Vintage Luxury! 1975 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

Just like the Mini is for small British common-man cars, the name Rolls-Royce is synonymous with classic British luxury. This one may not exactly be in pristine condition, but it could be yours for around $5,500 if you buy it from this eBay listing, located on Staten Island in New York.

Rolls-Royce dates way, way back, to the days of wooden wheels and acetylene-gas headlamps. The automobile company was established in 1904 by the partnership of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce. The Silver Shadow is quite a bit more recent, though, starting in 1965 and going until 1980. It provided a platform for 16 other models from its beginning until about 1995, some Bentley but most Rolls. They used only the finest leathers and wood trim, the grilles were hand-assembled, and the unique hood ornaments were called “The Spirit Of Ecstasy”. Early models came with 6.2-liter V8s, while the later ones were 6.75-liter, but all used American Hydramatic gearboxes. A hydro-pneumatic suspension setup was used, similar to that of Citroëns , and for quite a while, only Coca-Cola was a more well-known brand of product.

This particular one – well, it needs some help. The seller tells us that they inherited it in 2005 and it has sat in a garage ever since, having only covered about 49,000 miles over 44 years. We can see that it has quite a few non-standard add-ons, and we’re told that it was originally green. The pictures are not exactly as good as we would like, and there’s none of the engine compartment. It would probably need a complete restoration, but as we’ve seen over the years, sometimes one gets lucky, and a simple deep cleaning and mechanical refresh ends up being good enough for the time being.

Should one consider this car? Absolutely! Dr. James May drove one through India as part of a Top Gear special, Keith Moon of The Who had one, and while they’re not exactly top-dollar cars these days, brand recognition alone can sometimes outweigh faults and shortcomings. Should one buy this car? That I cannot say. The cost to get it perfect, as compared to book value, might not exactly be a financial win, but the sheer fun and enjoyment that could be had might make it attractive to the right person. Fewer than 26,000 were ever produced, spares are available, and there’s a dedicated website here. so they have that going for them, which is nice. In my personal opinion, if I had the means, I would certainly have it brought up to better-than-original. I really like the idea of having a vintage luxury automobile, and if I had Fix-A-Rolls-Royce money, I wouldn’t care whether or not it was financially sound! What would YOU do with this car, if money were no object?

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Comments

  1. Eli

    Had a 71 Silver Shadow in the late 1980s. Beautiful body and interior. Silver and black combo with red leather. Paid under $12,000 for it. It cost a fortune to maintain. Everything went south including the brakes and electrical system. Was fun to drive as everyone thought I was a millionaire! Wouldn’t touch any car that was not well maintained. Way to costly to bring back to life. Sold mine after 10 years. Car was exported to France.

    6
  2. john s

    Restore the interior and exterior. Swap a 400hp LSx and six speed trans into it. Make it a daily driver.

    5
    • Bill McCoskey

      John S,

      It’s VERY difficult to change drive lines on these cars. The main problem is the dual 2,500 PSI hydraulic pumps driven off the engine’s camshaft, that supply brake fluid to the 6 calipers that stop this 3 ton monster.

      6
  3. Josh A

    I was an intern for a classic rock radio station in my college days in the early 90’s and our promotions team had one of these–painted bright red and known as the “Rockin’ Rolls”. Body and interior were actually really nicely redone, but it had undergone an engine transplant at some point in it’s life to a Ford motor of some sort. Sounded like crap. Drove like a truck, but it did get a lot of looks where ever it went!

    4
  4. PaulG

    Offer it for free.
    I’m still not interested…
    Imagine if there were a family of pack rats under the hood.

    4
  5. Dovi65

    Anyone that seriously considers buying this, or any vintage Roller that’s been sitting for ANY length of time, best have a huge bankroll, and be prepared for a whole lot of disappointment, & heartache. Even if they were meticulously maintained before they were parked, everything will need to be replaced. They’re beautiful works of automotive art, but they are incredibly needy even in the best of times.

