Rooted in development work that commenced in 1958 under Chief Engineer Harry Grylls, who joined Rolls-Royce in 1930 and served with Sir Henry Royce, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and its Bentley T-Series stablemate debuted in October 1965. Marking a revolution as the first Rolls-Royce and Bentley models based upon unitary construction, the Silver Shadow and T-Series also featured an innovative high-pressure hydraulic system licensed from Citroën, including dual circuit disc brakes all around and fully independent, self-leveling suspension. Standard factory bodywork was handsomely styled and built to impeccable quality standards, hastening the end of the time-honored British custom coachbuilding industry. Tailored to the wealthy owner-driver, the Silver Shadow and Bentley T-Series were outwardly smaller than their predecessors yet offered greater passenger room and easier access to a spacious luggage compartment.
Powering the Silver Shadow was the 6.23-liter V-8 engine introduced with the Silver Cloud II in 1959, featuring an aluminum-silicon engine block, cast-iron wet cylinder liners, and aluminum alloy cylinder heads. To better cope with tightening vehicle-emission requirements, displacement of the V-8 engine was increased to 6.75 liters by 1970; while Rolls-Royce was famously reluctant to cite official power ratings, estimates of 220 horsepower are considered reliable for the enlarged engine. For North American markets, power delivery was via General Motors’ robust Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission, which became standard for all markets from 1968.
In addition to the definitive four-door saloon, available Silver Shadow body styles for the first-generation models through 1977 included a two-door from 1965-71, a “one-off” coupe in 1968, a convertible, and the 1967-77 long-wheelbase model. Passenger comfort was unparalleled, with the Silver Shadow the first Rolls-Royce with air conditioning standard equipment. Luxuriously equipped, trimmed in the finest Connolly leather upholstery, and weighing about 5,000 pounds, the early Silver Shadow was, and remains, a very capable performer with strong acceleration from rest to 60 mph in approximately 11 seconds and a top speed approaching 120 miles per hour. One of the most recognizable, elite-level luxury cars ever produced, the Silver Shadow was a predictable and unqualified favorite of Hollywood’s ‘‘A-List’’ and the titans of business and politics.
Numbered SRA 14521, this 1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow saloon is an outstanding example of a desirable early “chrome bumper” model, retaining its striking and uncommon color combination of Caribbean Blue paint over Dark Blue leather upholstery. Showing just over 59,000 miles from new, this exquisite Silver Shadow saloon clearly benefits from fastidious maintenance and preservation under the care of a series of faithful custodians and enthusiastic RROC (Rolls-Royce Owners Club) members. According to copies of factory records supplied by the RROC, SRA 14521 is an original left-hand drive export model, first intended for shipment to the United States via Los Angeles, but was rerouted due to production delays to Paramus, New Jersey. It was subsequently sold new by Albers Rolls-Royce of Zionsville, Indiana on February 15, 1973, to Eleanor D. Frenzel, a resident of Carmel, Indiana. After a few months, it passed to its second owner October 18, 1973 – Dr. John A. Bowers of Kokomo, Indiana, who also owned a 1927 Phantom I and 1931 Phantom II. Dr. Bowers was a devoted marque enthusiast, and he retained this Silver Shadow until 2003 when he was succeeded by fellow RROC member Richard Schuller of Arizona, followed by the most recent caretaker, another RROC member, in 2019.
As offered, the Silver Shadow is wonderfully presented, consistent with its long-term ownership under Dr. Bowers and the RROC members who followed him. Retaining its rare and captivating color combination with one quality repaint and the inviting patina of its well-preserved interior, SRA 14521 is complemented by the attractive headliner and wood interior accents, plus rear footrests, air conditioning, power windows, and a later-model Pioneer AM/FM cassette head unit in addition to the console-mounted factory pushbutton AM radio. The engine bay is tidy, well presented, and equipped with proper factory components and finishes throughout. The underside of the car is in correct and maintained driver quality, with protective undercoating and factory chassis components in place.
Excellent documentation accompanying the sale of SRA 14521 includes copies of the factory-issued Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, the Dealer Invoice, and service records from Albers Rolls-Royce through July 19, 1977, at 20,067 recorded miles. The Silver Shadow was also pictured in the Fall/Winter 1994 edition of The Flying Lady, the official publication of the RROC. Parts and service receipts accumulated under Mr. Schuller are also included, as well as the owner’s handbook and original tools. One of the best examples of its type, this handsome 1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is eminently ready for continued enjoyment in a wide range of desirable shows, tours, and RROC events.
Offers welcome and trades considered