HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

Pick of the Day: 1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

A great example from a grand marque

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Rolls-Royce is one of the most storied marques in the history of the automobile. The cars built by the company tend to be considered some of the finest, if not the absolute best built cars of their eras. Pre-war coachbuilt cars from Rolls-Royce car cost millions of dollars and today a new Rolls-Royce will cost north of $400,000.

1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

From late 1940s through the early 1960s Rolls-Royce cars were built using older technology and methods, having little or no groundbreaking engineering in their designs. This all changed in 1965 when the company built their first truly new design for decades; the Silver Shadow.

The Silver Shadow was aimed at a younger market and incorporated such things as dual-circuit disc brakes and a suspension breakthrough for the time with a high-pressure hydropneumatic system licensed from Citroën, giving the car a self-levelling suspension.

1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

The car was an immediate hit and soon there were waiting lists to acquire a Silver Shadow. They were bought by notable celebrities of the time including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Liberace, Aristotle Onassis, and Muhammad Ali to name a few.

In the 1990s through the early 2000s the Silver Shadow seemed to fall out of favor with the car community, and as a result it was possible to get a nice example for as little as $20,000. Then people started to rediscover the Shadow and since around 2010 the prices have been slowly on the rise. There are still Silver Shadow cars available in the low $20k range, but these are likely to be examples with significant needs and should be avoided unless you want to put your mechanic’s children and grandchildren through college.

I have driven a number of well looked after Silver Shadows over the past 10 years and these cars deliver on the Rolls-Royce promise of excellence in every way. They are comfortable, elegant, and have a build quality so beyond other luxury cars of the era that they are hard to find anything to compare them with. No, they are not fast, but they are smooth, quiet, and supremely comfortable. There is also a special feeling of being behind the wheel of a car wearing the Spirit of Ecstasy ornament on its cathedral grille that is unequalled. The Silver Shadow just feels special and conveys that feeling to the driver in every way.

The Pick of the Day is a 1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow finished in Silver Mink paintwork with a dark blue leather interior listed for sale on ClassicCars.com (Click the link to view the listing)

1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

The St. Louis, Missouri seller states that this Silver Shadow has covered 59,000 from new and has been fastidiously maintained and preserved by a series of faithful custodians and enthusiastic Rolls-Royce owners club members. They call it wonderfully presented with excellent paint and brightwork, and a beautiful original interior with a near perfect character and inviting patina. The listing closes by stating that it is of the best examples of its type and is ready for continued enjoyment in a wide range of events. The car includes its original tools, owner’s handbook, and service records.

This is a Silver Shadow to buy, as it sounds that it’s always had conscientious owners who cared about the car and could afford to maintain it properly. A good Silver Shadow will not break the bank with service costs but remember that it is a Rolls-Royce and cannot be repaired by just anyone. I would budget about $3,500-5,000 a year to keep it in good shape and working properly.

The asking price of this car is a reasonable and market correct $52,500 and is likely to give its new owner a lifetime of enjoyment.

Hagerty
Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In the late ’80s, some college friends and I hit black ice at cruise control 70+ mph in a chocolate brown ’87 S500 Mercedes Benz sedan belonging to the driver’s father. The car struck a guardrail, spun into an abutment, then ricocheted into the opposite abutment backwards. Witnesses were sure we were dead. No one in the vehicle had any more than bruises, although the car was a write-off. Can any Rolls beat that? Survey says…

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