1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow: The backbone of the luxurious British brand

1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow: The backbone of the luxurious British brand

EngineV 8Horsepower200 hp at 4000 rpmTorque542 Nm at 2500 rpmWeight2067 kgDrive TypeRWDEngine LocationLongitudinal frontF/R brakes DiscTransmission3-speed automatic THM

Launched in 1965, the Silver Shadow became revolutionary for Rolls-Royce. It was the first full-size executive car, produced in various modifications from 1965 to 1980, with a monocoque body. It started a new era in the history of the company. 

Source: BestCarMagz

The launch of the Silver Shadow coincided with the beginning of a new era for Rolls-Royce – a time of harsh shifts, financial crisis, and the decline of the entire British automotive industry. A few years after the presentation of the new car, the company even went bankrupt and remained afloat only due to governmental support. The reason for this was not a decrease in demand, nor the poor quality of the cars, but a change in market conditions: small manufacturers could survive only as part of large empires. Nevertheless, during this unstable period, the Silver Shadow provided the company with a steady income and was produced longer than any vehicle of the brand. A total of 25,142 standard Silver Shadows were built from 1965 to 1980  and 4,915 long-wheelbase automobiles, which made the model the best-selling vehicle in the history of the brand. Today it’s valued relatively low: a well-preserved copy can be bought for about $20,000, while at the time of the release it cost $19,600 at the old rate.

The origins

Source: Honest John Classics

On the eve of World War II, Rolls-Royce changed its plant location: automotive production facilities were moved to Crewe, and the old plant in Derby was completely redesigned for the production of aircraft engines. However, for obvious reasons, production in Crewe started to operate fully only after the war. The basis of the after-war Rolls-Royce line was the Silver Wraith automobiles, as well as the further development of the Silver Cloud design. However, the Silver Cloud, introduced in the mid-50s, looked very archaic. And it was not only the design. Indeed, in technical terms, Silver Cloud was a set of pre-war solutions. Luxurious finishes, undeniable prestige, and incomparable comfort were still in there, but more and more customers were embarrassed to appear in public in this clumsy hulk. That was why, shortly after the start of production of the Silver Cloud, Rolls-Royce engineers sat down to draw a completely new model.

The 1965 Silver Shadow

Source: FavCars

The model was first introduced in 1965. If earlier models were rather conservative, the new one was made according to the latest trends in the market. It was the first model of the brand with a monocoque body, disc brakes, independent suspension, and adjustable clearance. The new shape of the body and the absence of a frame made it possible to increase the internal volume of the cab with less weight compared to previous models. Even though the Shadow absorbed a bunch of innovations, it didn’t lose its British character and many family features: proud, if not heavy, outlines of the body, a luxurious wooden instrument panel with mysteriously scattered buttons and detailed inscriptions for all occasions, a thin steering wheel, and a funny box selector stuck under it. Here, British ergonomics were surprisingly combined with sophisticated sofas, a bright ceiling with multi-colored lighting, wood, and a luxurious set for alcoholic pleasures. A big achievement of the model was the introduction of a fully independent spring suspension instead of a rigid rear axle and disc brakes on all wheels instead of drums. In addition, under license from Citroen, a dual-circuit hydraulic brake system and hydraulic height adjustment of the suspension were installed. The 1965 Silver Shadow was equipped with a 6.2-liter aluminum V8 engine from Silver Cloud with a capacity of 170-200 hp, as well as a 3-speed Turbo Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission (early right-hand drive examples were equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission). In a word, the new vehicle looked much more modern in the mid-60s. In the design, developed by John Blatchley, there was a noticeable transition to angular forms and the final rejection of embossed wings. At the same time, the monumental style of the front with a massive vertical grille and twin headlights remained almost unchanged. The model was offered only with a factory sedan body in two wheelbases: short 3035 mm and long 3137 mm. The interior of the car was traditionally made of the most expensive materials and, at the request of the client, was completed with a wide range of accessories.

Did you know?

Source: Hemmings

Princess Margaret owned the dark green Silver Shadow (LRH2542 chassis) of the first release. By the way, the car that belonged to the princess was a version from the very first experimental batch “stretched” by 10 centimeters, which had a lot of differences from serial cars with an extended base. Full-fledged production of such cars began only two years later, in 1969.

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1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow: The backbone of the luxurious British brand

EngineV 8Horsepower200 hp at 4000 rpmTorque542 Nm at 2500 rpmWeight2067 kgDrive TypeRWDEngine LocationLongitudinal frontF/R brakes DiscTransmission3-speed automatic THM

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