By on April 21, 2015

01 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost of these Junkyard Finds come from big chain-owned self-service wrecking yards that have fast inventory turnover and plenty of fresh cars at all times. This means that I’m going to see lots of Volvo 240s in California, lots of old Subarus in Colorado, and millions of acre-feet of Tauruses and Sables everywhere. Oddball high-end stuff shows up, too, like the occasional Maserati or every Jaguar XJ-S ever made, but you just aren’t going to see a Rolls-Royce in this type of yard… until now.
06 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Silver Shadow is the least valuable Rolls-Royce, and you can find project-grade examples for the price of a beater Tercel. But they’re still rare, and their parts tend to be worth enough that most won’t make it through the auction process that filters out semi-valuable cars before they go for the standing lowball offer from the U-Wrench-It bidder.


We’ve had a Silver Shadow in the 24 Hours of LeMons, of course; it was purchased for $1,000 and the champagne cooler or something was sold off to get the price under the 500-buck LeMons limit. Of course, keeping the thing running ended up costing plenty, because you just can’t find Rollers at the cheap self-service yards.
09 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m betting that this one showed up at this Los Angeles-area yard as a near-completely-stripped shell, probably after some Silver Shadow restorer grabbed all the good stuff. It’s possible, though, that it arrived with lots of bits still on it and got picked clean later.
04 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGiven the absurd thickness of the steel used in these cars, the scrap value is likely to be fairly lucrative for the yard, once the employees decide that there’s nothing left to sell on this car.
02 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Silver Shadow was built for the 1965 through 1980 model years, the VIN tag was nowhere to be found on this one, and there aren’t many clues about its age. Side marker lights were required in the United States starting in 1968, and the holes for those lights are visible on this car, so I’m going to say it’s a 1968-80 model (it could be a Bentley T-series as well, though the yard labeled it as a Rolls-Royce). Can anybody narrow it down further from viewing photos of this hulk?

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80 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    ? is this another one @ ‘ Dos Pedejos ‘ in Sun Valley or are these photos about 10 years old ? they’ve had at least two of these cars there , I used to work right down the street and shopped there weekly for decades .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I wonder if the ride in this was any dreamier than a contemporary Cadillac. I can’t imagine how. And was this the era of RR buying TH400s?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’ve always heard with Rolls it wasn’t the dirty bits that were hard to keep going (engine and transmission) it was all the little electrical and pneumatic and hydraulic things that were a PITA.

      I still maintain the only Rolls I’ve really lusted after was the “Trolls Choice” after the Gas Monkey crew got done with it.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        My ex-girlfriend’s father had a small-bumper Silver Shadow. It was killed by brake failure and the inability to find a specialist that could sort it out before the rest of the car just sort of delaminated. For something from the UK, it sure couldn’t stand up to rain and humidity. They left it sitting in the driveway in front of one of their houses and it soaked up moisture like a sponge; a rotten, crumbling sponge.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m gonna go with the RR version, since it’s had landau. That was much less common on the Bentley versions, with their “sporting” nature.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Can someone tell me about the bracket the held the gauges? It looks very high quality, almost aircraft grade. Or am I wrong?

    Also, the wood above the bracket, was that stained and polished and then covered with leather? Looking at intact interiors, that looks to be the case.

  • avatar
    Quad442

    I think this car was used in some kind of artsy photo shoot.
    http://www.pejbehdarvand.com/#/PROJECTS/Deathbed/4

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Want to see something else very rare but not junkyardy? My Corey’s Weekly Ebay Rarity Find.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/321731881877?forcerRptr=true&item=321731881877&viewitem=

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    Yes all the left hand drive cars used turbohydramatic 400’s but the pre 1970
    Rolls Royce silver shadows used Rolls Royce built 4 speed hydramatics . c. The First automatic Rolls Royce was built in 1952 with a Detroit made trans but they eventually tooled up to make their own under license ,and which they sold to BMC, Jensen and Armstrong-Sidley

  • avatar

    This was in the news locally not so long ago…

    “PINELLAS PARK — Two years ago, a man in a 1973 Rolls-Royce blew through a red light and killed an 81-year-old man driving with his wife to Walmart.

    A Pinellas Park officer suspected Tracy Garon, the driver of the Rolls-Royce, was drunk. The officer led the 59-year-old to a curb and resumed investigating at the crash scene. Left to himself, Garon walked into a Circle K and bought a 24-ounce Miller Lite.

