To date, the Silver Shadow has the largest production volume of any Rolls-Royce.
Following in the manufacturer's tradition of building luxury vehicles, the standard wheelbase Silver Shadow measured 224 inches (5,700 mm), 4,700 lb (2,100 kg) and had a book price of £6,557 in the first year of production.
The Silver Shadow was produced from 1965 to 1976, and the Silver Shadow II from 1977 to 1980.
Initially, the model was planned to be called "Silver Mist", a natural progression from its predecessor Silver Cloud. The name was changed to "Silver Shadow" after realizing that "mist" is the German word for manure, rubbish, or dirt.
Design and engineering
The design was a major departure from its predecessor, the Silver Cloud. The John Polwhele Blatchley design was the firm's first single bow model. More than 50% of its predecessor had been sold on the domestic market where, by the standards of much of Europe and most of North America, roads were narrow and crowded. The original Shadow was 3½ inches (9 cm) narrower and 7 inches (18 cm) shorter than the car it replaced, but nevertheless managed to offer increased passenger and luggage space thanks to more efficient packaging made possible by unitary ("monocoque") construction.
Aside from a more modern appearance and construction, the Silver Shadow introduced many new features such as disc rather than drum brakes, and independent rear suspension, rather than the outdated live axle design of previous cars. The Shadow featured a 172 hp (128 kW) 6.2 L V8 from 1965 to 1969, and a 189 hp (141 kW) 6.75 L V8 from 1970 to 1980. Both powerplants were coupled to a General Motors-sourced Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission, except on pre-1970 right-hand-drive models, which used the same 4-speed automatic gearbox as the Silver Cloud (also sourced from GM).
The car's most innovative feature was a high-pressure hydraulic system licensed from Citroën, with dual-circuit braking and hydraulic self-levelling suspension. At first, both the front and rear of the car were controlled by the leveling system; the front levelling was deleted in 1969 as it had been determined that the rear levelling did almost all the work. Rolls-Royce achieved a high degree of ride quality with this arrangement.
Silver Shadow II
In 1977, the model was renamed the Silver Shadow II in recognition of several major changes, most notably rack and pinion steering; modifications to the front suspension improved handling markedly.
Externally, the bumpers were changed from chrome to alloy and rubber starting with the late 1976 Shadows. In 1979 a limited number of Silver Shadow II cars were made to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the company and were fitted with Red RR badges.
A long-wheelbase variant, some 4 inches longer to provide additional rear seat legroom, was offered in the USA from May 1969, and available to domestic customers from early 1970. Some long-wheelbase models were fitted with a privacy glass divider and are now highly sought-after by collectors.
Silver Wraith II
Initially, the long-wheelbase model did not have a separate name, but in 1977, with the introduction of the Silver Shadow II, the longer car was dubbed the Silver Wraith II.
The Wraith II is identified by all of alterations found on the Silver Shadow II and additionally an Everflex covered roof (also available as an option on the Silver Shadow II), a smaller rear opera-style window (some customers deleted the smaller back window: for example Jo Bamford of JCB) and different wheel covers. Some Silver Wraith IIs were also fitted with electric divisions which took up the extra four inches of leg room in the rear. Vehicles fitted with the division are now considered highly desirable.
Corniche and Camargue
A two-door fixed-head coupe or FHC model was introduced early in 1966, (there are two different versions for this model, the Mulliner Park Ward and the very rare James Young version) followed by a convertible in 1967. In 1971 these cars were given the separate identity of Corniche, and eventually went on to outlive the Shadow with production lasting until 1982 for the coupe and 1996 for the convertible.
Another coupe variant on the Shadow platform was the Camargue, with bodywork designed by the Italian firm Pininfarina, and production running from 1975 to 1986. The Camargue had the distinction of being the most expensive Rolls-Royce, with a base price even higher than the Phantom VI limousine.
A Bentley version of the Shadow, known as the Bentley T (and Bentley T II from 1977), was also made. It was mechanically identical and differed only in the badging and design of the radiator shell. Other modifications were only slight cosmetic ones, a different front bumper and hubcaps. Engine valve covers with a "Bentley" logo were only used when the factory had them available.
The long-wheelbase version of the Bentley T did not have a separate identity and was simply called T long-wheelbase or T II long-wheelbase.
All two-door cars were also available as Bentleys. However, only one example of a Bentley Camargue was ever produced.
Shadow-based Phantom VII
Rolls-Royce considered offering a Phantom VII model, based on the Silver Shadow, but production of the car was not pursued and no prototypes were built.
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