Cheap Luxury? 1982 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur

For the price of a decade-old Hyundai Sonata or less, a person could have this 1982 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur. No, really. The seller has this gorgeous and stately car posted here on craigslist in Des Moines, but not the Iowa version. This one is in Des Moines, Washington, between Seattle and Tacoma, my favorite place to buy vehicles from. They’re asking $9,775 for this beauty.

I know, I know, buying a decade-old Sonata will still get you a car that’s reliable and relatively cheap to fix, unlike buying a four-decade-old Rolls-Royce. Pish-posh, as you’ll have to start saying if you join the ranks of being a Rolls-Royce owner. If you want front row valet service for less than ten grand, here it is. You ain’t gettin’ that with a Hyundai. For the record, Hagerty is at $9,600 for a #3 good condition car and $14,400 for a #2 excellent condition car so this could be a decent buy if it’s been maintained properly and that’s always, always, always the most important thing with complicated cars like this one.

The Silver Spur is a slightly longer version of the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and in Bentley form, it would be related to the Bentley Mulsanne Long Wheelbase. Four inches would be added to the rear passenger compartment and to the rear doors to give a more luxurious and roomy passenger compartment. Not that the Silver Spirit was cramped but hey, if you’re going with a Roller, why not get a longer one?

This car looks basically like it just rolled off the factory line in Crewe but, sadly, the seller is very sparse on photos in this listing. Believe it or not, and I know that you can believe it, this is the only interior photo. That’s right, there is not one photo showing the rear passenger compartment. It’s hard to tell much from one photo showing the dash, but from what we can see, it looks perfect. I had such high hopes for 2021 when it came to online sales listings, we needed one thing to get better this year. Nope. The transmission is a GM-sourced Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic, there’s no clutch pedal in this car… yet (wringing hands).

That grille, though! Beautiful. It has almost new tires, everything works, and it’s ready to drive home. The seller doesn’t give much info about this particular car other than some info about Rolls-Royce ownership, in general. They do say that it “has been loved and enjoyed on an occasional basis consistently for all it’s 39 years and has still only got 65,891 miles on it. Consequently it is in excellent mechanical condition and other then a few signs of normal ware isn’t much different then a five year old car.”

You already knew that there would be no engine photos but this one should have a Hyundai… I mean, a Rolls-Royce 6.75L V8 which would have had 220 horsepower, and all US cars were fuel-injected which is nice. Would any of you ever take a chance on a car like a Rolls-Royce with a relatively low asking price? I would. I know that a few of you have owned one, let’s hear those stories!

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Comments

  1. SebastianX1/9

    Whatever else, these are reliable cars with incredible engines. Harry Metcalfe famously drove one into the Arctic circle.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VIdNcbsgOiM

    Like 10
    • Al

      Is the Arctic Circle a ridge or a dip?.
      How does one drive into it?
      Can’t you just cross it?

      I guess my jogfree just isn’t up to snuff

      • Bill McCoskey

        Al,

        I’m told the easiest way to know when you’ve crossed the arctic circle is one of the trees along side the road will have a sign nailed to it, letting visitors know they are now north of the circle!

        At least that’s what I’m told, and I’m stickin’ to it!

  2. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I’m always a bit hesitant to get excited about “cheap” Rolls Royce’s, especially one being offered by a dealer…BUT this does look and sound like a not bad buy if it’s in good running nick and by that I mean if the suspension is up to snuff.

    If so, this is a highway cruiser that will gobble up the miles without even a ripple in the ride. OR it’s a money sponge that will leave you broke and crying pretty quickly.

    Like 6
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I think you’re spot-on, wuzjeepnowsaab. I have a Cayenne Turbo that has been nothing but crazy reliable other than regular maintenance and it has well over 100k on it now. My wife had a new Mini Cooper (non-turbo) that was in the shop at 500 miles and ever since until it was traded on a Subaru. It’s hard to tell, but going by the numbers, a 40-year-old Rolls-Royce is more of a gamble than a 40-year-old… almost anything else! Well, maybe not a Quattroporte.

      Like 2
  3. Ignatius J. Reilly

    The Silver Spur was also the only model that had the option for a vinyl roof, like the one this car is afflicted with.

    Like 7
  4. OldCarGuy

    IIRC, the expression is “Pish-Tosh”. Okay, so I’m a nit-picker. Wish I had the bucks for this nice ride.

