1984 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Limousine 36 inch Stretch by Robert Jankel Design

1984 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Limousine 36 inch Stretch by Robert Jankel Design

To follow his revealing new history of these cars, Marinus Rijkers drives a 1984 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur limousine stretched by Robert Jankel Design. Step in, sit down, and join us!



‘Rolls-Royce had a large customer base who bought a car not to drive, but to be driven’


Piloting 20+ft of stretched Silver Spirit

It feels very normal, to start with. In the front, the car has the standard doors and interior of the donor Silver Spur. Getting behind the wheel is exactly the same movement and experience as taking a seat in the front of any normal Silver Spur. The dashboard, the upholstery, the seats, everything has remained the same. The adjustment of the front seats of a Silver Shadow LWB with division is limited to four instead of eight directions, but the seats of this car are not only adjustable forwards, backwards, up and down, but all tilt directions are available as well. The division behind the front seats does, of course, impose a strong restriction on the rearward movements, but the driver can still adjust the seats better than in the Silver Shadow models with division and he also has slightly more space to move. Yet there are a few small differences with the standard Silver Spur, as a consequence of the limousine configuration: the intercom facility and the button for operating the glass division. Jankel has chosen the simplest solution for these extra facilities. The intercom is mounted on the headliner, not far from the rear-view mirror, and the button for the glass screen is built into the small centre console, hidden between the front seat switches.

1984 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Limousine 36 inch Stretch by Robert Jankel Design

Under the bonnet we find the same 6750 cc V8 engine fitted to all Rolls-Royces from the 1980s. In this model year, the Silver Spur with European specifications had an engine with two SU carburettors, and there’s nothing unfamiliar about the starting procedure or the location of the controls. It’s only when you’re moving that it starts to feel like a very different car, especially when taking small roundabouts or turning into side roads. Then you drive a little bit further before instructing the car to change direction. But to be fair, during the average journey, the car’s extra length requires hardly any adjustment to driving technique.

The engine sounds and behaves in a manner familiar to all Silver Spur owners, but due to the increased weight, there is clearly less acceleration available. The car can’t be called lifeless, though, and it’s actually perfect for a limousine, because if there are occupants who sit with their backs to the direction of travel, it would be unpleasant for them to fold in half when the chauffeur activates the kick-down. The engine is certainly suitable for a driver with a lively driving style, but not for an impatient speed maniac. When braking, there is no difference at all with other Rolls-Royces from this era. That's how it should be, of course, but still good to ascertain. Turning your car around in an average street is something that everyone with a driving license has had to learn. With a car of around six meters in length it is more of a problem than with a small family car; the larger turning circle becomes significant. In practice, if you’re driving this limousine and you need to turn back on yourself, you look for a roundabout or you reverse the car into a side-street. The latter is no problem at all, surprisingly; the view to the rear is almost unobstructed. Because the rear window pillar is set further back, it is optically smaller and takes up less visibility. The standard Silver Spur mirrors are large enough to give all the rearwards view you need.

1984 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Limousine 36 inch Stretch by Robert Jankel Design

What distinguishes the car the most while driving is the ride quality. A Silver Spirit or Silver Spur is not badly endowed in terms of suspension comfort, but the extra length of the limousine and the increased weight mean that the ride quality is head and shoulders above that of the standard models. At shorter speed bumps, the long wheelbase is almost sufficient to smooth out the vertical movement. Then add the famous Rolls-Royce ‘waftability’, and you can praise the experience in capital letters. (Note: ‘waftability’ is a term coined by The Autocar in 1906 to describe the behaviour of a Rolls-Royce 40/50hp, and since 2003 has been registered as a trademark by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.)


This Silver Spur is finished in Royal Blue with a dark blue Everflex roof covering, and with Champagne hide and burr walnut woodwork. It has been fitted with everything on the standard list of extras: an electrically operated partition, rear controls for air conditioning and heating, a refrigerator, a Clarion stereo system, a colour TV, a VHS video player, a crystal decanter with four crystal glasses, two flasks with stainless steel caps and an electronic intercom. Customers who bought a stretched limousine intended to be driven by a chauffeur. During the ride they can entertain themselves in the rear compartment with drinks and music, or prepare for a meeting or speech.

Theoretically, a meeting can be organized during the ride, because there is room back here for five people, three on the back seats and two in the smaller seats on either side of the bulky centre cabinet. These two seats with the backrests against the division are low, narrow and the backrest is in an uncomfortable position. People with a stronger build are a bit wedged between the cabinet and the side, and have the greatest difficulty getting up from the seat to get out. These are perfect seats for children, for example, but not for average adults – perhaps good enough for your business rivals, though!

From 1985 the 42-inch stretch was introduced; in that car the cabinet was moved to the side of the compartment and a single rearward-facing bench was introduced, improving the usability of the two extra seats. If you’re lucky enough to be sitting in the back seats themselves, the comfort is superb.

