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$5,500 Rolls Royce: Money Pit?


Naturally, being a British car fan I have some admiration for Rolls Royces. I’ve never driven one (yet) so I can’t comment on how they drive, but I have investigated purchasing one at various times, and have found them to have a LOT of very specific maintenance requirements. Just looking at this diagram of the brake system gives me chills and brings back nightmares from some of the systems of my old XJS. But this car has actually undergone a bare-metal restoration (pictures are included in the auction listing and more are available) and is up for sale here on eBay with a buy-it-now of $5,500 and lower bids being entertained. The car is currently in Ontario, Canada. The seller states that it was restored in 2004 but has been driven very little since. They list the driver’s seat upholstery and a dent in the passenger rear door as being the major issues with the car at the moment. It does have 112,000 miles and is right hand drive, but judged purely on the visuals in the pictures looks nice apart from the one dent. Underhood looks dirty but complete, and the only other negative I could see was that the famous “flying lady” mascot is bent! So, would you take a chance on this Silver Shadow? Hmmm, book value on the Camry is about $4,500 – imagine a daily driver Rolls Royce!


  1. randy

    Not a money pit, an industrial money vacuum! It spends money just sitting pretty! Rt hand drive cars parts are even more costly. Just the hub caps are several hundred dollars, unpainted. I drove a Corniche convertible back in the eighties, the power is very smooth, and it is like driving your couch down the road.

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  2. David Frank david Member

    Someone bought this cheap! (for even less than the BIN of $5500.) Hopefully the buyer has a realistic use for it and won’t be driving it much, or perhaps the buyer has deep pockets.

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  3. Peter R

    In 1986 I bought a 1976 RR – what a terrible mistake – everything cost a fortune then – power steering pump $1K+ just for the part – stupid money and it did not feel safe to drive much over 60 mph – but it did get me treated like a wealthy man wherever we went – great for the ego – good luck to the buyer and congratulations to the seller

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  4. jimbosidecar

    I had a 1978 in the late 1980s. Classy ride but no fun to drive at all.

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  5. Jeff V

    These old Rollers are pure class. In the 80’s I worked at a auto service center next to Palm Beach, FL. where they were a dime-a-dozen. I remember driving a early 70’s RR Corniche vert with just one finger on the wheel, smooootthh. Like older Jags maint/parts can be pricey. Definitely not a solo car owned-daily driver. Deep-pockets req, enthusiast material.

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  6. jim s

    MONEY PIT. been there done that. but everyone should own at least 1 rolls. the hyd. system is the main problem with shadow/shadow II. if you want to know what it like to drive one there are places that rent them.

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  7. jim s

    this seller also has 2 jags for sale on ebay.

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    • Tirefriar

      Sure it costs as much as a Camry. Problem is that a full brake job costs as much as a Corolla

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  8. Nick G

    Even the head of RR admitted that this series was not very good.

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  9. brakeservo

    An old Rolls or Bentley can be a great daily driver, key word is OLD, and the OLDER the better – I will never ever buy one built after 1959 when the V8 came out. Today a Mark VI or R Type Bentley is the best everyday classic a man can drive – reliable as your used Camry, and probably cheaper for most everyday repairs too! The best bargain in an undiscovered ‘classic.’ The early postwar – 1946 – 1954 cars are the BEST Rolls Royce built after WWII. Someday everyone will know that, today only the knowledgeable do.

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  10. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I agree 100% with that statement about not owning one later than 1959. The V8 engine is over-complicated, and the company continued to over-complicate the new Shadow in 1965, especially the Citroen licensed hydraulic brake & suspension system. I operated a Rolls-Royce limo service in Maryland & DC back in the 1980s, running such vehicles as a 52 Silver Dawn, 54 Silver Wraith, 48 Bentley Mk6 & 54 “R” type, Cloud 1 & 2, and the dreaded Shadows.
    As experts all agree, the actual cost of a Rolls-Royce is not the purchase price, it’s the yearly costs to keep it running. The Shadow cars ran at least triple the yearly costs, compared to the 6 cylinder cars. A total hydraulic system overhaul can quickly exceed $10k.

    And FYI; Did you know the front suspension on the post war Rolls-Royce motorcars was a direct copy of the 1935 Packard 120 system?

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