Alpaca Edition! 1971 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow

Look, we don’t make this stuff up. We just write about and post what we see. This time around we have a 1971 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. In common configuration four-door sedan. Well, “saloon” as our friends across the pond call them. This one is located far from the UK in our nation’s Heartland and here on craigslist in the Columbia, Missouri. The asking price is $7,000, which seems more or less reasonable for a car like this, so let’s take a quick look.

The seller rightfully describes it as a “real eyeball magnet” with 1970s two-tone paint, bright chrome and of course, the imposing Rolls Royce grille. We here at Barn Finds see no cause to disagree with this. The car is also said to be in need of a new owner who likes to tinker, as the engine runs well at startup, but then begins to sputter. Additionally, money has been spent on the air conditioning system, but it’s still not quite in working order. The seller does not provide any shots of the engine, but there are a number of nice photos of the interior.

This shot of the door panel looks good, and the seller mentions that one of the window motors may need some work. There’s another shot, this one of the instrument panel, which also looks to be in decent condition:

Wait, what’s that fur? What are we looking at here? Someone’s fancy slip-over seat covers?

Yeah, no.  The seller says the sewn-in upholstery is made of real alpaca fur. So there’s that. My apology, I’m kind of at a loss for words right now. I don’t know what to say about it. I’m gonna need a moment.

Well, it’s pretty. I wouldn’t mind petting it, I guess. I’ll bet it’s comfortable to sit on. The seller says it’s warm in the wintertime and cool in the summer. I’m not sure how that last bit could be true, but I’m willing to take her word for it. They do look luxurious, I’ll admit that.

It’s all good man, but I can’t help but think the package is not quite complete. With upholstery like this, it needs steer horns on the hood…or something like that. But since it’s a Bri’ish car, that doesn’t really make sense. Bonnet! Bonnet! Not hood, sorry. Wikipedia says there are more than 50,000 alpacas living in the UK. Come on, how was I not going to look that up? They don’t have horns, but we would never remove the “Spirit of Ecstasy” winged hood ornament -BONNET ornament- anyway.

The seller suggests this car might make an interesting candidate for modifications or a street rod. (LS, anyone?) Oh, I did NOT say that!

The seller also lets us know they own three other Rolls Royce vehicles, and that they might be amenable to possibly providing a limited amount of advice or possible tech support when necessary, and it is my opinion that this cannot be overvalued with a car like this, and by “a car like this” I mean a Rolls Royce in general, and not necessarily one with alpaca seat covers. The decision whether or not to retain those will, of course, be strictly up to the new owner. That decision might not be as easy as it sounds. Much more difficult than the decision to not ride around asking Bentley drivers if they have any Grey Poupon. So the question then is, how would you handle it?


  1. Adam T45 Staff

    Living in Tasmania I have a car that has sheepskin seat covers, so I’m guessing that they would be comparable to alpaca in their characteristics. I find the sheepskin to be warmer than factory cloth seats in winter. In summer I find that the slightly lower density provided by the sheepskin fibres (Australian spelling) over cloth upholstery does tend to make the seating cooler. The sheepskin fibres allow the material to “breathe” better, providing a cooler driving experience on hot days. This is particularly important to me as my car is fitted with what I refer to as “2/60 air conditioning” ( 2 windows down at 60mph!).

    Like 1
  2. BarnfindyCollins

    Hey it’s furby the Brit bug, ok Al- pac that comment up to immaturity.

  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’m running sheepskins over the front bucket seats of the Low Sierra, for the reasons Adam mentioned. It makes riding in the car on hot summer days very comfortable, with the Four-100 air conditioning going full-bore.

    Getting back to the Rolls (which motoring writer, Ralph Stein, once suggested had ‘Nash Rambler styling’), I wonder what the condition of the Connolloy hide leather is like underneath the alpaca covers?

    It also sounds like it needs a new condenser or coil, which is not a biggie, and I guess I shouldn’t blame the evil Joseph Lucas for the problem, due to the car’s vintage.

    Believe it or not? RR Shadows are known to be quite prone to rust, and I’d suggest any potential buyer might want to have a very close look before buying.

    These cars have not yet caught on with collectors and prices remain well below those of, say, the Silver Cloud.

  4. txchief

    I think the seller’s “technical support” might only cover the details on the seat covers.

  5. Rock On

    There is a big alpaca farm about 90 minutes north of Toronto.

  6. Sweet

    Nice body but sketchy on engine as stahl can be electrical which is a b*tch from bad distributors to coil or a short somewhere. The car could have bad plugs, plug wires or even a broken plate in battery breaking connections upon a bounce.

    This guy must know what it is but pretending not known .

    Drive to auozone and hook up to their disc tools first if you can’t trouble shoot you self to even lifting the hood in darkness to see electric dance if wires short

  7. Drew V.

    “possibly providing a limited amount of advice or possible tech support when necessary, and it is my opinion that this cannot be overvalued”

    Just curious as to the amount and value of this technicalsupport is worth after reading “as the engine runs well at startup, but then begins to sputter”.???

  8. Ian C

    Just to be different from the standard LS idea….
    My plans for this would be Mini tubs, stretched factory wheels, Pro-charged GM 572, and leave it looking as is. Column shift, ugly seats and all.

  9. Dave in Florida

    This fine automobile will drain your bank account quickly, it’s over complicated and nothing for it is cheap. Example: My ’84 Silver Spur’s brake job was $6,200, and a steering rack was $1,600. Basically it cost me about $1,000 a month to keep it on the road.

    • Pete in PA

      At least your car is classy looking, not like the two-tone abomination featured in this posting.

  10. Hans L

    Great write-up with some good humor. Enjoyed the read!! Keep it up.

