1979 Rolls Royce

Silver Shadow II - 6.75 Liter

The Prince of Darkness

Matt Garrett - Dallas Texas - 214-878-3823


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1979 Rolls Silver Shadow II

1979 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II.  Black/Red.  Simply a stunning and impressive looking car from every angle.  Ok, you want honesty from someone with a little car experience.... here you go;

This two owner Texas garage queen is bound to impress all that crosses its path.  But like all Rolls Royce', the enjoyment is best when you sit and look at it in a garage, or better yet watching someone else's drive down the road.  The reality of owning and driving one is not what anyone ever thinks it should be.  And if you have had a well rounded car background, you quickly put this car in a place all its own... for me that is as close to the exit side of the garage as you can...but I still have one in the garage.   When you have a name like Rolls Royce, I guess the label is put on such a pedestal, that expectations are simply unrealistic. It caters to the demanding, yet you can demand little of the product.  It is poised to disappoint.  However, lots of namesakes are not as harsh, like Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes and more...   Compared to all, I will honestly say that Rolls Royce is the single biggest disappointment in a high end automobile to date for me.  It took the Germans to fix them (so just call them BMW instead) and even in the famous CREWE era of this Shadow, the most reliable parts to the car are all the GM items used in their adaptations.  The transmission, the AC Compressor, Power Steering Pump, Alternator.... All these are great!  However when you mix Lucas Electronics and unbending UK pride, you got a convoluted mess called Rolls Royce.   In the 20s-40s the sun never sat on the British Empire... But times changed.    And in this era, a Rolls Royce is like a very fine educated and cultured child.......  but because of the pompous and privileged upbringing, when you ask them to actually work..... Aint gonna happen.

Now the strong points to Rolls are the looks!  This Era Shadow would be like dating the worlds hottest and classiest over 40 supermodel.   The car is GOOD LOOKING even at its age.  Everyone is envious, everyone wants to be you because you have such an amazing and classy piece of eye candy on your arm.  However, what you cannot make public is that your supermodel has the worst crack habit known to man.  And as time goes on, eventually you cannot hide it, and you will look ridiculous the longer you allow it to go on...   You can send to rehab, but 2 weeks later, that monkey is bouncing all around and pushed you so hard you are ready for drastic measures.  You cannot change its spots, no matter how hard you try.... Rolls and drug addicts are all the same... You CANNOT change them... well short of a 502 chevy and re braking, re suspension and re wiring the whole car.....   You can leave the transmission, ac compressor, power steering pump and alternator though!    That is the best analogy I can put to the MANY Rolls and Bentleys I have owned.  In the end, their habits get them, and their partners (owners) leave them for a more plain yet higher substance, WAY better performing and MUCH more trustworthy choice.  Of course the looks and flash are always lacking!

So with that said, I really would not expect too much out of one of these cars, if anything at all.  They are best as static art.   I have often been tempted to not even care if one runs... but I cant quite go that far.  If you have some romantic notion you are going to drive one, odds are its going to let you down on some big level.  These are cars best for HANDS ON and EXPERIENCED people with strong mechanical backgrounds, talents, tools, and A LOT of time on their hands.   Even to me, these cars push my limits in the frustration level.  I can spend less time on 20 classic US cars vs one old Rolls.  If you think your life is hard, get an old Rolls....  You will realize you had it good!   And if you speak in terms of "my mechanic says" you are living the same life as your drug addict supermodel.  You are gonna crash hard and you will probably have some mechanic ready to take you out when you get sideways with him for YOU not understanding you are making him deal with a crack addict..... and he cant ever fix that!  I'll back him up too!

  The other problem is that like a drug user, these cars AGE HARD.  Sitting side by side in a museum to a 1979 Fleetwood, both examples with 0 miles, the Rolls Royce will develop 10X the patina, the paint will crack and the overrated "Connolly" leather will look like it was the seat of an amusement ride.  The wood will crack on the dash and door panels... you CANT stop it.   However the Cadillac will still look pretty much new.  So will a Ford, so will a Toyota... so will a Pacer...   Because of that, very few Shadows and even Spurs/Turbo Rs, etc will have original paint on them.  If they do, they are BOUND to disappoint.  If it looks nice, you may think its original... but really I bet its not.  This car here was repainted in the early 90s.... and in the car comes the receipt for.... yes.... you guessed it... $15,000.00 from the Rolls Dealer.  Is it the worlds best paint job???   Hell no, not even close... its the freakin Rolls dealer for god sakes.....fancy talk and facility, but lacking in substance too!  But it is at least as good as a 10K specialty shop paint job today. It was a fully disassembled and to the metal to get what you see now.  But remember, that was early 90s and they were sticking it to the owners that hard at the dealer then!  Shame shame shame.  You could count on that dealer charging 35K today.

Today, this particular car shows quite well as a whole package.  Is it perfect???  NOT EVEN CLOSE.   High expectations???  Rolls are the WRONG cars I can assure you.  It has lots of bad points, but cosmetically, the good far outweigh the bad and the car is really stunning.  About the use I get out of it, I do put it out in my porte cochere (pompous word for car port in the spirit of a pompous car)  from time to time, and random people come by with cameras to take photos of it.  Anyone who sees it really falls hard for it.  With the many random and respectful complements this car gets, I offer to trade them on the spot for what they are driving... they think I am kidding, I am not.    Almost had me a good beater work truck, but owner had a loan on it so he could not trade.

 Pretty much everything works on this car, and that amazes me.  Every now and then it needs the old Lucas Tap on a lamp or something, but nothing worse than in 1979...  Even the HVAC works pretty much perfect in all modes and the fascia button changes fast.  What the BEST THING this particular Rolls Royce does, it is the ONLY one I have owned to date.. and this includes a late model Red Label Arnage, that DOES NOT LEAK anything.  I know, something is really wrong with it,  its out of oil right???  But really it does not.  What the big issue on this one is, as with most, are the standard RR junk brakes and hydraulics.  They work, but I can assure you they are not to spec... just as they would not be 2 weeks after the car was made.  Just as 99% of the ones for sale right now....  That stuff is so "wrong" its not funny.   Yes I understand the system well, I understand it enough to say it was crap and thank god they got rid of it.   However, this car is what it is... A drug addict supermodel that is on fairly even temperament and is not binging too hard right now.   She gets wasted here and there enough to piss you off, but not to the point of a total public spectacle or a full intervention to get to rehab .   As for this moment, the car runs well, drives as well as one of these things could and its not an F1 car, so those not to spec items have a little overhead before total meltdown occurs... and it WILL, that you can count on. 

As you can tell I am not the worlds biggest advocate of these cars, but I do respect them and have learned they have their "place" in a well rounded car collection.   Just keep very low expectations, and these cars are fine.  I have opened my mind to them as wide as anyone could by owning many.  For most including me, the best day in the life of Rolls Royce ownership is the day you sell it.....   However here is where the poison circle never ends;    When you are without one for a while, the Prince of Darkness, that Evil Lucas Sprit seems to call your name like the wind... and subconsciously, you go out and get one again knowing all the better before hand..       After one evening of passion,  the daylight comes and you are QUICKLY reminded about all your past experiences and all the hard roads you are now facing ahead...............  

The Best Rolls Shadow Link Ever:  http://www.topgear.com/uk/videos/pool-party



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