    6
  6. IkeyHeyman Member

    Every time a Rolls shows up on Barn Finds, somebody posts that “there is nothing more expensive than a cheap Rolls Royce” – so now that’s out of the way.

    26
  7. Ken Carney

    The reason that you had all those problems Eli was because the British
    couldn’t build a dependable car if their lives depended on it. Only Americans can
    do that. Had an old Jaguar sedan in ’72
    that was a victim of an electrical fire.
    Wound up having to replace those God
    awful Lucas electrics along with the Jaguar engine and tranny with American
    made parts. After that, I had no problems
    with the car whatsoever. There’s just something about a 350 small block, a T-350 tranny, and an American-made wiring
    harness that can make even the most
    finicky foreign car safe and reliable to drive on our roads. The only thing the Brits are good at is building quality coach
    work and crafting those very comfy interiors. They should’ve used American
    made drivetrains and electrical systems
    instead of building these on their own.
    Sorry folks, but they just can’t do it. Would be great to see more American
    parts in British cars like Rolls-Royce. The
    results would be amazing.

    4
    • ken tilly

      BS. The Japanese build much better cars than the Yanks. I don’t remember one of them ever breaking down on me and I have owned many of them.

      13
    • luke arnott

      Sorry,you are well out of order! All manufacturers have made good & bad cars and I’ve owned lots.Ever driven a Plymouth Arrow or a Chev Cavalier?I have,and don’t wish to do so again.
      Personally,I think Rolls Royces are junk.

      2
    • Cris

      Only Americans? Guess you’ve never driven anything other than American. The Japs build incredibly reliable machines, they go on forever.

  8. nessy

    Come on seller, how hard would it be to give the car a simple bath? You can see the car would look decent with a wash. This Roller has been online for sale on and off for a while. Gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with the FILTH AND MOLD everywhere? Beautiful car with a Lazy seller.

    16
    • john s

      Saw the mold on the steering wheel and console. Not a deal killer, but plenty more work to be done to restore it.

      6
    • Jack Quantrill

      The British drink warm beer because they have Lucas refrigerators!

      2
  9. Skorzeny

    I would buy an old AMC for $5500 and never think twice about this Rolls. I worked on one once after a wheel bearing seized and the right rear wheel came off. Between the suspension and the brakes there are bleeder screws everywhere!! No thanks.

    3
  10. Cobrajetter

    Free is too expensive.

    6
    • Luki

      One of the happiest days of my life was when I saw the taillights on my 71 Silver Shadow disappear over the horizon. Thank god for caller ID. I never took another call from that area code.

      16
      • Brakeservo

        This is a parts car only. I wouldn’t give $500 for two reasons, 1. No one is restoring these, and 2. The parts in (very limited) demand are bad on this one. Make a hot rod of it if it is to survive as a car.

    • John B.

      There is a reason why rich people drive these-you have to be rich to keep it going!

      1
  11. Rodney - GSM

    It is alway sad to me when a beautifully designed and built car like this is allowed to deteriorate to this condition. Most likely this cannot and will not be brought back to serviceable condition. If you have a car you are not using, at least “put it to sleep” properly. Drain all fluids, remove battery, get it up on jack stands and, did I mention, keep it indoors. You may have no use for it but you can bet someone will love to have it.

    7
  12. Tom Justice

    Seems as if the consensus is to STAY AWAY. I could not agree more. As PaulG said free would be too much money

    2
    • ken tilly

      Tom. Back in the early naughties I was trying to sell a RR Shadow 2 on consignment. The owner was asking 120,000 South African Rand for it. There was a slight tapping noise in the engine so nobody would buy it. The owner took it away to repair it as he had his own engineering shop. Evidently it was a broken piston ring but it still cost him 45,000 Rand to fix it! Imagine what it would have cost to have it repaired by a Rolls Royce dealership.