  11. Rube Goldberg Member

    Well, I hope our British cousins don’t take offense to a Rolls under the “oddball” heading. They are very proud of their RR’s, and should be, undoubtedly, the finest motorcar made. I heard, it’s not buying one, it’s repairing them. If you have to ask how much, you have no business owning a Rolls. It bamboozles me, this car is offered at the same site that features rusty Chevette’s ( and such) Shows the diversity of our hobby. Fantastic car, just not for someone on Social Security.


    I love these older model ROLLS, Bently has killed the look of current model Rolls. On my wall I have a ” F.C.Kerbeck” N.J. dealer poster with pictures of 2013 cars he sells, including Bently,and R.R. They just don’t look right with square headlights,and other changes to what was a gorgeous car as this one is.

    • Wolfgang Gullich

      Bentley and Rolls are owned by different companies now, that’s why. Bentley is under Volkswagen and Rolls, under that killer of dreams, BMW

    • AF

      Bentley sir! Thanks, Mr. ROLLS

  13. Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

    One totally ruined Rolls Royce motor car. What was the owner thinking? Maybe he owns a fairground carousel that he was intending to mount the car on! I really hope that it goes to a buyer that puts it back to it’s original specs.

  14. madbrit

    There’s no mystique about RR mechanicals. They are basically the same as most any car. There are a few exceptions such as the accumulators which power the suspension, etc. but other than that, they are quite normal to work on. I used to help out a friend who dealt in used RR cars. He would use retired or RR dealer trained mechanics who would do the jobs he didn’t want to do and at much cheaper rates than a RR dealer.
    The a/c system is a GM offering, the transmission is also a GM TH 400 in the Shadows. The Clouds ran the earlier Hydramatic.
    Now if you have a RR with a full service history, then you will pay extra for the car and have to have it serviced by a bonafide RR agent to maintain this valuable asset. RRs without a service history are substantially cheaper.

  15. Pat

    Needs shag carpeting on the headliner….

  16. Ensign Pulver

    Ah the siren’s call…..I want one, I want a blue one. I know it could only end badly but still I think about heeding their call.

  17. Dovi65

    RUN, don’t walk, as fast as you can away from such beasts. Yes, they truly are quite easy on the eyes, and a dream to ride/drive. You don’t own Rollers of this age as much as they own you.This example hasn’t aged well, and the known issues combined with issues that will soon present themselves will bankrupt you in short order. I wonder if even a RR dealer would take this

  18. Superdessucke

    So, what are the odds this gets purchased by a Florida Seminoles fan? You could gussy it up in team emblems and stripes, put a keg cooler with tapper in the trunk, and tailgate the living crap out of this thing.

    • Dovi65

      That’s about all this car is good for. It’s good eye-candy and doesn’t need to be in perfect operating order, nor ply the public roads again. A sad retirement for a once grand lady.

  19. James P Bandy

    Ha Rolls Royce…..This one $7000.00….I bought mine for $3,500.00…and a nice driver..original…I belong to RR Club…Silver Shadow’s are all several for sale….This one…hummm $5000.00….and it’s YOURS”


    I’ve read that these cars are money pits and then some. If I ever owned a RR, I’d like the kind that they used on that old TV show, “Burke’s Law.”

    • john

      Ahhh, what a class show.. Gene Barry,.him with the cane and grand exit from the back seat; true RR living. your post indicates I about know ‘your age” !! good write up on this automobile…quirky sense of humor, eh?

  21. Michael Gregory

    Always dreamed of owning one of these, but always knew I couldn’t afford to repair or even maintain one. A close friend bought an ’85 online and owned it for three years, never getting to drive it even around the block because neither he nor any mechanics could get it running.

    Also knew an old gal who drove an early 60’s one for years. She always had a jar of Grey Poupon in the glove box. Finally someone asked her at a stoplight so she handed it to them.

    I will go to my grave wanting one. Closest I ever got was to sit in a busted one on my birthday.

  22. Steve

    Hmmm I wonder why in the add it has a salvage title?

  23. Ching-A-Trailer

    One of the worst cars ever made by RR, also will never really be collectible as they simply made too darn many! Which shows Abe Lincoln really was right – you can fool “some of the people all of the time” in this case, the people with money who buy these things not knowing that they’ll spend the equivalent of a new Kia just on a proper brake job and the suspension hydraulics will suck up dollars nearly as fast too!

  24. Richard

    I’m looking for a Shadow with a converted GM drivetrain. I already have a converted Spur and love it. Let me know if you know of one avsilable: benzjag@

  25. wuzjeepnowsaab

    The most expensive car you will ever ever buy… is a cheap Rolls Royce

  26. Kinmont Willy

    Re: Alpaca Edition – Either the upholsterer or the owner of the RR is not being straight about the skins. The upholstery is inexpensive long-haired goat skins (much cheaper than sheep skins). My wife wanted a couple of Alpacas so we went to a breeder. An average Alpaca is about the same price he is asking for car and some were as high as $20,000. She liked the expensive ones and I would be taking care of them and my dog would be tormenting them. So that never materialized.
    That said, I put sheep skins in my 4 Runner Ltd after my young dog got bored and chewed up the leather seats when I left him alone in the car for 15 minutes. The sheep skins were great in both the summer and winter and the dog loved them and didn’t chew on them. They have tightly curled fur which feels like you are sitting on air, wears well doesn’t get matted like long haired goat skins.
    Re: Price of the RR: I used the travel to Hong Kong a lot on business and you could buy a really nice used later model RR cheaper than an economy car. The wealthy guys would get rid of them after a few years and even if they gave them away for free, most people couldn’t afford to keep them running and the other wealthy people wouldn’t touch them because they were used and that was beneath them.

  27. Riton

    Bad respray? Look at the build tag in the door.

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