    Like 1
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      OCG, not to nit-pick your nit-pick, but that’s possibly one way to say it. I meant pish-posh, though, not pish-tosh.

      “Definition of pish posh. pish posh. noun – uncountable. nonsense; something absurd. Oh, that’s pish posh, dude. See more words with the same meaning: nonsense, lies.”

      Like 10
  5. Mr. TKD

    “There’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Rolls Royce.

    Is that a factory steering wheel?

    Where’s Hoovie to take a chance on this when you need him?

    Like 8
    • Steve Clinton

      “Is that a factory steering wheel?”
      I doubt it. Rolls had black ugly Checker-type steering wheels.

      Like 1
  6. Mr. TKD

    There’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Rolls Royce. Except perhaps a cheap Ferrari.

    Is that a factory steering wheel?

    Where’s Hoovie to take a chance on this when you need him?

    Like 5
    • Chris Webster

      Better looking by far than the OEM wheel, which belongs on a bus. Now if they would only offer a T bar shifter!

      Like 4
  7. Frank

    The Grey Poupon vehicle needs a Hellcat motor with a blower.

    Like 3
  8. Rich K

    Frank – blown Hellcat indeed! Probably would improve the fuel economy also.

    Like 1
  9. Tin box

    Poster child car deferred maintenance if it’s had more than one or two previous owners.
    ‘Look honey I bought a rolls’ ….until the first brake service or oil change.
    Not a bad car if you can service it yourself tho.

    Like 3
  10. Rick

    I would pick the Elantra.

    Like 3
  11. Steve Clinton

    If you have a bucketful of money for the inevitable repairs, this would be a cheap way to get into a Rolls ownership.

    Like 3
  12. Steve Clinton

    If I had a dollar for every time someone commented on these posts that they should have a honkin’ big V8 dropped in them, I’d be a rich man.

    Like 7
    • Charles Sawka

      It has one already in it

      Like 11
  13. Charles Sawka

    I’m a retired Rolls Royce technician.The engine,transmission and differential will live forever. However, the rest of the ancillary bits are going to make you crazy. Brake problems and fuel injection on these are costly. They are not particularly fuel efficient but they sure do go down the interstate nicely !

    Like 15
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for the insider info, Charles! I’m still kicking it around mentally, sort of, but that helps.

      Like 1
  14. Bob McK Member

    RUN…away!

    Like 3
  15. Clarke Morris

    I live in Central Washington about 3 hours from where the Rolls lives. I sent the owner Ross an email asking for additional photos of the interior and engine bay and inquired about any major issues or needs in the near future. If and when I get a reply, I will forward it on the Barn Finds.

    Like 8
  16. Bill McCoskey

    The key to buying this car can be said with 3 letters: FSH. That’s the British term used to let potential new owners know it’s had ALL the services the factory requires. It stands for Full Service History. All the receipts proving the work was completed. If the FSH is gone, walk away and find one with the paperwork.

    I’ve seen used car dealers buy and sell these cars, and then to hide the prior owner’s info, they toss all the paperwork into the trash. That can cost the dealer thousands of Dollars in profit [or loss!].

    IF this car DOES have the FSH, and the paperwork shows the car has been maintained to the standards of the Rolls-Royce factory, then this is a good buy. I had a similar 1985 Silver Spur Centennial, one of 25 built. Mine had FSH.

    Like 7
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I’ve read that, Bill, thanks for that information. The only ones to buy are one-owner cars that have had every single service recommended by the factory and/or dealer. The seller is a little cryptic on the history of this one, or on this car itself. It sure looks like a perfect example and a $250 in-person inspection would be a good idea for sure if a person can’t see it in person before it’s loaded onto a trailer.

      Like 1
  17. Gord

    An 83 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Was Used In Cannonball Run II (1984)

    Like 1
  18. Steve

    They drive nice but be prepared for the very complicated brake/suspension system. It’s similar to citroen where it uses mineral oil and the entire brake/suspension system is all together in a high pressure system. This system is the largest issue on these cars. Redoing it can easily cost in the $5K-10K range and if a previous owner put the wrong fluid in it, all the seals will be shot.

    The steering wheel is a Nardi, which I think was a factory option on this era of RR/Bentley and really nice. Many corniches sport the Nardi wheel.