    The officer saw Garon leave the convenience store with the beer to his lips and told him to stop drinking. Garon kept swigging. The officer grabbed the beer and placed it on the sidewalk.

    “At this point, I had suspicion to believe this act was an attempt to defeat a DUI investigation,” an officer wrote of the Dec. 9, 2012, crash.”

    …and that’s the type of person who I always picture still driving this car.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I will always picture a scene from around 2011.

      At a coffee shop on a crisp spring day, having some coffee outside at their patio area. Gentle conservative conversation fills the air, as upper-middle class people feel independent and hipstery, because they’re having coffee from an independent establishment that’s in an old house. I’m casually reading (American Psycho, I think) and tuning out the droning mothers, when I glance up.

      Gliding past is a perfect condition Silver Shadow, in perfect 1970’s light gold color. An old man is at the wheel in his tweeds and trilby. The sunlight reflecting off the hood ornament, spotless glass creating a mirror image of whatever part of town was passing by.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I try not to spend too much time in Pinellas Park either, but geez, stop for the lights…

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Haha! Not a 1 percenter now are ya?

  • avatar
    jrrd73

    The Dashboard was redesigned with the second in 1977 and this is a 77-80.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I dunno, I can’t really see this car as a true British luxury vehicle. Looks like a condensed knockoff of a ’60s Continental or Ambassador. Maybe it was something the Earl of Grantham’s valet drove on his days off?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If you consider the times, let’s say 1978 – you’ve got a lot less options for high end or elite luxury making a large sedan. RR, Bentley, Mercedes are about the only ones that qualify. Big boaty American cars by that time were garish, and didn’t work anywhere but America. They were also not luxurious or prestigious enough to qualify.

      Audi and BMW don’t make a big car yet, and the Japanese are hatchbacks only. The Range Rover is around, but it’s still for the old money country set, and not for in town or dignitary motoring.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Y u no want Mark V?!?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          No sedan, is why! Also by 78 the Mark was pretty gauche. Certainly unsuitable for Europe. No dignity. In Dallas, it would work just fine.

          http://images.classiccars.com/classifieds/213709_11645709_1978_Lincoln_Mark%2BV.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I want a Mark III. Black.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            MY72 Continental Mark IV. Boo ya.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            If you roll in a Mark IV, your pimp hand is strong.

            Look at this thing:

            http://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/lincoln/mk_4/1623011.html

            Too expensive, but look at those seats…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Indeed.

            Side note I actually have a 72 Mark IV grille (pre-federal bumper) in my closet underneath a Benz SEL’s

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I feel like red was not a good color for those. Navy or green is a win. Or black.

            But $21,000!? Just because it’s on that site. You can do better on Ebay at least once a month. Much better.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            What are bumpers doing in your closet? Are you hanging clothes on them?

            Corey-

            The guy must think it’s worth a ton because it’s a rare designer series car. It’s still a Mark IV, not a Mark II Conti.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Just the grilles, not the whole facia or bumper.

            @Corey

            That dude is on crack with the Mark IV Pucci. Firstly, the miles are too high, secondly Cartier (dove grey) is more desirable, thirdly -and most importantly- nobody cares about these anymore. The only Mark IV-VI worth its salt is the MY78 Diamond Edition (or Jubilee I can’t recall) and the MY72 because of the federal bumper issue for MY73 onward and even it’s not that popular.

            Here’s a cocaine blue MY76 Mark IV/100k for $2,500

            http://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/lincoln/mk_4/1728901.html

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            We care about Mark IVs, but we may be the only people besides those in the Brougham Society that care. I don’t care for over $3500 or so either.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            OK, Mark III and Mark IV are good…but a ’67 Eldo in black…is f**king awesome.

            Love that crushed velour, though.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The 6th gen Eldo and Mark II Conti are in a different price class than the Mark III, IV, and 7th gen Eldo.

            I agree with you though. I’d love either an Mark II or Eldo. They are both expensive though.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @28:

            Here’s your car porn for the day…

            http://www.barrett-jackson.com/Archive/Event/Item/1972-LINCOLN-CONTINENTAL-MARK-IV-2-DOOR-HARDTOP-43376

            Nice.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @bball

            Ah, but we are outliers.

            @FreedMike

            MY67 Eldo, yum yum. I’ll take one and a MY69 or 70 Mark III.

