I own a 1980 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II Salon. I purchased it in 2005. However, I have never driven a 25 year old car before, but I can tell you it is true about what ALL mechanics say about Rolls Royces, "You must drive them, not let them sit in a garage!" The more I drove my Rolls, the better it performed. When I first got it, the Windshield wipers malfunctioned, the automatic windows malfunctioned, the door locks malfunctioned, the seats malfunctioned, the radio malfunctioned, and a few other small items. However, I have not had to repair any of these items, I just used them regularly and drove the car on a semi-regular basis. That's it! Now everything works fine. Things do ocassionally malfunction, but with a little use, they seem to fix themselves. My only complaint is, "it burns too much gas!"
The 1989 Spur owner, who has "stepped out of the box", and is in the midst of a "celebration of LIFE", advises us that a Rolls is "to be respectfully teated..." Does he own a Rolls or a cow?!!
I own a 1975 Silver Shadow which I love dearly. It most definitely prefers to be used rather than looked at and just gets better and better.
By the way I converted it to run on LPG and it works like a dream at about one third of the cost of regular gasoline/petrol.
Hello...regarding the comment "unreliable British rip off" followed by the statement of "transmission failure" can I point out that the transmission used in these cars is a GM item?
There's a reason that only seriously rich people run Rolls royces on a regular basis. very complex and expensive on parts and labour. I'd stick with a chevy caprice, you know where you are with them.
True it's a GM based transmission. But it's not the same after RR gets a hold on them. The very first drive with a Shadow, you will think the shifter is broken. It's that smooth and precise. Like a vacation home that has been vacant, things get musty and you cover furniture! With electrics and fluids that degrade even when sitting, this causes bugs in any car!
If I buy a Rolls Royce, any model. Several things I look for:
1.) I like one owner vehicles. Easier to find even 1970's one owners.
2.) Service history from RR specialists.
3.) Prefer higher mileage over low, low, low.
4.) If the car is not driven and sat for more than 6 months to a year without being driven, I have it towed into a specialist.
Gasoline for example; year or more old gas turns into almost paste oil paint like substance. Run it and that gunk gets through out the fuel system. Same thing with hydraulics and that fluid. Brakes fluid as well, even more so rotors not used get surface rust. Drive a car in this state and you're going to get gremlins, that could become expensive. Since you're turning little things into bigger problems because you drove it. At the specialist, have them replace fluid and filters, clean electrics in transmission. Service hydraulics, change fluid "flush" system and do the same with fuel and engine. Guess what; you will not have a low mile nightmare, your car is not Rolls Royce, it's the owner!
Interesting comments on Rolls Royces...I've own a 1980 Silver Shadow II for 8 years now. As previously stated..."You've Got to Drive" these babies, not look at them! And I don't mean just around town. Put that lady on the road at 70 MPH and blow her out every now and again! That's what they were built for.
Now, to the gentleman who had such a bad experience with his Silver Shadow, there is a pretty good chance he purchased a neglected Silver Shadow. There is no such thing as a lemon.
Many Rolls Royce owners had the crazy idea that such an expensive automobile never needed servicing. They didn't even bother to change the oil or fluids. They just jump in and drive once a month or so. The Silver Shadow was design to deliver upwards of 500,000 miles on the engine and transmission as well as other general components. Now I ask you, have you ever seen one with any where near those kinds of miles? Mine just turned 70,000 miles. I'm pushing her hard to hit 100,000 miles. I think that would be a major milestone!
Lack of driving was not factored into the design of these cars and that is why it tends to malfunction from time to time, and eventually fail, if the fluids are not refreshed on a regular basis and oil on a semi-annually basis. That's, right, I change my oil twice a year. I don't used a mileage interval, because it hard to put 3,000 miles on the car. Last year I set a record and drive it over 7,000 miles!
By-the-way, the GM Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 (TH-400 for short) transmission is the most reliable in the world. Designed for military vehicles and sourced to every major automobile manufacturer around the world back in the 60's, 70's, and 80's. Why? Because during testing of the TH-400, the military bolted a new one unto one of their vehicles, added three quarts of fluid in it and drove it at high-speed across country five times without ever even looking at it.
I love my 77 Corniche, looks great fun to drive and never fails to get compliments wherever I take it but...
Had to take it to a Greenwich CT RR technician to sort out an engine miss and some dangerous back yard wiring... so... many hours of diagnostic time on the wiring harness to return it to RR specs plus a 30k service new front control arm bushes, hydraulic sys service and bleed, rebuilt brake pressure switches (someone took the contacts off of the brake light bulbs so the wouldn't light) wiper blades and some misc. nut bolts and clamps = a $ 7,300.00 bill... and the car still needs an alignment and hopefully just and adjustment to the self leveling sys.
On a 38,000 mile car :-0.
It was an expensive when it was new, and it's an expensive car now.
If it has escaped your attention, the poor quality transmission is the only part designed in America! The TH400 is virtually bulletproof, so you must have been doing something wrong.
We have the opportunity to purchase a 1978 Silver Shadow II. Unfortunately, the car has not been driven and the dealership cannot even open the trunk. Can anyone give us some guidance on the price and how to open the trunk. No one within 200 miles knows anything about a Rolls. Please help us.
Dealership cannot even open the trunk.
There is a release button in the cubby box. Check the fuse.
As for all the other derogatory comments about our beautiful cars, if it breaks, the reason is usually more to do with the way it has been treated, rather than the way in which it has been built. If it was built between 73 and 98, I would have helped build it.
They do need regular use, all the electrical contacts get covered in a corrosive film, which prevents them functioning correctly. This is mainly due to atmospheric condensation.
I also feel very proud and privileged to own one.