      1
      • Tom Justice

        If one third the cost of the sale of the car to fix it is a steal then you know you are in trouble. I worked in a foreign car garage in a small NC town and we actually worked on a Rolls that was a rusted out piece of crap underneath. It has straps holding up the rear axles, which I guess was factory, and it was so rusty when I was working on the boot of one of the axles the strap broke free and all the little roller bearings inside the boot went everywhere. The cost to buy is no where near the cost to own.

        4
  13. Del

    Vintage dust and mold.

    In responce to writer :

    I would part it out and crush the rest

    1
  14. Joseph Zimmerman

    ” This one may not exactly be in pristine condition, but it could be yours for around $5,500 if you buy it from this eBay listing, “….. yea, if you can face the repair bills to get that old ship running. You’ll need a strong heart and Aunt Louise’s gimungous bequeath to you to pull it off. I remember just a tail light I needed costing $600.
    Potentially as beautiful as a Homecoming Queen and a PITA to maintain! But oh, the ride……

    1
    • Angel Cadillac Diva

      @nessy

      Considering the fact that they inherited the car in 2005, and still let it sit for another 14 years, do you really think they had the forethought to wash it before photographing it?
      These are obviously NOT car people.

      2
  15. Bill McCoskey

    I used to own a Rolls-Royce repair & restoration facility. If you are paying a highly trained mechanic to perform the repairs, then this car can easily exceed $20,000 in repairs, NOT including an engine overhaul.

    A left hand drive 1975 Shadow in decent, running [needing no major repairs] is worth about $22,000. A very nice version would be another $10k.

    That said, if you are a good mechanic, willing to be very detailed in your work, and have the factory repair manuals, it’s possible to put this car back on the road for about $4,000 to $8,000 in parts. Join the Rolls-Royce club, and you will be eligible to borrow the specialized tools required for some of the repairs.

    This could actually be a good deal for someone who can do the work in their own garage. I bought my first Rolls-Royce in this manner, when the owner didn’t want to spend the $ on it. 10 years later I had around a dozen Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, 1932 to 1976.

    5
    • Chuck

      I have put one back on the road after it sat 20 years (landlord’s, couldn’t say no) and it was rough going. Water pump seized, carb floats rusted in place, and brake “fluid” that looked like pudding. I hope all these people thinking they’ll just tinker with it listen to you or at the very least read up on the hydraulic system before they even think about touching one. My little “project” drove away under it’s own power with the ac working, but landlord had deep pockets!

      1
      • Bob McK Member

        Deep and then empty pockets…

  16. Bob McK Member

    Look at most people that drive old Rolls Royce cars. Do you really want to be one of them? A few decades ago I did. I even tried to buy a Cloud II from a lady. Offered her a reasonable price, but thank God she turned me down. I could not afford to maintain it. Today things are better for me. I could afford to buy a nice old one. However, I wouldn’t take one for free. My whole attitude has changed. I’ll stick to my American iron!!!

    2
  17. V8roller

    Had a 70 Shadow for two years.
    Magic carpet ride.
    Like wafting around in a library.
    Rusty. PO had kept it out in the street, and everything was rusty, even the fastenings.
    Everything that needed fixing was hard to get at and rusted up.
    Lost half the brakes on the drive home from buying it. Mind you, the other half was plenty to stop the car because you still have brakes on all four wheels.
    Nuff said about neglected Rolls.
    It cost me £2,000 on eBay, another £7,000 to keep it going, I sold it for £600 to a chap who was going to restore it, and he made a good start but then life got in the way. In the end it was scrapped.
    Here’s the end of it.
    https://www.flyingspares.com/rolls-royce-silver-shadow-fsd-464?ct=t%28Cars+Update+-+March+2019%29&mc_cid=54db1b6f32&mc_eid=%5BUNIQID%5D
    I bought back the mascot.
    Glad to have had the experience, but would never buy another.