            That MY72 Mark IV is also exquisite but I prefer triple black.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            No no, if we’re talking 67, I want a Toronado Deluxe.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            That’s almost my dream machine.
            A ’75 Mark IV. Pucci Edition.
            With the burgundy velour interior and the quadraphonic sound system with an 8 track player.

            If I could ever get another, I would never let it go.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            OMG @ bball I followed your link to see the 2nd most beautiful vehicle ever made in North America. That is almost the car I drove whenever the Old Man would let me take it out! Our Pucci had a sunroof, the ownership plaque on the dash was slightly different and we had dual exhaust pipes.

            Other than that, the same beautiful plush interior, the same wonderful wheel colours and exquisite paint.

            After viewing your link I went out and bought a bunch of lottery tickets. If I win that baby is mine!!!!!!!

            If not there may be trouble in paradise, as I don’t believe that my wife will agree with remortgaging the house in order to buy it.

            Forget the price, that baby is unique in its 70’s extravagance.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          See, Arthur knows what’s up.

          28-

          We are also bigger outliers because we care about 90s GM FWD iron.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        I was thinking a Phantom would be suitable for the peerage, while a Shadow would be more for their banker.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I see what you mean. Here’s a “real” one.

          http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Rolls-Royce/82-Rolls-Phantom-VI_DV-11-AI_01.jpg

          Increased peerage dignity. I do recall James May talking in his Peoples Car series about how the Shadow was the first attainable Rolls.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Now *that’s* the kind of car Bruce Wayne would be driven around in when visiting the ancestral estates in the old country.

        • 0 avatar
          Joss

          We build for stupid rich Americans – indeed this one. Look what we tried to pull with Camargue in cali and ya know RR tech was pretty much sell-you-back GM.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            It took me a long time to realize the Camargue had a positively foul forward-canted grille.

            The “69 Chrysler, but much worse” side profile was already terrible, but no Rolls Royce should have a forward-canted grille.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The Camargue is basically just a British AMC Marlin.

            http://www.rrsilverspirit.com/SilverShadow/BestCam/Camargue%201977%20JRE25330%20LA.jpg

            http://media.motortopia.com/files/5012/vehicle/4c509fc5a6405/MARLIN_003.jpg

            Except the Marlin is cooler.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        BMW got back into the big car business in 1974, with the 3.3L. It was built to compete with the S-class. The similarly-sized 7-series replaced it in 1977. Other large luxury car contenders were Jaguar and Daimler, with their XJ12L and Double-Six. Maserati was building the Quattroporte III. Aston Martin had the Lagonda for comic relief. Mercedes-Benz was still building the 600 for people that wouldn’t compromise on anything, a car that made an S-class look like one of Mercedes’ taxicabs.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Good information, things I didn’t consider.

          Was the 3.3 BMW big enough to compete? Did BMW have enough prestige then? No V8 or V12?

          The XJ12 okay, that counts as ultra lux, as well as the Daimler. I didn’t think Daimler was ever really available in any markets except limited UK, though.

          I suppose the Quattroporte counts, but that was a dire time in Maserati history, I’d think even tarnished by then.

          Lagonda is an LOL, even though I love the styling of it.

          I did mean to mention the Grosser of course, it set the benchmark for GER vs. UK luxury.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            “that was a dire time in Maserati history, I’d think even tarnished by then.”

            When wasn’t a dire time in Maserati’s history? I suppose now, but condoms have a more gentle depreciation curve.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, I agree. Were they under Ferrari ownership, or Chrysler, or Citroen, or the Italian government at that time?

            THIS.IS.JEOPARDY!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Do yourself a favor and look for used Quattroportes on AutoTrader or eBay. Hilarious. So many terrible wheels, paint jobs, modifications, etc. Who wants to be the 4th owner of a Maserati? That has to be the worst.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            There was a Daimler dealership in my town in the Netherlands, although I’m under the impression that now all they sell is Ferraris. Back in the day they sold two and four wheel drive Rover products from Minis to Range Rovers too.

            I don’t know exactly how much prestige BMW had in Europe in the late ’70s. Their modern image pretty much traces its way back to the 1500 of 1962, but they were building far more opulent cars with limited success from 1952-1962 in the form of the Baroque Angel sedans, the big 503 coupe, and the 507 roadster. Most were V8 powered. They were a cut above the stuff BMW built during their commercially successful days in terms of exclusivity, ambition, and price, but they were sold alongside poverty pieces built under license from ISO. I have no idea if a wealthy executive rolling up in his 502 or 3200S had to put up with ribbing about driving a relative of the Rolling Egg.

