Bring a Trailer Bargain of the Week: 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II

Considering even the cheapest Rolls-Royce costs more than some houses, the British brand’s cars are luxuries few can regularly appreciate. Well, at least when they’re new. But on the used market, a Rolls-Royce often ceases to be a rarified good and becomes another secondhand luxury car, albeit a high-end one. Thus, these well-worn wheels can be more affordable than you might think. And if you’re interested in styling while saving some cash, the 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II currently listed on Bring a Trailer might be a whip worth looking into.

The 1966-1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow brought some serious innovations to the luxury brand

A 1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II parked on a cul-de-sac street
1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II | Hugh Jane Jr./The Denver Post via Getty Images
1966-1976 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
1977-1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II
Engines1966-1969: 6.2-liter V8
1970-1980: 6.75-liter V8
Horsepower6.2-liter: 200 hp (estimated)
6.75-liter: 220-240 hp (estimated, Classics World)
TransmissionsThree-speed automatic
Four-speed automatic (1966-1969 UK models only)
Curb weight4556 lbs
0-60 mph time10.9 seconds

A budget Rolls-Royce sounds like an oxymoron, but everything is relative. It still costs over $300K, but the Ghost is genuinely an entry-level Rolls. And it’s by no means the brand’s first ‘affordable’ car. The luxury brand kicked that idea around decades earlier with the Silver Shadow.

It might not look like it today, but the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was a significant departure from previous models like the Silver Cloud. Firstly, it ditched the coachbuilder-friendly body-on-frame design for a modern unibody. So, it’s roomier, lighter, and faster than its predecessors, and handles better, too, Hagerty notes. This especially applies to the 1977-1980 Silver Shadow II, which has rack-and-pinion steering and upgraded front suspension.

Speaking of suspension, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow introduced also introduced four-wheel disc brakes and independent suspension to the brand. In an unusual move, though, Rolls-Royce didn’t develop the Shadow’s suspension itself. Instead, it licensed the hydropneumatic setup made famous by the Citroen SM and DS. As a result, the Silver Shadow is also the first Rolls-Royce with self-leveling suspension.

However, Rolls-Royce didn’t neglect the luxury touches when developing the Silver Shadow. Besides an impeccable ride, these high-luxury cars feature Connolly leather upholstery, walnut wood trim, lambswool carpets, power windows, and even power seats. And A/C became standard in 1968. No, these classic cars don’t have all the bells and whistles of a modern Rolls-Royce, but they’re still comfortable in today’s traffic.

You can bid on this 1980 example on Bring a Trailer

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By 1980, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow had evolved into its final form. As such, the Silver Shadow II currently listed on Bring a Trailer benefits from the upgrades the British automaker made over the years.

So, this Silver Shadow II has power seats, power windows, automatic climate control, self-leveling rear suspension, and cruise control. As standard, Rolls-Royce fitted the Silver Shadow II with a Blaupunkt radio. This car still has it, but it’s joined by a Bluetooth-enabled Alpine CD stereo. And of course, the brand’s ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ hood ornament flies tall and proud.

With roughly 24,000 miles on the clock, this 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II is in excellent shape. There’s little if any corrosion, the chrome trim isn’t damaged, and the car passed a recent California emissions test. Also, the seller recently resealed the fuel pressure accumulator and the #1 brake pump. And the suspension looks to be in solid shape—no leaks here. Plus, the seller has plenty of service records.

A cheap classic Rolls-Royce can be worth it if it’s well taken care of

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As of this writing, this 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II is listed at $9100 with three days left in the auction. That’s below-average for this car in this condition. Usually, a good-to-excellent condition 1980 Silver Shadow II runs in the $13,000-$20,000 range, Hagerty reports.

Given that this is a classic Rolls-Royce, and a cheap one at that, a pre-purchase inspection is recommended. Also, while this was Rolls-Royce’s best-selling model ever, that also came back to bite it.

Because it was arguably overproduced, resale prices dropped, and as with many cheap high-end luxury cars, the Silver Shadow became a victim of deferred maintenance, CW explains. That also gave it a reputation for high maintenance costs—well, that and its Citroen-developed suspension and hydraulic brakes, Hagerty notes. And because this was Rolls-Royce’s first unibody car, it had some initial flaws that made early models more susceptible to corrosion.

However, if these luxury cars are maintained properly, they are stout machines. That’s especially true of the Silver Shadow IIs, which have fewer electrical glitches and don’t tend to leak oil from around the crankshaft. And as noted earlier, this 1980 car’s seller already addressed two common age-related issues, the accumulator sphere and brake pump. Plus, because Rolls-Royce made a lot of Silver Shadows, parts aren’t difficult to find.

In short, this 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II could potentially be a classic luxury car steal.

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