1985 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Spirit

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1985 ROLLS-ROYCE Silver Spirit



The final hand-built Rolls-Royce before BMW took control of the company, the Silver Spirit of 1980 was the first model in the SZ series. Essentially an evolution, albeit a significant one, of the preceding Silver Shadow, the firm clearly got it right because it was in production for a staggering 19 years.

With familiar mechanical underpinnings, including the much loved and well-proven 6.75-litre alloy V8 engine lightly tuned to around 200bhp, this 2.2-tonne luxury saloon was engineered to glide along in a suitably unobtrusive manner, although the old girl could pick up her skirts and run when called upon.

With a level of quality, fit and finish that was second to none and is still unmatched, many believe the Silver Spirit to be the last Rolls-Royce to be built to the standards the company’s founders intended when they started their collaboration all those years ago.

The Vehicle

In the care of the current registered keeper since approximately 1985, this Horse Chestnut Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit has covered just 42,000 miles from new. Fitted with an Oatmeal interior, the majority of the interior wood was refurbished only a couple of years ago.

Always kept garaged and said to be running well, it’s been maintained by the same specialist for the past two decades and is being sold by them on behalf of the late owner’s wife.

Offered for sale with no reserve, this is a great opportunity for a hands-on enthusiast to buy a well-maintained example - after being able to chat to the team that have been looking after it for the past 20 years.

On the Outside

The Horse Chestnut coachwork is in fine order being straight and well cared for, and while hand-built cars like this can show somewhat variable panel alignment, this one presents very well indeed.

It’s an imposing shape anyway but that magnificent grille really sets this Silver Spirit apart from other luxury cars from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz – and that’s without taking into account the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy…

The light lenses, which are huge, are in great shape, as are the badges. The chromework, although less extensive than on previous models, is pretty good as well.

The wheels are good, as are the hubcaps, and they are fitted with Avon Turbosteel tyres on the front axle and Goodyear Eagles on the rear, all of which look to have decent tread.

The paintwork looks good as you walk up to it but closer inspection shows there are some flaws including some marks from bird poop and age (i.e. #77, #165 and #168), a few small bubbles that need catching (i.e. #71), plus some scratches (i.e. #208).

Other flaws? The front spoiler has also come away a little on the nearside (#58), the headlamps have some condensation inside them (#66 and #67), and there’s a stonechip in the windscreen (#82).

The Silver Spirit is near Reading, so please feel free to contact the vendor to make an appointment to view it in person.

On the Inside

The driver’s seat shows only light creasing to the hide, with a little colour loss to the odd patch (93 and #100). This is consistent with its age and mileage and, we think, adds to the car’s appeal; we buy old cars for their character and because we are all romantics at heart, so why would you want to erase the very history so many of us crave?

The rest is even better. It’s easy to forget what car interiors used to be like, back in the day; constructed of proper materials like wood and leather and metal, it was also designed and assembled by craftsmen and women, so it’s no wonder it’s weathered the past four decades with such impressive aplomb.

And it’s a lovely place to be. Obviously, the driver and front seat passenger have that gorgeous dashboard to admire but it’s those in the back that get the full Rolls-Royce experience, enjoying individual rear seats, a pair of foot rests, vast legroom, plus walnut veneer-trimmed and illuminated mirrors to either rear pillar.

The headlining is clean and taut, the door cards are in good order, and the refurbished walnut veneer trim is good.

A more modern Blaupunkt Lausanne CD player has been fitted, and a Jack Barclay Ltd sill plates suggest its supplying dealer was something of a legend in these circles.

The boot, which has some stains to the carpet, is home to the tool kit.

The only real patination we might like to address would be the steering wheel (#6), the condensation inside the rev counter and speedometer (#45), some of the underdash wiring is a little untidy (#91), and a few bits of veneer trim that escaped the recent refurbishment (i.e. #51, #162 and #187) but that’s all very much in the nice to do category rather than anything more pressing.

Oh, and the lamb’s wool overmats have gone green with age and so are probably past saving, although the small amount of mildew we can see on the leather (i.e. #192) should be removeable.


As you can see, the Silver Spirit starts well and revs and ticks over as it should. As you’d imagine after being pampered by the same specialist for so long, we are told it drives well too after having had the carburettors overhauled only recently.

The engine bay is in a decent condition but those of a fastidious nature will want to clean it up and perhaps detail it to being it up to the same standard as the rest of the car.

The underside looks good but could do with its underseal touching up to keep it protected.

History Highlights

The Silver Spirit’s MoT certificate is valid until July 2023 and it was gained, as so many times before, without coming to the attention of the MoT tester.

We are told that the car comes with its service history book and handbook in addition to the paperwork confirming the care it’s received over the years.

Please contact Simon, who is selling the Silver Spirit on behalf of the late owner’s wife, to arrange a viewing and to examine the paperwork that supports his claim that it’s got a “good history”. He’s also very happy to discuss the car and the work he’s carried out on it, which should give potential buyers reassurance as to its condition.

The recent Vehicle History Check is clear.

What We Think

A reminder of the good old days when Rolls-Royce still built the world’s finest motorcars by hand, this Silver Spirit would benefit from some gentle refurbishment but give the plethora of specialists, not least the chap who’s been looking after it so well and for so long already, this needn’t be a cause for concern; in fact, if you’re looking for the most cost-effective entry into the rarified world of the hand-built luxury saloon, this would be a very good place to start.

With a guide price of between £8,000 and £12,000 we think this one offers an awful lot of car for the money anyway but as it’s being offered with no reserve, it is going to sell from the very first bid, no matter how derisory that might be.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with the vendor in Reading, United Kingdom. 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’.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

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

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 always encourage 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 basic 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 (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a 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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  • Location: Reading, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 42000
  • Engine: 6750 cc
  • Gearbox: Auto
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Horse Chestnut
  • Interior: Oatmeal
  • Estimated Price: £8,000 - £12,000

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