Jankel made no changes to the shape and softness of the donor Silver Spur's rear seats. A leather-finished housing has been placed in the headliner above the rear seats, containing a loudspeaker and microphone to be able to communicate with the driver. A storage compartment is built into the centre armrest for small items. All rear seats have seat belts, three in the back and two for the seats next to the cabinet. From the rear seats, occupants have a beautiful view of the extensive entertainment equipment on board.

At the top of the cabinet, built against the division, is a radio/cassette player surrounded by a number of equalizers. At the front, a colour TV has been built in, looking very much ‘of its time’. Directly below the TV the buttons for the climate control are fitted, with the air vents located to the left and right of the cabinet. Finally, at the very bottom of the tower, the VHS video player is located. Thirsty? If the occupants want to take a sip during all this entertainment, they can reach for the mini-fridge fitted between the two backrests of the rear seats. Under the cabinet tower, to the left and right of the transmission tunnel, two leather bags are available for storage of two bottles.

To be passengers in the back seats of the Silver Spur limousine is undeniably a fantastic experience. The beautifully designed rear cabin with its graceful cabinet and the veneers on the doors and other panels, creates a sublime feeling of luxury and exclusivity. The engine noise barely reaches the rear and the suspension comfort is unbeatable for cars from this period. If you wanted to make optimal use of the entertainment accessories, they would need to be upgraded to current standards and geared to the local reception; for now, they remain original. Many limousines were initially used in the USA or in the Far East and have equipment on board that is tailored to those markets. It is difficult to choose between maintaining this nostalgic equipment and installing modern devices. The experience in the back is so magnificently Eighties that I wouldn't replace the original devices myself. After all, technology changes so fast that new devices could be obsolete before the car is due for its next service.

Rolls-Royce had a large customer base who bought a car not to drive, but to be driven. That had to be a car in which life mainly took place in the rear compartment. A personally furnished place in which the customer could isolate himself from the chauffeur with a division and be free to talk without being overheard. It also had to contain every facility to make life easier or more pleasant for the often spoiled and demanding customer.

Now, in 2023, these cars are more than 35 years old, but regardless of age, these were never cars for everyday transport unless your daily routine involved a full-time chauffeur and trips to exclusive boutiques or the opera. It’s hard to see this car at the supermarket or furniture store…and anyway, it won’t fit in any average parking space.

No, this Silver Spur limousine 36-inch stretch is a car for the Rolls-Royce enthusiast with a large family, or for the hobbyist who likes large cars, or for the rental company that wants to offer something exclusive. There are plenty of applications for a special vehicle like this, with its wonderful classic limousine atmosphere on board in combination with a luxurious driver's compartment. It is a very enjoyable car, and that’s true whether you’re in the front or the rear.

THANKS TO: Ibalo Luxury Sportscars, Breukersweg 14, 7471 ST Hof van Twente (Goor), the Netherlands, (ibalo.nl) for making this Silver Spur Limousine available for this driving impression.


Marinus Rijkers runs two of the most useful and informative websites for enthusiasts of all SY- and SZ-series models. You can find them at RRSilverShadow.com and RRSilverSpirit.com. He has also written a couple of books, which can be found at RRBspecialist.com.

“Rolls-Royce had a large customer base who bought a car not to drive, but to be driven”

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION 1984 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Limousine 36 inch Stretch by Robert Jankel Design

  • LENGTH: 5,310 mm (17ft 5in)
  • VIN: SCAZN0000ECX09808
  • LENGTH, WIDTH, HEIGHT: 628, 189 (201 over the mirrors), 148 cm
  • WHEELBASE: 408 cm
  • CURB WEIGHT: 2550 kg
  • ENGINE: 6750 cc V8 with SU carburettors
  • GEARBOX: GM400 3-speed automatic gear box
  • DRIVE: Rear-wheel drive
  • MAX POWER: c. 200bhp
  • TOP SPEED: 119 mph


When the Rolls-Royce factory commissioned Robert Jankel Design (RJD) to stretch Silver Spurs into limousines, the initial stretch was 36 inches, as we explored in the previous article. The Royal Blue car in this article is from 1984, and is the 24th example built with this 36-inch stretch. Like the large majority of Jankel’s output at this time, this car is in left-hand drive with European specifications. Indeed, at this time only one limousine had been built for the British market. Most cars were sold to the Swiss and French market, though soon after the official launch in February 1984, the American market took over much of the production. Not all, though. In April 1984 Rolls-Royce Motor Cars European Division in Lausanne, Switzerland, ordered a standard Silver Spur. The car was completed in October 1984 and Lausanne then ordered the car to be stretched by RJD Ltd to ‘project A (four doors)’. The vehicle specification sheet was completed on 10th October and Jankel started that day with the production. The stretched limousine was completed on 28th December 1984. It remained in Switzerland a few years before a customer was found. That was the Obayashi Sangyo Company’s office in Paris, France, who took delivery on 25th September 1988. When they sold the car and to whom is not known, but it is certain that the car has been owned in several European countries. The current owner resides in the Netherlands, and he bought the car in Latvia in 2011.

Article type:
No comments yet. Be the first to add a comment!
Drives TODAY use cookie