£32,950 As stated
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With a remarkably low mileage, this luxurious late Silver Shadow, in its very evocative 1970s colour scheme, needs nothing doing. You can invest in the classic Rolls-Royce cachet without many of the usual concerns
PRICE £34, 950
ENGINE 6750cc/ V8/ OHV/ 2 x SU carburettors
TORQUE 290lb ft@2500rpm
MAXIMUM SPEED 114mph
0-60MPH 11. 3sec
GEARBOX RWD, GM400 Hydramatic three-speed automatic
MILEAGE 36, 534 miles
MOT 15 February 2022
CHASSIS NUMBER SRH37339
COLOUR Chestnut Brown
INTERIOR Tan Hide with Dark Brown piping
Rolls-Royce may have established its enviable reputation by being the purveyor of the ‘Best cars in the world’, but by the mid-1960s, that claim was looking a little shaky. The company had fallen behind in innovation, styling and technology, and rivals such as Mercedes-Benz - with its leviathan 600 - had arguably stolen Rolls-Royce’s crown.
That wouldn’t stand - not for Rolls-Royce and Bentley. So in 1965, the company bounced back with the Silver Shadow and T-type, its Flying B counterpart. In appearance, the Shadow shied away from the more curvaceous and traditional lines of its predecessors such as the Silver Cloud, adopting an angular, blocky and very imposing appearance that reflected the design trends of the times. It was bang-on-the-money for the mid-1960s, and managed to stay looking good right the way through until 1980, when the last ones were constructed.
Effort was put into the underpinnings too. Although the 6230cc V8 engine was carried over from the Cloud, the Shadow introduced unitary construction to the marque, along with disc brakes and independent rear suspension - Rolls-Royce really was catching up with its opposition. And beating them too, for the Shadow also incorporated high pressure hydropneumatics, licensed from Citroen, that worked their magic on the suspension and brakes. The result was an unequalled quality of ride, and brakes that were surprisingly effective for such a large and weighty machine.
There were modifications and updates (not least a larger 6750cc V8 in 1969) through until 1977, when the Shadow II - as here - was launched. This addressed a lot of the handling complaints that had been levelled at the car over the years, incorporating rack-and-pinion steering and front suspension updates. Externally, the chrome bumpers were replaced by chunkier alloy and rubber items, and a front air-dam was also fitted.
Cosmetics aside - for not everybody preferred aluminium and black rubber to shiny chrome - these late Shadows were the best of the bunch, and revived interest in the model; 8425 Shadow IIs were built just from 1977 to 1980. By contrast, Rolls-Royce had only constructed less than twice that number - 16, 717 - from 1965 to 1977. The Shadow’s replacement was the Silver Spirit, which carried over the basic design and mechanics. However, the Corniche, the two-door variant of the Shadow, continued all the way through until 1995 before it was replaced. The Shadow was a tough act to follow.
In November 1978, a Mr Rubenstein of Edmonton, London, put in an order with Rolls-Royce, via noted marque dealership Jack Barclay, for a new Silver Shadow. He specified it in Silver Sand, with a roof finished in Walnut - we assume that was paint or Everflex vinyl, rather than wood - and Dark Brown leather and carpets inside. As was the way back then, there was a bit of a wait for the car, during which it seems Mr Rubenstein changed his mind, and in January, the specification was changed to Chestnut paint, with a light roof, and Tan hide piped in Dark Brown for the interior- pretty much a reverse of what had been originally been asked for.
This time, there were no further rethinks, and Mr Rubenstein duly received his Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II, from Jack Barclay, on May 5, 1978. It cost £27, 887 - not that much less than we’re offering it for sale here, 43 years and a lot of inflation later on.
Mr Rubenstein kept his Rolls-Royce until 1989, covering around 30, 000 miles in it. It then swapped the London scene for the rather less frenetic Isle of Man, where the mileage crept up very slowly around the 220 square mile island, in the hands of the same family until the end of 2019. This period included an engine rebuild, in 2004, due to the use of incorrect anti-freeze according to the records that come with the car.
Now back on the mainland, the mileage is still only 36, 534, for what is a lovely unrestored example of a Rolls-Royce finished in a colour scheme very much of its era. It comes with a history file that includes its original owner’s handbook and supplement in a Rolls-Royce leather folder. This also holds the sales and service booklet, MPG data, Blaupunkt radio instruction manual, warranty, and ‘Information for a customer taking delivery of a new Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II or Bentley T2 motor car’ - think of that as, essentially, a quick start guide! There’s also a record of much of the work done over the years, which is how we know about the engine rebuild, plus the new air conditioning unit fitted in 2006 and brake work during the the decade before this one.
We can’t help but feel that Mr Rubenstein was right to re-evaluate his decision on how his Shadow was to be finished. Otherwise, essentially, he would have ended up with a beige Rolls-Royce. Instead, he got one finished in a very rich, almost mesmerising shade of brown, with light Everflex roof and coachlining either side of the chrome side-trim. It is a handsome machine, and very evocative of the late 1970s when it appeared.
