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Bobbit: Silver Shadow


Car of the Month - July  2001
Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II, 1979, #SRK36639

Castle Donington Park near Nottingham in England was the home of the famous Donington collection of single-seater racing cars. Some considered these to be an attractive (a few thought bizarre) contrast, when the new model series Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II - and the sister model Bentley T2 - were launched just there. In February 1977 the new models were introduced to UK and European dealers. Twelve left-hand drive and three right-hand drive models were driven to Spain shortly after the dealer launch. Motoring journalists were entertained to a preview of the new cars at Mijas - halfway between Malaga and Marbella.

The cars met tremendous interest although as regards outward appearance the new model didn't differ too much from its predecessor. At a quick glance new bumpers with rubber inserts and polyurethane edges were noted, though that distinguishing feature had been introduced years ago on cars destined for the USA and Canada. A front air-dam, deep-set door handle buttons and a bigger door mounted mirror were but minor modifications.


Important were the improvements underneath. A power assisted rack and pinion steering substituted the recirculating ball steering that previously had been employed. Combined with a slightly modified front suspension this resulted in more effective resistance to side loads when cornering. Twin SU HIF7 carburettors in place of the old HD8's offered the advantages of lower fuel consumption as well as cleaner exhaust emissions. A slight power loss on the inlet side was compensated by a twin exhaust systems with lower back pressure. Of major interest for most prospective purchasers though were improvements by alterations to the interior. A highly sophisticated air conditioning system, adapted from that developed for the - more expensive - Rolls-Royce Camargue, allowed independent temperature control in the upper and lower levels of the Silver Shadow II. The fascia had benefited from ergonomical research with re-arranged instruments and a new annunciator panel even including an ice warning light. As regards comfort and handling the new model was to the standard that was characteristic for Rolls-Royce. - There were light years between the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II and the single-seater racing cars in its direct neighbourhood when shown for the very first time.

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(Photos courtesy of Scott Maurer, Texas, USA)


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