1977 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver ShadowView vehicle description
Holding the title for the largest production volume of any Rolls-Royce model, the Silver Shadow was in production across two generations between 1965 and 1980, with a total of 30,057 cars built.
Whilst sticking to the tried-and-tested Rolls-Royce ethos of providing unparalleled luxury with an impressive level of performance courtesy of the V8 engine – initially 6.2-litres and later updated to 6.75 from 1970 – the Silver Shadow represented the first time RR used a monocoque construction for one of its models, independent rear suspension and disc brakes all round.
Comfort was paramount, and as such a hydro-pneumatic suspension system was employed under license from Citroën, allowing the suspension to self-level and also drive the braking system at the same time. Initially self-levelling on all four corners, the front system was deemed surplus to requirements in 1969, with subsequent cars featuring self-levelling on the rear only.
Narrower and shorter than the Silver Cloud it supplanted, the Silver Shadow was the first Rolls-Royce to feature a monocoque bodyshell, disc brakes, and independent suspension. But, before the traditionalists close this browser tab to find out where they can watch some VSCC racing this weekend, we should remind you that the Silver Shadow was still largely hand built at the time, something that sadly isn’t the case now that Rolls Royce merely assemble cars from crates stamped ‘BMW 7-series.’
Hydropneumatically suspended using Citroën’s engineering genius, the Silver Shadow introduced the world to the idea that luxury should neither be heard nor felt. In this it succeeded, and a properly maintained example still stuns you with its almost complete lack of NVH, even today. A Tesla might have it beaten, but a modern Royce certainly won’t.
You see, the sort of Rolls-Royce that built the company’s reputation wasn’t about offering vulgar finishes, no matter how beautifully they might be applied. No, it was about creating cars using the finest engineering standards that man could achieve, and then cloaking it in a body that drew admiring glances rather than attention; no-one has ever posted a video of a Silver Shadow wafting through London, which is exactly as it should be.
Built before Rolls-Royce disappeared up their own backsides and renamed themselves The House of Rolls-Royce (and no, I’m not joking), this Silver Shadow is a charming reminder of why everyone who was anyone bought one; legends like Sir Tom Jones, George Best, and Barry Sheene all had one, as did Muhammad Ali, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Dean Martin, Aristotle Onassis, and Frank Sinatra.
This example features the later 6750cc 189bhp V8 engine, which is enough to endow the old girl with sprightly performance without being vulgar enough to trouble the rear tyres with anything so boorish as a chirrup upon setting off.
Some enthusiasts claim the all alloy Rolls V8 is in fact a rebadged Cadillac engine, but this is untrue – it was designed by Rolls Royce in England and continued in service right up to the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, where, with the addition of a large turbocharger, it made more than 400 horsepower. It was in production from 1959 to 2020.
Despite the later engine spec this car is still a Mk1 Shadow, with the more delicate bumpers and slightly cleaner lines than the Shadow 2 which was introduced soon after this one was built.
On the Outside
£15,000 is a lot of money to spend on a respray and the quality of it shines through – the paintwork is beautiful. Looking round the car we couldn’t fault the Le Mans Blue metallic finish – it’s stunning.
The hubcaps look to have been refinished at the same time as the bodywork and they too, look unmarked. All the shut lines are spot on, the panels ripple free and the overall impression is one of a car that has had a very easy life, which is, of course, backed up by the incredibly low mileage – fewer than 30,000 miles in its 46 years. That’s just a little over 650miles a year. Good grief!
So lovely is the exterior that it’s hard to find anything that detracts from the car’s outward appearance, but we have a job to do and we managed to find two things. Firstly, there’s some very slight crazing on the finish of the boot mounted Rolls Royce badge. We quite like it – this is, after all, a 46 year old car, and it’s nice to see the odd sign of its age. But the second fault is something we’d want to sort straight away.
Will somebody please straighten those damn rear fog lights – they’re driving us crazy! Better still, just remove them – they’re a crooked menace.
On the Inside
Oh for the days of a Rolls Royce without bling. If you’ve seen a modern one you’ll know they’re long gone, but in here it’s serene, quiet and classy. No untoward flashness, just sumptuous luxury. The two-spoke steering wheel is beautiful in its simplicity, with the merest of shiny embellishments.
The right hand stalk is an electrical switch that controls the GM TH400 autobox, an indicator window mounted on top of the steering column showing in which direction you’ve chosen to travel.
The deep leather seats are upholstered in fine Connolly hide of a type that doesn’t seem to exist in modern car manufacturing, where leather almost appears to be plasticised. Not here, this is like taking a seat in your favourite gentlemen’s club.
It’s all in superb order, and a truly wonderful place to take a trip. And the funny thing is, although this was a full size saloon back in the day, by modern standards the Shadow is a pretty compact car – it’s considerably narrower than a modern BMW 5 Series.
Rolls Royce’s L Series V8 sits below a pair of SU carburettors and an electro-mechanical automatic choke is on hand for cold starting duties. The car’s age is more apparent under the bonnet, but not in any unpleasant way. There’s no corrosion on metal parts, just a gentle aging of finishes that an enthusiastic owner could tidy over a period – if they so wished.
This car has standard springs at the front, with the Citroën licensed self levelling rear suspension driven from an engine mounted pump. At this mileage this engine, which never has to work hard anyway, is barely run in.
The car’s underside is clean and completely sound, with no signs of any rust and no evidence any has ever existed here.
The car comes with a summary of monies paid to Classic Restoration and Services Ltd, including £15,000 on a respray – a total sum of £33,102. Pictures of the body restoration underway are included with the car.
2014, new exhaust system – £4704.
2014, new fuel pumps, brake overhaul, servicing, wheel arch painting - £3799.
2016, maintenance work – £4457.
There are also bills indicating that the air conditioning system has been renewed and that the brakes and hydraulic systems have been thoroughly overhauled.
The owner says;
‘My wife and I decided to buy the car as our friend in Greece decided to sell it and I always wanted to own a Rolls Royce. We have now owned it since 2014 and had our enjoyment, and decided it was time to move it on to a like minded person.
‘We used the car for weddings from 1992 onwards, and it was loved and cherished by the previous owners. It’s a totally standard car, as sold by Waddam Stringer of Chichester in January 1977.
‘The special number plates were changed around 1992 as far as we know and have a considerable value against its original R plate, the engine is original with the low mileage which can be proved by the information provided in the car portfolio.
‘It’s just a lovely car, and it runs beautifully.’
There are bills indicating, amongst other works, the following.
2017, autobox service – £860.
2018, new carburettor floats – £213.
2019, Fuel system overhaul – £715.
2022, general maintenance work – £4457.
2020, electric window repair – £2412.
In addition there is a pile of old MoT certificates, a selection of historic photographs and two sets of keys for the car.
What We Think
These Shadows have been seriously undervalued for a long time now, something that will surely end soon. With an estimated guide price of 20 to £25k, this represents an absolute bargain, especially in this condition and with this low mileage. A fantastic opportunity to acquire what must be one of the best examples of a Series 1 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow available.
Our estimate for this car Is £20,000-£25,000.
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- Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
- Seller Type: Private
- Odometer Reading: 29150
- Chassis Number: SRH26522
- Engine: 6750
- Gearbox: auto
- Steering position: RHD
- Colour: Le Mans Blue
- Interior: Grey Connolly Leather
- Estimated Price: £20,000 - £25,000