The metallic Chestnut Brown paint has survived very well, especially when you consider that there’s no evidence to suggest it isn’t all original. While there are some age-related marks to be found, they’re very minor; if you look under the nearside rear wheel arch, there are a few missing patches of paint - but no rust - while there are a few cracks in the paint under the windscreen. A couple of slivers have been nicely touched in on the bonnet edges, And that’s pretty much it in terms of blemishes. The Everflex roof is very clean and free from faults, and the chromework is shiny and untarnished. The front bumper has a slight crease in the rubber insert just above the numberplate, but unless you’re actually looking for it, it’s difficult to notice it’s there. Have a look at our photos for yourself.
The underneath of the car has been comprehensively undersealed, and doesn’t look like there are any corrosion issues whatsoever. Certainly, the recent MoT highlighted no problems.
Avon Turbospeed 70 235/ 70 R15 191H tyres are fitted - the correct spec for a Shadow. The tyres are all in very good order, with an adequate amount of tread left that they won’t need to be replaced any time soon. The wheel trims, colour-coded with brown centre bands, have some minor scratches, most of them from polishing, but they’re not bent, as can happen with these thin aluminium trims.
This is where it gets even better; the cabin is in fabulous condition. As you’d expect from a car that has obviously been very well looked after throughout its life, there are minimal signs of age inside. The seats display only the sort of very minor cracking you’d expect from a car that has seen just 36, 000 miles of posteriors, with most of it on the front seats; the bench in the rear looks like it has barely been used. None of the hide has ever been Connolised. Jack Barclay Ltd dealership plates are fitted at the bottom of the door apertures.
All four door cards are close to immaculate, and the deep pile Dark Brown carpets are in fine order; while the driver’s side one may look like it has some marks in our pictures, they were just from our rather muddy winter photoshoot, and any muck was cleaned off straight away.
Check out the wood, and you’ll find little of concern. The lustrous burr walnut veneer is consistently good throughout the dashboard and the door cappings. There are just a few tiny spots where the veneer has lifted slightly from the wood underneath, and the occasional random mark or two elsewhere, but otherwise, this is wood that’s almost as good as the day it was applied to the Shadow. The beige headlining is nigh-on spotless.
All the electrics, controls and gauges function as they should - including the clock, which often declines to tell the time on these cars once they get old. There’s an exterior temperature gauge factory-fitted, next to the clock; it does sometimes seem slightly confused as to what the weather is like outside the car, but most of the time, it’s pretty spot on. The air conditioning seems to, well, condition the air exactly as intended.
Rather delightfully, the original Blaupunkt stereo radio isn’t just still fitted, it’s also working perfectly, and is connected to the car’s electric aerial, which goes up and down when it is switched on and off. A little lower down, there’s also a cassette deck, which we assume is also the original, as one was detailed on the build sheet. It plays as it should too - bring a favourite cassette, if you like, for any test drive.
The huge boot is finished in brown carpeting with beige piping, and its condition is just as good as the rest of the interior. - it looks like it has barely been used to carry anything. The original jack kit is strapped to the right-hand wall, and you’ll also find the small boxed Rolls-Royce toolkit and spare bulbs; a desirable feature to still be with the Shadow.
ENGINE AND RUNNING GEAR
Underneath the bonnet, the engine and its surroundings have been kept very clean, as befits a Rolls-Royce. It doesn’t look like a working environment at all, with black-painted inner wings and the bulkhead doing a grand job of minimising any dirt or grime. A lot of original warning and information stickers remain in place; bonus points for them. One plate on the bulkhead records the involvement of Hadley Green Ltd in Barnet; it was this establishment that looked after the Shadow during its early years. The engine appears stock, with no signs of DIY tinkering or plumbing. All the fluids are healthy shades and topped up to the levels they should be. Underneath the bonnet lid itself, the soundproofing/ insulation material is still in place and, while marked in a few places, it is undamaged.
The engine starts easily and runs well. The Shadow behaves exactly as you’d expect a 36, 000-mile car of this calibre to do; it’s a silky-smooth ride that just soaks up any bumps, and is astonishingly quiet; the noise of the V8 barely intrudes into the cabin, and the loudest sound - at least without that great Blaupunkt on - while underway is of the leather creaking. The automatic gearbox changes are almost indiscernible, unless you use kickdown, at which point the car comes to life in a most un-Rolls-Royce-like way. Given the reputation for Shadows to not exactly be the sharpest of handlers, this one may well surprise you; the rack-and-pinion steering and suspension upgrades of the II model paying dividends when it comes to corners. It’s a lot more direct and tight than you might imagine. The brakes are very impressive; it’s almost astonishing how such a heavyweight machine can be halted so quickly if required.
You can buy tired, worn-out, ex-wedding fleet Silver Shadows for less than this one. And you’ll then probably end up spending a small fortune not just on putting them right, but keeping them going. With a Rolls-Royce, it pays to buy the best you can, and this one has to be one of the better ones around; it certainly has to be one of the lowest mileage examples available. It has obviously been judiciously looked after all its life, even down to an engine rebuild just a few thousand miles ago. It’s a lovely, distinctive example of its kind, and needs no work beyond the usual servicing and maintenance.
Whilst Greenside Cars Ltd has tried to ensure information and assessments are accurate and complete, we are aware that some errors and omissions may occur from time to time. We are not able, therefore, to guarantee the accuracy of information and cannot accept liability for loss or damage arising from it. We highly recommend that you examine any vehicle to check the reliability of the information supplied. Please contact us for further details, images, or to arrange a viewing of this Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II.
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