SHADOW HAS A CLOUDY LINING
Run by Martin Buckley
Owned since March #2015
Total mileage 60,781
Miles since acquisition 150
Latest costs £400
I spent the end of #2014
thinking about buying an early #Rolls-Royce
Silver Shadow. If you get a good one and are prepared to put aside at least £2000 a year to run it – or if you just get lucky, as I did years ago with my original £3000 #1968
Shadow – they are great value.
I loved the thing and, as time goes by, they just look better and better, but trying to find something that drove as well as that car proved to be a depressing experience. For a start, there just aren’t that many pre- #1969
Shadows around any more. In fact, I had to adjust my sights to take in later cars, which was no real hardship. You get a much wider spectrum to choose from, but you do need to be careful with colours – no white ex-wedding cars, of course, and generally speaking I don’t do two-tone either.
Perusing the internet is one thing, but when I finally got to look at a few in my price range I began to question the whole idea. They were often disappointing to drive (a Shadow shouldn’t be) and there was usually a brake issue: one had all its dashboard brake warning lights on (which is Shadow no-no number one) and all the man selling it could say was “it’s been like that for years”.
Even an ostensibly lovely £13,000 car I saw didn’t have any evidence of recent work on the brake system. Just as I was about to chuck in the towel on the whole idea, I revisited an advert for a light blue #1975
model for sale in Sunderland. I had initially dismissed it because it committed the cardinal pub landlord sin of having a chin spoiler and, even worse, a gold flying lady.
But looking beyond those crimes (which could of course be easily rectified) I could see that the wood and leather looked lovely, the body was straight and at £6k it didn’t seem all that much. I contacted the vendor only to learn it had already sold. He wished me luck finding the right car and as an aside mentioned he was also selling a Bentley S2.
My ears pricked up: the Silver Cloud and S-type cars were where this all started for me but as prices became, to use that posh car dealer phrase, “unapproachable” I had long since given up on having one.
This example, however, sounded very approachable and in a way was an easier purchase to justify to myself (as if that ever mattered) than a Shadow because in terms of long-term value, it ought to repay any improvements more handsomely.
Surely a 60,000-mile twoowner #Bentley
S2 is quite a desirable thing and would be easier to sell if I ever needed to get shot of it to buy something boringly practical like, say, a house?
I bought the thing over the phone on the basis that the bloke would deliver it for the price and I couldn’t be bothered schlepping 300 miles to go and look at it. I satisfied myself via the RREC that the vendor was a real person rather than an ‘away-on-business-butyou- can-just-transfer-me-themoney’ internet scammer, then duly sent him the necessary funds.
The S2 arrived a few days later and, other than having very disappointing brakes, was as described, with a nice unmolested interior, a quiet engine and a body that was entirely respectable without being something you would worry about leaving anywhere. All in all, it’s pretty much what I wanted.
Mike Connor of Purley Road Garage got the brakes sorted by cleaning up the mechanical servo on the back of the gearbox (if it slips you don’t get much assistance) but there are myriad other irritating snags. The electric rear windows and fuel-flap solenoid are nonfunctioning, the oil-pressure gauge is erratic and the heater doesn’t heat – although the car is unusual in having air-con that’s still hooked up.
I haven’t got involved in those issues yet, but undoubtedly the most dramatic and relatively inexpensive improvement was effected by changing the tyres. I took Dougal Cawley at Longstone’s advice and replaced the crusty Avon Turbospeeds with a set of slightly taller Hercules covers all round. Being American, these budget tyres (£85 each) come with whitewalls – but you can hide such vulgarity by fitting them facing inwards.
Since then I’ve lobbed out £100 on a toolkit, while generally swanning around feeling like a ’60s pools-winner doing Charlie Bubbles impressions. I probably look closer to James Robertson Justice, but have so far avoided the phrase “bloody nincompoop!”
Longstone Tyres: 01302 711123;
www. longstonetyres. co. uk
Buckley’s latest barge: gloriously decadent S2 has got him living out his Viv Nicholson spendspend- spend 1960s pools-winner fantasies.
As well as tyres, recently purchased Bentley S2 has been treated to a thorough service
Steering-box mounts needed replacement
New seals fitted to power steering ram...
...and overhauled assembly returned to car