Neatly bisecting the 1960s, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was introduced in October 1965 and would continue in production for more than a dozen years, becoming the most successful Roller ever made.
The Silver Shadow had been in development for a considerable time and when this signature model appeared it incorporated many modern features that finally consigned some hitherto sacred Rolls-Royce design principles to history — along with the unwanted perception that Rolls-Royces were becoming rather old fashioned.
The new model no longer employed the traditional chassis beloved of custom coachbuilders, instead using monocoque construction. Suspension consisted of independent springing on all four wheels and four-wheel disc brakes to ensure smooth and effortless stopping power, even from the Silver Shadow’s impressive top speed.
This was achieved using the powerful 6.2 litre aluminium V8 carried forward from the Silver Cloud, coupled to an improved four-speed automatic gearbox, soon to be replaced with all-new three-speed torque transmission. There was an advanced hydraulic system (licensed from Citroen) that offered dual-circuit braking and self-levelling suspension, guaranteeing excellent ride quality.
Naturally, the interior was discreetly palatial with the finest hide upholstery available in a choice of eight colours to tone with the 14 bodywork shades offered.
A long-wheelbase variant, sometimes with internal glass divider, was introduced in 1969. There was also a two-door fixed-head coupe model by Mulliner Park Ward or James Young, the latter much scarcer. A convertible followed in 1967 and this desirable model was given its own identity in 1971 as the Corniche.
Much later, a Pininfarina coupe was built on the Shadow’s platform and christened the Camargue, which was then the most expensive Roller of all, with a higher price than the Phantom VI limousine. Corniches and Camargues comfortably outlived their parent, with the last examples built in 1986.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1965 (until 1976)
6,230 cc V8 (until 1970)
Top speed of 120 mph (193 mph); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 10.9 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Rolls-Royce produced a shared-platform Bentley T version that shadowed the Shadow all the way, also offering coupes and convertibles from Mulliner Park Ward and James Young – the only difference was the radiator grille, with the cheaper-to-make Bentley grille ensuring that the Silver Shadow was ever-so-slightly more expensive.