            The 3.3L was probably every bit the match of a 280SE, but not quite a 450SEL contender.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “..something the Earl of Grantham’s valet drove on his days off?”

      Well, Mr. Bates *would* need an automatic.

  • avatar
    SatelliteView

    I wanted to get one at the time, but they there was no stick available – so no sale

  • avatar
    jrrd73

    Only one I can find this color was a Silver Wraith, which this is, and was registered in 1979, which the dashboard shows would be in the ballpark. It also has the brown top. Chassis no. LRK35652
    http://www.rrsilvershadow.com/Kleur/Best/SW%20II%201979%20LRK35652%20LV.jpg

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Old Man had a friend who had one. He actually won it in a card game. Cost him big time, when his wife found out, she demanded a house more fitting for such a car.

    Anyhow the Old Man and his friend would swap cars occasionally. I got to ride in and drive the Roller around the block a few times.

    Quite frankly it compared to a high end Buick regarding ride, handling, performance, etc. Or perhaps one of the last Chrysler Newports.

    A Town Car or Fleetwood Brougham was more visually opulent (garish) except for the carpeting, quieter, larger and had more oomph (or what passed for it in those days). And the American cars were far more reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      With Caddys and Olds I doubt you had to deal with French suspension, the Citroen stuff in the Silver Shadow may ride well but good luck plugging up the leaks as it ages.

  • avatar

    Leaving aside the mystifying fact that perfectly good European cars develop terrible reputations for everything going wrong when placed on US soil, this car is a monument. I have seen these vehicles up close and they ooze solidity and quality. The metal pressings are handled beautifully and the finish on all the small parts is lavish. Yet these cars aren´t grotesque in the way 70s Cadillacs are (and I like those too). The main fly in the ointment is that Jaguars from the same period were faster, as comfortable and handled better. The Rolls countered this with having more interior space and a much bigger boot. Which would I choose? The Rolls – I don´t need the speed of the Jaguar.

  • avatar
    CAMeyer

    This is another “malaise” car, only it’s for rich Brits. Remember, their malaise was even worse than Americans’–it drove them to elect a dominatrix as prime minister.

    Also, this installment raises a philosophical question: How much of a car has to be left for it to be a junked car, as opposed to some car parts that are still attached to each other?

  • avatar
    Forty2

    Heh. My shop teacher in high school was a former RR tech. He drove home the point about the absurd over-engineering in these cars by comparing the huge, apparently hand-machined $75 (in 1980 dollars) brass thermostat out of a Roller vs the typical stamped steel $3 version found in nearly any other car.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      There is a video on Youtube (I can’t find it anymore), but it’s am independent mechanic with a new Bentley Mulsanne up on a hoist just showcasing all the workmanship on the undercarriage, suspension and mechanical pieces. When you see it you do really realize that these things are on a completely different level in terms of build quality.

  • avatar
    Lack Thereof

    I know this is way late, but I think I just figured out at least what generation it was.

    The picture of the dashboard. All the instrumentation and trim is gone, but you can see the general shapes of where things would be. Two large circular instruments side-by-side above the wheel, flanked by an hvac duct and a rectangular cutout.

    Then I found a fan page about the evolution of the Silver Shadow dashboard, which has images of all the dashboards. The final generation, 1977-1980, had a round compass-point gauge pod and speedometer side-by-side over the wheel, flanked by an HVAC duct, and a rectangular “information center” filled with warning lights.

    This is definitely a 1977-1980 Silver Shadow II.

  • avatar

    Very impressive, I’ve never seen a high end car like that at a salvage yard. I’ve seen Mercedes, Jaguar, Cadillac, but never anything like that.
    I’m not surprised to see that the bajesus has been stripped out of it.

  • avatar
    deconstruction

    The small rear window suggests a long-wheel-base car. This, in combination with the position of the fuel filler and the shape of the holes for the side-marker lamps and the contours of the wings would make it a Silver Wraith II. How the mighty are fallen…

  • avatar
    dagr382

    Reading these comments, I realize that only in writing of the glories of Japanese mediocrity are these commentators well informed.


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