David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/2/20 9:30 a.m.

[Editor's Note: This article originally ran in the July 2019 issue of Classic Motorsports. Some information and prices may be different today.]

The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow has been owned by all manner of dignitaries, from rockers and royals to fighters and fashionistas. Vidal Sassoon had one. So did Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol and Johnny Cash.

The Silver Shadow may be a classic today, but upon its 1965 release it was downright contemporary. Its predecessor, the Silver Cloud series, dated back to 1955, sporting flowing fenders flanking that prominent grille. It was also the size of a city bus, more or less.

The Silver Shadow, by comparison, delivered more with less: more interior space with less overall length, width and height. Its slab-sided body, at the forefront of style for the time, was punctuated by the traditional Rolls-Royce grille–one that was proportional and proper, not ostentatious. That bodywork played well with both solid colors and two-tones.

The car was built to last, too–both in terms of design and materials. Road & Track tested one in 1976, a decade after its introduction, and called it the best car on the planet: “In a world gone plastic and throwaway, a Rolls is one of the few remaining links with the quality of the past.”

The Silver Shadow offered variety, too, including long-wheelbase, estate, coupe and convertible models. Those last two eventually broke out into their own model line, Corniche. Bentley variants were also built.

The Silver Shadow had staying power, too. While sedan production ended in 1980, Rolls-Royce offered the convertible version all the way through 1995. Today’s price for all this pomp and panache? We’ve seen presentable sedans starting in the low teens.

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Martisan
Martisan
6/2/20 8:18 p.m.

When they were making “the best car in the world” for all the really important stuff that needed to be good they shared Chevy Impala parts- transmission, air conditioning, and  power steering. I worked on one several times and what impressed me the most was the auto trans linkage that worked beautifully (their own parts), and the hand finished mitered door glass frames. As a car I was underwhelmed.  This may have been accentuated by what a creep the owner was. 

Kurt Lammon
Kurt Lammon None
4/6/21 1:07 p.m.

Do these cars have live axles? How hard would it be to get rid of the hydraulics and just go with straight coil springs? I've always loved the looks of the R-R Shadows and have been attracted by their low prices. LS swap, Wilwood brakes all around?

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