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1967 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

Unloved for decades, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is now back in fashion – and with good reason, argues Mark Dixon.

Editor's comment
No decade for young men

The cultural touchpoints that unify every British child of the ’70s are myriad. On the telly there was Blakes 7 (Glynis Barber, say no more), the memory of your parents hurriedly covering your eyes during the sexy bits of I, Claudius and, because things weren’t quite bleak enough in real life with non-stop power cuts and non-start bin emptying, there was The Survivors to cheer everyone up of any evening.

The pop charts were full of nowdisgraced lascivious men in stacked heels, represented by now-disgraced impresarios and introduced by now-disgraced disc jockeys. Driveways were packed with Marinas, playground arguments were largely over who was the sexiest member of Pan’s People and, inexplicably, Joe Bugner was everywhere. And that is only the tip of the iceberg of the misery. Of course it wasn’t all bad: there was the summer of 1976, and most of all a Corgi 1:43 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow in every toy box. Mine, like most of my friends’, was the far-rareron- the-road MPW two-door (in Silver Sand, I think). If any car reflected the fortunes of the decade itself, the Shadow was it. It went into 1970 as a glamorous five-year-old, the pinnacle of sophistication and class both mechanically and in status, and came out of the 1970s as the slightly tawdry wheels of choice of the more successful northern working men’s club comics. As if things couldn’t get worse, this glorious machine that once laid claim to be The Best Car In The World then had to endure years in the wilderness as the wedding car of choice.

How did everyone – except the wedding hire companies – forget the sheer magnificence of the Silver Shadow? Has there ever been a more dramatic fall from motoring grace? Which is why I am so delighted that the Shadow seems to be enjoying a long overdue rehabilitation. Because of my age, I simply can’t support all the elements of the motoring 1970s that a younger generation now deems acceptable – like russet, saffron and all the other BL euphemisms for excrement-coloured paint – but the re-gentrification of this oncearistocratic Royce (Rolls is for proles, as they used to say) is a cause I can get right behind. The number of its champions has been quietly but steadily growing under the radar, except for Harry Metcalfe whose campaign is rather more public, and prices have been rising accordingly. Good; everyone deserves a second chance.
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1939 Rolls-Royce Wraith Limousine by H.J. Mulliner

This refined carriage was created for a customer with limited mobility, and so wears unique H.J. Mulliner coachwork – which was at risk of being scrapped for a more sporting body until the present owner stepped in.

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1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith

When your profession trains you to the most thorough approach, a matter of mere distance won’t stop the search for the right car.

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1986 Rolls-Royce Camargue

Pininfarina’s styling for the Camargue was as close as Rolls-Royce ever got to radical. After 47 years, can we finally appreciate the car’s unique looks?

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1980 Aston Martin V8 Volante vs. 1976 Rolls-Royce Corniche Drophead Coupé

Summer’s on its way, so what better than a luxurious convertible for the season? Robert Coucher considers these two horseless carriages, both with the Royal seal of approval.

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1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II

After a 10,000-mile journey and a chequered history including five years locked away by the customs people, this lovely Shadow II found a caring Australian home.

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Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

After the Cloud comes the Shadow, but was it the best car in the world?

Silver Shadow-based 1965 Bentley T-type Special

If you were going to build a single seater, you probably wouldn’t start with a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. But this unlikely old warhorse recently won its first race.

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2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé

We try a 2010 example to discover if ‘Goodwood’ models share the old Rolls-Royce charm

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1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn by Ghia

This 1952 Silver Dawn wears advanced Italian coachwork that could have signalled a new style for Rolls-Royce’s standard bodies, but instead it remains a glorious one-off.

1991 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II

Buying your first Rolls-Royce can be a daunting experience, but in Steve Bassett’s case it’s proved to be a rewarding one – aided by the sheer value for money of this impressively smart Silver Spirit II

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1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Fixed-Head Coupé

On a recent trip to Suffolk, we met up with the proud owner of this Early 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Fixed-Head Coupé, a car that represents the realisation of a childhood dream

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2000 Rolls-Royce Corniche V

As a former official dealer who’s had countless Rolls-Royces pass through his hands, John McGlynn is particularly fond of this Corniche V, a car that represents a special kind of finality.

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1968 Rolls-Royce Shadow MPW

‘It’s the solidity and elegance that define the Shadow’ The List Your dream drive made real. Robert Cohen grew up driving Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. Today we put him in his ultimate high-roller – the Mulliner Park Ward coupé.

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