Labor, Schmabor: 1984 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

Where’s Driver today? What, a holiday? Oh, bother. Labor Day? Ridiculous! All the labor I do, creating jobs and trickling down and what have you, and now I have to drive myself? Oh well, let’s do pop out and pick up something a bit more manageable to drive, shall we; something like this 1984 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit (you know, the regular wheelbase model). I think I can fish the $9,750 asking price out of the change cup in the walk-in humidor, and besides, we’ll be getting rid of it tomorrow anyway, when Driver gets back (archived ad).

Well, it’s been simply ages since I’ve held a steering wheel, but this one seems awfully big and thin-rimmed for a modern car, no? And it’s a bit cozier in here than I was expecting…almost as if this Rolls merely wears a 1980s body atop a 1960s platform. Then again, space efficiency is such a plebeian concern, and don’t these Connolly hides still smell lovely? Even after 75,000 miles—quite a lot for a Rolls, don’t you know.

Hmm, things look a bit more worn back here, don’t they—and again, such skimpy room! Oh, I’ve just had the most marvelous idea: let’s pick up Chet and Bunny and make them ride back here all the way to the club! That’ll serve them right for that tacky comment she made about the size of our butler’s pantry last time we had them over for Moët and crudité.

I say, isn’t this light-colored veneer looking a bit outré? I know one buys a Rolls for the individuality of the options, of course, but they had to know the ’80s weren’t going to last forever, didn’t they? And a bit worn here, too—tut, tut.

What is this badge? Silver Spirit II? Oh, no, the second of anything will never do—must be a first edition. What? You say this model didn’t actually come with a nameplate, and some subsequent owner must have stuck the badge from a 1989 or later model on the rear? How simply too gauche. I must say, I’m souring quite bit on this motorcar. No need to open the hood; I’m sure the power from the six and three-quarter liter V8 is quite adequate. I’m just getting a distinct impression that this Rolls-Royce isn’t for me, almost that it could be owned and driven by just anybody at this price and in this condition—although certainly my vast wealth would come in handy to maintain it, and maybe spruce up a thing or two. No, I’m beginning to feel quite ill…let’s head home…Driver will be back tomorrow….


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    Two ways to go here:

    1) Rip the guts out…and put a Hemi drivetrain front-to-back in that sucker.

    2) Rip the guts out…and put a full electric drivetrain in that sucker.

    Anybody got a problem with that?

    • Bill McCoskey

      While I don’t have a problem, you will have loads of problems with either option.
      First, the car is a hefty 3+ tons. Better be a humongous electric motor, and attach a trailer for the batteries.
      Second, the hydraulic brakes and suspension are all intertwined with hydraulic pumps driven off the engine camshaft that produce mineral oil that is stored in twin hydraulic accumulators, holding the oil at about 2,500 PSI. And that description is being very simplistic. It’s actually a very complicated hydraulic system.

  2. Rodent

    Tags expired in 2015. Wonder what the story is on that?

    • John T

      The Driver Quit! 😎

    • Rodent

      2014. I was on my first cup of coffee when I wrote 2015.

  3. Fred w

    I’ll spare everyone the obvious Grey Poupon joke

  4. Mountainwoodie

    At the risk of being flamed to death………this is a glorified Checker without the reliability. A moving target for a mugging.

  5. P Wentzell

    I owned a 1968 Silver Shadow. Gorgeous car, but was in the ‘Twilight Zone’ for parts. The introductory ’67 model and the following ’69 model had differing parts, namely, the ones I needed. I do miss that car (short wheel base for the home market, the UK, black with gray sides, gray leather interior) I can still smell the inside.
    HAving a lot of fun on this site, Thanks!!

  6. Sam

    Goody, goody….I was hoping for an aftermarket stereo…maybe its from Radio Shack?

    It’s a handsome conveyance.

    How about a reliabilty challenge/endrance run between this Rolls, a mid 80’s Jag xjs v12, a Chevette and a Pinto

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Now that’s funny! You’ve successfully put together a list of cars with identical virtues: All came with a 12/12 Warranty (12 feet or 12 seconds. Whichever came first)!

    • Dean

      Throw in a Yugo and it would be a contest.

    • whippeteer

      I think the Chevette would win hands down.

