Unveiled by Rolls Royce in 1980, the Silver Spirit was the first model of the SZ series to be introduced by the luxury automakers. Production years ran from 1980 all the way to 2000 and it was the first vehicle in their line-up to introduce the retractable Spirit of Ecstacy - the spring-loaded mascot would sink into the radiator shell if it was moved at all from its position.
Powered by a 6.75L V8 L-Series Rolls Royce engine, and attached to a GM-sourced 3-speed automatic transmission, this beautiful hotel-on-wheels certainly is no slouch when you press the go-go pedal. Known as one of the most famous and popular British V8’s to be produced, the production run of this engine has been running so long and went through so many different iterations, that it is still used today in modern vehicles and almost all 1959-specification parts upgraded to help produce 150% more power and 99.5% less emissions. An impressive timeline!
Originally registered on the 1st of May 1981, the vehicle was set for sale at Weybridge Automobiles which was a Rolls Royce and Jaguar agent dealership, originally founded in 1921 as Chrysler agents. Throughout the vehicle's lifetime it has changed hands a number of times, however due to the luxurious nature of this vehicle it seems that it has only been used on odd or special occasions throughout. This is normally to be expected of a car of this caliber however at around 2400 miles per year, it’s very impressive! The car had a replaced odometer which was registered at 63,269 miles, so the total mileage of the vehicle is currently 73,020
The current owner of the vehicle has owned the car since 1998 and appears that since the owner acquired the vehicle they have taken good mechanical care of it, which is reflected throughout the MOT history that shows it has passed every MOT with very few advisories to note, as well as the pile of invoices for whatever the car required. The vehicle was fitted with an Auto Watch immobiliser in 1998 for peace of mind.
Alongside this Roller, the V5 is present in the current owners name as well as all of the original Rolls Royce booklets which were included at the time of the vehicle purchase from the dealership. Warranty booklets, service booklets, car care plan information as well as additional Rolls Royce paperwork which includes information about how to achieve optimum fuel consumption. Maybe they knew that a truck sized engine would be somewhat uneconomical.. Just maybe! There is also a picture of the vehicle sitting in the car showroom when it was brand new - a lovely keepsake to accompany the vehicle.
A pile of invoices from servicing, tyre replacement, parts cost and labour, gearbox reconditioning and MOT paperwork is also present with the car.
Tasteful luxury, nothing less is to be expected of a Rolls Royce after all. Beautiful cream leather interior with a wooden dash, and chrome accents scattered throughout on the door handles, overhead lights and centre console. The leather seats are still plump thanks to having rather little use over their lifetime, all of the stitching looks to be intact and there appears to be no rips or tears on the leather. There is some colour transfer visible, however this can be taken care of with some deep cleaning. There is also some creasing to be expected from leather seats.
The rear seats are in a similar condition, and the rear of the front seats look great with no tears or noticeable scuffs apparent. The rear passenger footrests are still present in the vehicle and provide that bit of extra comfort to accompany the ample leg room in the back. A nice touch by Rolls Royce to make you feel even more special while riding in the back of this gorgeous classic.
The wooden dashboard is showing signs of age, around the clocks it appears to cracking and delaminating around the circumference of the dials as well as around the edges where the wood meets the dashboard liner. This only appears to be visual imperfections however, the dials still work as they should, as do the vents and the buttons scattered throughout the dashboard. The screen printed text and logos accompanying all of the control buttons and dials is well presented and easily readable!
Painted in Chestnut brown, paint code 9510315, this Silver Spirit oozes class. A beautiful and rare sight to behold, and a very welcome one at that. All of the panels look straight with no apparent signs of any accident damages, which is a great achievement for a car of this age - though somewhat expected given how little mileage this car has done throughout its lifetime. It is to be noticed however, the driver side of the front bumper does look like it has taken a small hit on the plastic portion, with what appears to be white paint transfer and the metal insert has been slightly pushed out. This does not appear to have affected anything else, though. Gold pinstripes flow down the side of the 5.2 meter vehicle, from the headlights all the way back to the tail lights. A subtle touch, but one that suits the car and the era it grew up in.
At the front of the vehicle, the headlamps, indicators and the fog lights are all intact with no apparent signs of cracks. There is some slight misting of the lenses however this can generally be quite easily fixed with some careful polishing. The large front chrome grill still shimmers in the sunlight, being a beautiful stage for the golden Statue of Ecstasy to stand upon. All of the fins across the grill look to be straight with no unwanted bends.
Moving around to the side of the vehicle, we do see some bits that require some attention. The rear passenger side arch is showing signs of rust on the extruded part of the arch lip, and there are some noticeable paint chips on the driver's side door edge. As to be expected with this car, the paintwork isn't in exceptional condition and could use a little bit of TLC with a polisher. There are a lot of light visible scratches on the passenger side of the vehicle on the front arch, which may have been caused by the paint brushing past bushes. Both front arches look to be in solid condition with only small patches of what appears to be surface rust showing through, so another easy fix! All four wheels look to be in good shape with no signs of curb rash, a little bit of polish could make them look fantastic!
To the rear of the vehicle, around the flippable Rolls Royce badge which hides the locking mechanism for the trunk lid, there are noticeable cracks around the hinge where the metal has been put under stress due to the movement of this metal part. It does not affect the functionality of the lock however. The rear light lenses look to be free of cracks and are still a vibrant shade of red, they do not appear to have faded or degraded over the lifetime of the vehicle.
As stated previously, this is a very low mileage car that appears to be well mechanically maintained, especially with the current owner as reflected by the MOT history showing pass marks across the board with only very few advisories over the years. Thanks to the 6.75L V8 propelling this land yacht along the road, it doesn’t feel as sluggish as you might think, coupled to its 3-speed auto box it makes for quite a pleasant and easy ride.
Of course in Rolls Royce fashion, it feels like you’re rolling on a bed of clouds as the car powers down the road. Such a highly regarded luxury vehicle should deliver no less than this, a lovely quiet cabin as well as the gentle suspension is suitable to any new owner or guest who accompanies you during any journey. You certainly won’t forget what you’re driving.
In 2014 the car received a number of new parts for the cooling system which included a new radiator, new A/C fittings, receiver dryer bag, replacement o-rings, new anti-freeze and cut out unit. Later on in the same year the vehicle received a complete gearbox overhaul which came to a total in excess of £3,000. A very valuable piece of mechanical work to be carried out. A new door latch for the O/S/F door was replaced in 2019 due to the door not opening properly too, so all of this functions perfectly.
Throughout it’s time with the current owner, there has been no regard to parts cost when it comes to keeping this Rolls Royce in shape and in functional condition. All servicing has been kept up to date as can be seen through the pile of invoices which comes with the vehicle.
A car like this doesn’t need a specific type of buyer to appreciate what a marvel of engineering and manufacturing it is. Ever since the early 1900’s, Rolls Royce has always strived to make the best they could, and it has always shine through in their craftsmanship. For such a low mileage example to crop up in such a classy and admirable colour, it’s easy to see the appeal!
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1981 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit
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