1979 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Shadow II

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1979 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Shadow II

Background

“I drive a Rolls-Royce, ’cause it’s good for my voice”. The words of the late, great Marc Bolan – legendary lead vocalist of glam rock pioneers T-Rex. While he might have been stretching the truth a little in 1972’s hit record, Children of the Revolution (Bolan didn’t drive), his association with the pinnacle of motoring luxury was wholly deliberate. His famous lyric coincided with a shift in attitudes both within and outside of Rolls-Royce. A generation before, the famous maker had been mired by a stuffy image of making chariots for the establishment. By the early 1960s, Rolls-Royce was being left behind.

The introduction of the Silver Shadow in 1965 changed all that. Here was a modern Rolls-Royce for the nuveau riche. Gone were the ancient separate chassis and drum brakes of the third generation Silver Cloud, replaced with a cutting edge monocoque and disc setup. Modern construction and innovation didn’t stop there either, the Shadow utilised Citroen’s clever hydropneumatic suspension system and even featured a fully independent rear end.

The introduction of the Shadow II in 1977 saw further improvements courtesy of rack & pinion steering and new energy-absorbing bumpers – the latter demanded by the all-important US market. Oh, and incidentally, Bolan did actually own a Rolls-Royce but spent his time enjoying the opulence of its rear seats.

The Vehicle

This 1979 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II was bought by its Belgian vendor a year ago with the specific intention of using it for his daughter’s wedding. The car performed its bridal escort duties with aplomb, probably due to the extensive preventative maintenance schedule it was put under, in the lead up to the big day. The vendor informs us that he had all of the car’s filters and fluids (not just the usual engine and radiator) flushed and changed. The braking system was given a thorough clear out, with both master cylinders flushed and the whole system bled and filled with fresh fluid. The same work was carried out on the cooling system with its thermostat also replaced. Essentially, everything that had any fluid in it, had it replaced with the correct new grade. That included the ‘Servosteer’ steering fluid, automatic transmission and rear axle.

Clearly, leaving nothing to chance for such an important event, he went on to report that the car is now; ‘a nice driver, all’s working as it should and it’s been totally reliable. The engine starts perfectly and idles nicely. You can hear a light tapping from the brake pumps, but this isn’t unusual’. This last round of major maintenance was carried out in December 2020, with 138,500km on the odometer (86k miles). The car has since covered just 500km (310 miles).

On the Outside

Oxford Blue is closer to purple in the metal but it’s a very attractive shade regardless. The shine on the body panels is near mirror-like and thankfully we found very few imperfections. Overall this Rolls looks ready to take any bride to their wedding or simply waft along to a car show with an air of effortless grace. There are only a few very minor niggles to point out. The front bumper has some dents and marks, mainly on its rubber impact-absorbing front face. These are all fairly minor however, though that frontal pressure has caused the same rubber to peel on the offside corner.

The lower valance shows a few more scuffs and scratches and if you look carefully the front bodywork has some small stone chips here and there. The chrome and light lenses are all in great shape however, and the overall impression of the front end is a good one.

There’s some more good news as the car has been recently (according to the vendor) fitted with new Cooper Lifeliner Touring tyres. They certainly look in great shape, their white walls not showing the usual age-related stains or fading. It’s hard to tell for sure with so few images and without seeing this car in the metal, but the exterior condition appears to be excellent.

On the Inside

The Silver Shadow might be the Rolls-Royce equivalent of a mass-produced saloon (it’s the most common RR to date), but that certainly doesn’t mean that it lacks opulence. The cabin is awash with wood and leather. Both of which appear in fine order throughout this Shadow II. There’s some very light creasing to the driver’s seat, but really, we’re classing this as patina rather than anything more severe. The driver’s door card is slightly grubby on the usual regular touch points, but the rest of the cabin looks very clean and tidy.

The deep pile carpets look clean throughout and are even protected by RR-stitched over mats. The back seats look as if they’ve hardly seen use at all. It’s a similar story with the rear carpets and trim, the former is topped by floor footrests in equally good shape. The headlining throughout also looks free of any significant stains, marks or areas of sagging.

The condition of the door caps and dashboard wood keeps up the high marks on this Shadow’s scorecard. There are just a few light scratches here and there plus some glue or paint marking the ignition panel, basically, that’s it. The only real ‘wear’ we found was on the boot carpet, which is just starting to fray a little on the driver’s side edge – where it meets the rear suspension turret.

Underneath

That massive 6.75-litre L-series V8 engine is one of the longest serving powerplants in the business. It started life powering the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI in 1968 and was only finally discontinued with the end of Bentley Mulsanne production in 2020. The massively under-stressed, balanced and reliable nature of this engine saw it used throughout Rolls-Royce and Bentley production for much of the latter half of the 20th Century. In its final flourish, the motor made over 550bhp via twin-turbocharging, but this naturally aspirated L-Series makes much less – though still considered by its maker to be ‘adequate’ power.

As if to back up the vendor’s statement that this car has been well maintained, its engine bay looks dry and tidy. There are a few paint chips on some of the intake parts to give the game away that it’s a classic engine. More physical evidence of recent attention from a pro can be seen with the polishing to the top of the brake fluid reservoirs. Having a brief look underneath this Shadow, we saw no obvious signs of any fluid leaks. In fact, the usual spots – including the differential housing – looked very clean and dry. There’s lots of underseal remaining underneath, again backing up the vendor who states that it was recently topped up. If we’re really picking fault however, that underslung spare tyre looks a little old.

History Highlights

There’s not a lot of documentation with this Rolls-Royce but again, we’re told by the vendor that all of the above recent maintenance work is covered by the invoices here. Other than all the bills for bringing the maintenance up-to-date, and the MoT (valid until December 2022 incidentally), there are some original Rolls-Royce owner manuals. There’s also another one for the stereo.

According to the vendor, as we couldn’t see the details in the supplied images, the history with the car consists of the following; license documents (Belgian), MoT documents (Belgian), sales and service handbook 1979 (English), Rolls-Royce owner's handbook 1979 (English), Rolls-Royce ‘information for a customer taking delivery’ document (English), Rolls-Royce service schedule and record book (English).

What We Think

Shadows are generally regarded as the gateway model into Rolls-Royce ownership. Being the most numerous Rolls model, these cars come with a number of advantages, including excellent parts, club and specialist support. These later Shadow IIs are much better cars to drive than their predecessors and also make much easier Rollers to live with than most of their kin.

This one’s proved that usabilty over the past year and having had a lot of the usually neglected maintenance jobs apparently attended to, it should be ready to take on many more such important journeys in the future. On top of this, its condition will draw many an admirer so we’d expect this example to make between €15,000 - €25,000.

Inspection is always encouraged, with this particular car located in Grimbergen, Belgium. To arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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Seller

EM DRIVE

  • Location: Grimbergen, Belgium
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 139000 Kms
  • Engine: 6850
  • Gearbox: automatic
  • Steering position: LHD
  • Colour: Dark blue
  • Interior: Grey blue
  • Estimated Price: €15,000 - €25,000

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