    Like 3
  19. MD

    I can’t speak from experience because I have never owned one, but I have driven a few at the various pounts in my life when I thought I needed one.

    Frankly I can’t see why they should be particularly scary — a big V8 and TH400 sounds like a Cadillac or an Oldsmobile. The suspension is more complicated but it’s still just some hoses and other hydraulic parts.

    At one point I was looking at buying a West London dealer that sold probably more of these used Rollers than anyone else. His shop and mechanics didn’t look particularly exotic. Maybe I am missing something but I can’t think why they would be any scarier to work on than anything else. It’s just an English Buick equivalent that was put togetger carefully out of good parts.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      MD,
      Let me give you just one example of how these cars are constructed. If you need to remove the intake manifold, not only must all the mating surfaces be 100% clean, but there is no gasket as we know them.

      There is a very thin silk [real silk] thread that is gently laid down on the surfaces, and overlapped at one specific location. Then the bolts are installed [never use old bolts, use only new ones supplied by Rolls-Royce] torqued to specific numbers and in sequence. If you try to use a hand-cut gasket material, you will discover once everything is bolted back together, you don’t have power assisted brakes!

      Like 1
      • MD

        So you get the right bolts and a roll of that thread. I assume it’s all spelled out in the workshop manual.

        I guy I drank with at the pub when I lived in England had one. He ran a minibus company and had a bit of a shop. He serviced his own. If Alec could do it, it couldn’t have been rocket science.

        Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey

        MD, You and I are on the same page. Yes, for the mechanically inclined, it’s not generally difficult to repair these cars. Follow the directions and it’ll be fine.

        It’s the idiots out there who this advice is intended for. Car owners and shop owners both.

        I illustrated the manifold situation because I had an early Shadow come in, had no brake boost because the owner had substituted manila folder for the silk thread. He didn’t even notice the remnants of the old smashed thread!

        Like 1
  20. Kurtis

    I’d buy it just for the opportunity to pull up along side another Rolls, roll down the window and say “Pardon me. Would you have any Grey Poupon ?

    Like 1
  21. Richard L Snipes Member

    Absolutely a Nardi wheel. I installed one on my 1995 Buick Limited wagon. I doubt you’ll find another, and with the polished aluminum full door pulls on all four doors as well. Luxury at a different price level but only if you recognize it.

    Like 2
  22. Michael L Gregory

    I have always had a dream of owning a Rolls, but never had the deep pockets necessary. A close friend bought one similar to this maybe ten years ago and never managed to get it running once it was offloaded from the carrier. No telling how much money he spent on it before he gave it away to some family members.

    Like 2
  23. Andy

    I bought a late model 60’s Silver Shadow back in 1990 that I loved. That car was my special driver til 2003. That car came with 5 volume full service maintainer manual from the factory and included the final assembly blueprints of the car as constructed. .I bought special tools and even went to a 2 week maintenance course at the factory in the early 90’s. That’s how much I loved that car. With the active hydraulic suspension system the ride was incredible and it turned heads every we drove. Lost the car in a business bankruptcy settlement, I learned later it was sold and shipped to Brazil, so no chance to buy it back.

    Like 2
  24. Mark

    I don’t know why my comment didn’t get put on — no profanity or hate speech.

    What I was trying to say is that if you have a shop and sre willing to get your hands dirty this is not a very scary car — it’s a big V8 and a TH400 plus a complicated suspension. It’s not a Tesla. You don’t really have to learn any new tricks.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      What Mark said is correct, if you have a shop and are willing to abide by the specific requirements for servicing, this can be a very reliable vehicle. I will ad that it’s important to have all the repair and service manuals, Don’t try to do any repairs without checking the manuals first!

      If someone is in need of a set of manuals for RR and Bentley cars up thru about 1989, I have an extra set I can let go for a lot less than the going price. Billmccoskey@aol.com

      A friend who has a later Flying Spur with the twin turbo engine, has put in excess of 150,000 miles on the car, he recently went on one of the RROC club national meets up north, without any problems. He’s kept his car in beautiful condition. Most vintage car owners, when they see it, think the car has under 10,000 miles.

      Like 1
  25. CVHL

    This car is literally walking distance from my house! I’ve been watching it since it showed up on the lot. How surreal to see it on Barn Finds!

    Like 1

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