The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow (I and II) represent the highest-selling models in the company’s history. Spanning the time between 1965 and 1980, these two generations were built in three distinct body styles: coupe, cabriolet, and saloon. So, what made the Silver Shadow so popular? Well, quite a lot, it turns out.
Compare the Silver Shadow to its predecessor, and it’s immediately clear why this model was a big deal. You see, the Silver Cloud looked ancient compared to the Silver Shadow. And underneath, it was, too. Some of the many improvements made on the new model include unitary construction, disc brakes, and independent rear suspension. It’s almost like transitioning from a box truck to a, well, Rolls-Royce.
Two engines were installed in the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, both in V8 configuration. From 1965 to 1970, the big luxury barge came with a 6.2-litre engine making 172bhp. After 1970, a larger 6.75-litre unit bumped the power up to 189bhp.
Comfort is Key
Because of its unitary construction, the Silver Shadow offered more space for passengers than its predecessor. An impressive feat, this, when you consider that it is both narrower and shorter in length than the Silver Cloud. To take the comfort quotient up even further, Rolls installed a hydropneumatics suspension. This self-levelling system was borrowed from Citroen and resulted in a positively velvety ride quality.
Silver Shadow II
So numerous were the updates to the Silver Shadow that Rolls-Royce added a “II” to the model name. These changes include standard energy-absorbing bumpers, new front suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering. These last two revisions reportedly improved the steering and handling remarkably.
After listing all of the improvements made to the big luxury car, it’s easy to see why it would have been popular with the public. And, selling over 30,000 units in its lifetime, it was spectacularly so. As it that wasn’t enough, several other models were based on the Silver Shadow, including the Wraith II, Corniche, and Camargue. The Bentley T was also based on the same platform.