightwork on the doorhandles and ashtrays, and the wooden panelling on the doors and around the mirrors set into the D-pillars, are all in great shape.

Up front it’s a similar story. A slim-rimmed steering wheel is something of a Rolls-Royce staple, and the leather of the rim shows few signs of age, wearing its years nicely. There are signs of use to the instruments and switchgear, which you’d expect given the car’s age, but there’s certainly nothing untoward, nor is any damage apparent. There is a modern JVC head unit in the radio slot, which no doubt makes the car more usable in a modern context but could of course be easily changed should the next owner wish to do so.

The front seats are again plump and their trim wears its years well, as do their armrests (there’s one for each seat in the centre), while matching red-piped mats protect the carpeting below.

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The exterior

We’re all aware that modern cars have grown larger over the years but there still aren’t many that are as large and imposing as a Silver Spirit. At almost 5.3 metres long it still occupies more road than a modern Mercedes S-class, and with a kerbweight of more than 2.2 tons it’s still in the ballpark for modern luxury car weight, too.

All this is to say the car you see here remains imposing on the road, though more for its size than any styling flourish, the dark grey metallic paintwork and simple lines actually being quite subtle were it not for the car’s size. The old Rolls-Royce “parthenon” grille is probably smaller than you’d find on a modern BMW by now, too…

Condition-wise this Spirit looks very good. The grey paintwork with red pinstriping (matching the piping inside) is a genuinely lovely combination and while small imperfections can be found in the paintwork up close, the car’s flanks are straight and the paintwork has the lustre it left the factory with. All the brightwork is, quite appropriately, bright, and would no doubt come up even brighter with a deep polish. The glasswork is clear and while the lights are another item that would benefit from a polish, all the units themselves are undamaged.

The front valance looks good despite its proximity to the road and the car’s soft suspension. The rear valance has a few imperfections, with a hint of corrosion in places, as do the sills, but nothing that couldn’t be treated quickly and easily – or indeed left, with little concern of it deteriorating quickly. In general the underbody looks good, with nothing more than expected surface corrosion on certain components, commensurate with mileage.

The car’s wheels and tyres are all in good shape. The front nearside wheel is currently missing a ring of chrome trim but the seller aims to replace this soon – all other wheels have their trim still in place. The front axle wears a pair of Vitour Galaxy R1 tyres with a matching tyre on the offside rear, while the nearside rear has a non-matching Avon. All tyres have remaining tread, but the buyer may wish to correct the mismatch.

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The mechanics

The Silver Spirit packs the legendary “six and three-quarter litre” V8 engine used widely by Rolls-Royce and Bentley during the period, and an engine that has only recently finished production in the outgoing Bentley Mulsanne. In this form it’s carburetted, something that attracted the seller for its relative simplicity next to the complexities of 1980s fuel injection fitted to models around the same period.

It certainly doesn’t seem to affect how the car starts or runs. During the photoshoot the engine was started and stopped several times and willingly fired to life each and every time. As you’d hope for it runs very quietly, and while Rolls-Royce hasn’t fit something so vulgar as a rev counter, it’s clearly an engine that relishes low-revs operation, cruising along on mid-range torque rather than seeking high revs.

The seller reports the car drives perfectly, with everything operating as it should, including good steering, brakes and a smooth gearshift. It’s quite a sight to behold when moving, sitting down gently under power, almost like a speedboat, and floating along the road seemingly untroubled by the surface. Underbonnet too everything looks good, both in terms of the structure surrounding the mechanicals and the engine itself.

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The appeal

If you’re rather taken by this car it’s probably for many of the same reasons the seller originally bought it. First and foremost, it’s a Rolls-Royce, a name that still carries more cachet than possibly any other having spent well over a century producing cars that many consider the world’s best.

Then there’s the simple appeal of driving a car like this. It’s a chance to sidestep the rat-race of escalating power and aggressive driving characteristics, reclining into a soft driver’s seat (or if you’re lucky, reclining in the back seat as someone else drives you around) and enjoying the easy-going torque, unruffled ride quality and hushed cabin. Other brands build luxury cars, but it’s Rolls-Royce that defines the genre.

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1986
  • Make Rolls Royce
  • Model Silver Spirit
  • Colour Grey
  • Odometer 97,010 Miles
  • Engine size 6750
  • Location Buckinghamshire
Bidding history
11 bids from 6 bidders
  • saloon1•••• £7,500 16/12/20
  • logan.e•••• £6,500 15/12/20
  • saloon1•••• £5,500 15/12/20
  • logan.e•••• £4,500 15/12/20
  • Wiszowa•••• £3,500 14/12/20
  • Kempsca•••• £3,200 13/12/20
  • [email protected]•••• £3,100 13/12/20
  • vincent•••• £2,800 12/12/20
  • [email protected]•••• £2,500 12/12/20
  • vincent•••• £2,000 12/12/20

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