  7. Ken Carney

    Don’t really understand why maintainanve
    parts are so high for these cars when they are powered by (gasp!) a Chevrolet
    V8 and a GM sourced Turbohydramatic
    tranny! To my knowledge, Rolls Royce
    has been doing this since the ’50’s,
    When the firm began using the original
    Hydra Matic drive that was mated to
    their 6-cylinder engines. That’s why
    over the years, British luxury car makers
    like Humber and Rolls Royce use GM
    power trains because the Britts can’t
    design and build a functioning V8
    engine for themselves. When the Rolls
    Royce engine quits, bolt a Chevy in it
    and live happily ever after.

    • nessy

      Ken, this car does not have a GM Chevy engine and never did. The Rolls Royce V8 is one of the smoothest V8 engines you will ever experience. You can not hear the engine at a red light and you can hardly hear it when taking off. You really hear almost nothing in this car at any speeds if it’s running right.

      • Bill McCoskey

        Nessy, you are correct, the Rolls-Royce alloy V8 was used only in the Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.

        The 4-speed Hydramatic was made under license from GM from 1952 to 1968, and does not interchange with any GM line of cars or trucks. They were built for Rolls-Royce & Bentley by a French company, Hersey. These were also supplied to Vanden Plas for use in the big Princess Limousines thru 1968, but without the Hispano Suisa patented power brake mechanical booster on the tail shaft.

        You can “Bolt a Chevy V8 in to it . . .”, but you’re not going to be able to drive it without doing about another 50 or more hours of work, and even then it won’t have any power brakes.

    • KEN TILLY Member

      Ken Carney, you obviously know nothing about Rolls Royce motor cars!

  8. P

    Looks like a good deal…
    What am I missing?

  9. nessy

    I always liked this era Rolls Royce/Bentley. You can find a nice example for 10k to 15k. Alot of car for the money if it’s been cared for. Many issues come up with these cars. I have an 82 Silver Spur which looks like this car but has the longer wheelbase and the padded top. The car is huge with so much more room inside than the short wheelbase Silver Spirit. My Silver Spur must be a oddball because it never gave me any problems over the years which is why I still have it. I also had an 86 Silver Spirit and an 88 Bentley however, both those cars had some issues.

  10. nessy

    I just tried to post a photo but a screen page pops up from “Barn Finds” saying access has been denied which never happened before. Anyone have this problem today?

    • Bill McCoskey

      Yes, I’ve been having the same problem for days now. Sends me to a website called Securi, where they want me to pay to join so [they claim] I can be secure in sending photos to Barn Finds. I would be glad to send B.F. a pic of the screen shot of Securi, but then there is the problem of sending pics . . .

  11. Bruce Best

    The problem with these cars are all the ones that have not been maintained properly drawing down the values. It does not help that there is often more complexity than needed within the mechanical, electrical, braking and suspension systems. One in perfect order is a tremendous fun for a large barge but get behind on the care and feeding and they can soon become a nightmare.

    This from just looks is a good one but figure on an extra few thousands of dollars to reduce any shocks that might be hiding. I know some excellent restoration shops that will not work on any Bentley Or Rolls Royce simply because of the terminal wait for parts needed for repair. If you can source a quicker supply and can wait then this is the car for you. Me I prefer a Mercedes 560SEL but then that is just me and the fact that mine had 400K on it with minimal up keep expense. Still looked new just like this Rolls. All depends upon the care you are willing to give.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Bruce Best [and everyone else at Barn Finds];
      I specialized in working on Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars for many years. I found it was easier to obtain 99% of any 1955 & newer spare parts [except for coachbuilt bodies of course], than many other European cars. I found in many cases parts were about the same cost as the higher end luxury Mercedes Benz cars. About 20 years ago I bought a 1985 Silver Spur that had been under 10 feet of Potomac river water, and I rebuilt the entire car. I was able to find every part I needed. And FYI – I didn’t need to rebuild the engine, because it was so well sealed, the water never gained entry to the cylinders or the crankcase! Same for the transmission and rear diff.

  12. Lee

    are you sure thats not a Granada

  13. Peter Morrow

    I don’t think the phrase ‘ overly complex ‘ was coined until the British commenced automotive production. Many years ago my father had an almost new 1948 Rolls Royce Siver Wraith, the words ‘slow down’ would best describe it stopping ability.

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