1978 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II £19,995. In 36 years you’d expect most cars to cover more than 46,000 miles - so this is special. Richard Gunn.
It’s always reassuring when a marque specialist selling a car has known it for some time, and in the case of this Silver Shadow II, London-based Hanwells has been familiar with it for ten years. The Crewe-cut leviathan boasts an extensive paperwork file, despite its minimal mileage. The last service was 1000 miles ago.
Low mileage plus conscientious care have certainly paid dividends. You have to look long and hard to find any real flaws with the exterior, such as minor tarnishing to the front and rear bumper tops and a slightly perished seal at the top of the rear window. The plastic bumpers themselves have some light scuffs on their rear quarters, but the fronts have escaped any grazing. Imperfections on the body are confined to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it patch of missing paint on the border between the two colours on the nearside front wing.
The quartet of whitewall tyres aren’t of uniform make, with Avon Turbospeeds at the front and Mastercraft and Cooper rears. Still, they’re all in very good order, as are the wheeltrims.
Under the bonnet, attention has been paid to detailing, and the only cosmetic flaw is rust around the edges of the brake fluid reservoir top, no doubt due to past spillages.
Open the doors and you’re treated to pure, indulgent Rolls-Royce luxury, with acres of wood and nicely seasoned leather.
As with the rest of the car, effort has obviously been expended to keep it looking fresh and clean, and the cream leather (with contrasting black piping) and carpets are free of grime. However, the driver’s side carpet is getting threadbare around the plastic mat. There’s some lifting of the wood veneer around the auxiliary gauge apertures and rectangular warning panel, but that’s it.
Everything electrical functions as it should (aside from the slightly sporadic seatbelt warning light), including the clock - usually one of the first items to stop working on Shadows. A period radio and Blaupunkt cassette player look at home in the centre console. A working immobiliser is fitted, but there are the remains of a previous security device, in the form of a small numerical keypad, dangling from the driver’s side of the windscreen top.
Nothing is amiss with the driving experience; it’s the expected and usual wafty and cossetting silky ride, where the driver provides the very minimum of effort. The genteel nature is disturbed only by the sharp brakes and kickdown, prompting the otherwise imperceptible automatic gearchanges to poke the lazy V8 into some very un-Shadow-like behaviour.
Cheaper Silver Shadows are available, but you can spend a small fortune putting little niggles right. Given this car’s lack of real issues, we believe it represents decent value.
CHOOSE YOUR ROLLS
► The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow supersedes the Silver Cloud in 1965, with the badge- engineered Bentley christened the T-series.
The Cloud’s 6230cc V8 is carried over, but the monocoque construction and square-rigged lines are radical advances for traditional customers.
► Two-door saloons are introduced during 1966, built by James Young and Mulliner Park Ward. The latter also builds a convertible the following year.
► The GM400 three-speed automatic transmission is standardised in 1968, a year before long-wheelbase models are debuted. Two years after this, the V8’s capacity increases in displacement to 6750cc.
► The MPW convertibles receive a few tweaks and are renamed Corniches for 1971. There’s a change to the ‘standard’ saloons in 1974 when wider tyres require flared wheelarches.
► Series 2 cars come out during 1977, with plastic-faced bumpers, a front spoiler, new facia and split-level air conditioning. They persist until 1980, although the Corniche and its Bentley Continental sister continue through to 1995.
Contact Hanwells Bentley & Rolls-Royce, Hanwell, London (hanwells.net, 020 8567 9729)
Engine 6750cc. V8
Power [email protected]
Torque 290lb [email protected]
Top speed: 120mph;
Fuel consumption: 14mpg
COMPREHENSIVE, 5000 MILES PER YEAR, GARAGED CALL: 01277 206911