Introduced in 1965 as a replacement for the much-loved but ageing Silver Cloud III, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was a true ‘milestone’ car in the Rolls-Royce saga, representing a number of firsts for the brand as well as holding several commendable titles throughout its production run.
Representing the first unibody-constructed production car in their range, the Silver Shadow also saw independent rear suspension and disc brakes used on all four corners for the first time, giving customers enormous confidence in the safety of their vehicles.
Initially unveiled with a 6.2-litre V8 engine, the Silver Shadow retailed with a price tag of £6,557 at release, which equates to around £129,837 in today’s money. With 172bhp on tap and a silky-smooth GM-sourced Hydra-Matic four-speed transmission, post-1970 cars featured an enlarged 6.75-litre V8 engine with an increased output of 189bhp.
Naturally, comfort was paramount to the success of the Silver Shadow, with Rolls-Royce licensing Citroen’s hydro-pneumatic suspension system for use in the vehicles.
Initially installed on all four corners, it was discovered that the majority of the adjustment took place in the rear - due to varying passenger and luggage loads - and, therefore, from 1969 the self-levelling suspension featured on the rear axle only.
Although the saloon was the standard offering, buyers could also order rather rakish two-door variants from James Young or Mulliner Park Ward, with a drophead coupé iteration arriving in 1967.
Following the success of the first-generation Silver Shadow, the facelift ‘II’ model was released in 1977, featuring numerous small aesthetic changes such as new impact bumpers and the removal of the grilles below the headlights.
These later cars also benefitted from rack-and-pinion steering and modifications to the front suspension which resulted in a notable improvement in the handling of the car.