    1
  18. don

    In this condition IF it ran, it would be perfect for James May to have a drive through India again – Its not worth much ,and in this shape no one would care if t was cut/modified like they guys did with the green one .

  19. karl

    I know the Rolls was way more expensive new , but I used to wonder how all the Caddies and Lincolns we got for $50.00 to put in demo derbies got so neglected . They were top of the line cars, but after 10 years they were in no better shape or value than a 10 year old 4 door base Valiant . This car reminds me of those $50.00 one time luxury cars ; best of everything, and then just abused and left to the elements

  20. Angel Cadillac Diva

    @ V8roller

    Love the hood ornament on your Rolls

    • V8roller

      It was a pug. PO kept the Flying Lady, altho he swore he didn’t.
      The driver’s door was from a Shadow II, which I replaced after the original was destroyed in a reversing incident. It was awfully easy to knock the car into reverse when getting out, and watching it set off down our steep drive under its own steam was one of the memories that will endure.
      It wasn’t always such a wreck – well, it was, but didn’t look quite so bad.
      Here it was at the 2015 National Rally – about 8 minutes in.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=julKbFi_OZ4

  21. Angel Cadillac Diva

    @ V8roller

    I thought it was a Pug, from the way the tail is. I have two Pugs myself, and an English Bulldog.
    Do you know what happened to the hood ornament? Please don’t tell me it got scraped with the car….
    Also, what an interesting video. Thank you so much for that! I truly enjoyed it. That made me want to get a Rolls, but with all the negative comments about upkeep, I think I’ll pass and stay with my Cadillacs. LOL

    • V8roller

      @Angel… no, I bought the hood mascot back from Flying Spares for £25 and I have it here as I write.
      Yes, they are a moneypit. The reason they fall into decrepitude is the usual reason with luxury cars, I guess, they descend the socio-economic scale until they reach owners who don’t have the resources and kid themselves that as they don’t do much mileage they can skip the maintenance.

      Same with Cadillacs I imagine.

      We used to have a 1920s Caddy, but it was a vacuum cleaner. Still, at least I can say we owned a Cadillac.

  22. A.J.

    OK I’ll admit it, I’m a little off. If this was about half the price and I could get it towed home by my motor club, it would be fun to tinker around with. No expectations, no big restoration plans, just try to get it running and driving for less than a couple grand. I’d pay just to see the guy’s faces when I pulled up to the pub.

  23. Kenn HIldebrand

    Seeing all those extra instruments, I’m wondering if maybe there is a replacement engine under the hood. No mention made of the contents of the engine bay on an ebay listing? Wish I had the $ to make an offer on this, all the expressed problems notwithstanding.

  24. JBP Member

    was it Roger Moore there was driving a Rolls in one of These movies from the 70“? it was build as a Racer, that could be fun build something like that, and get that engine to run really good. or build a sort of stock car.
    as a Driver, no thanks..

  25. g Wentzell

    I owned a 1968 Silver Shadow. 1968 was the Year of Rolls Anomaly. It was a parts specific year. Wonderful car, really. Anyone wanting this featured car should be well aware of what they’re getting into. I hate to think of this car becoming a parts source. Sad this one was neglected for too long.

  26. Don

    my brother bought one of these for 10K, from the widow of a local mechanic..It had a Chevy 350 under the hood w/ matching drivetrain..Nice to look at, but steered like a Mac truck & no fun to drive..a couple of local mechanics told me that conversion alone, (from Rolls to Chevy 350) was a 10 k job..like I said, nice to look at, but no fun to drive.

  27. luke arnott

    I knew someone who bought a NEW one.It was like being driven on a sofa!

  28. Louis Q Chen

    Stay away you colonists! Unless you like warm beer! As a retired auto shop owner, we at the shop SAY NO TO THE BRITS AUTOS. I made a little sign in L.E.D. – No LUCAS refrigerators here, only ice cold beers! LMAO…

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