Used Car – Old Rollers That Won’t Roll You Over
For over a hundred years Rolls Royce has produced cars that are the last word in luxury, quality and exclusivity. Have you spotted any recently in Walmley or Sutton Coldfield? Naturally, they are extremely expensive but, if you shop carefully, you too can join the millionaires club and own a car that is also an investment. Here are the ones to go for:
Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (1965 to 1980)
As stately as the queen and as understated as a Barbour jacket, the Silver Shadow was the first modern Rolls Royce. This car was an exercise in craftsmanship; the Connolly hide seats were hand stitched, the burr walnut dash was hand polished and only the finest lamb’s wool would do for the carpets. The self levelling suspension gave a ride that is a match for a modern day Jag. Power from the huge 6.75 litre V8 was described as “adequate,” certainly enough to waft this hefty car along in near silence. Prices start at £2,500 but a pristine 1977 model with a scant 80,000 miles under its belt can be yours for £8k.
For: Luxury, presence, value, quality
Against: Doesn’t do corners, too many are used as wedding cars
Rolls Royce Camargue (1975 to 1986)
The Camargue is a 2 door coupe based on the floor pan and mechanicals of the Silver Shadow. The Pininfarina styled body is timelessly elegant and hugely luxurious. In 1976 this was the most expensive car in the world and the fact that only 500 were made makes it extremely collectible. Even so, I found a truly immaculate 1982 model with 64,000 miles on it for £43k. That may seem like an awful lot of money but this is a car that is only going to increase in value.
For: Glorious looks, immense style, a sound investment
Against: You’d probably never drive it
Rolls Royce Silver Spirit (1980 to 1998)
The Silver Spirit was a new car for a new age. The 80s were all about brash, go getting entrepreneurialism and this new Roller reflected that with its monolithic, in-your-face styling. It was as big as the QE2 and as luxurious as Donald Trump’s penthouse suite. The owner was more likely to be boss of his own company than a titled landowner and more likely to be behind the wheel than sitting in the back. Unfortunately, it was based on the same mechanicals as the Silver Shadow and retained the same aversion to corners and lack of performance. This might explain the falling rock depreciation – these days you can pick up a ’93 model that has been barely run in over 49,000 miles for £7,500.
For: Huge comfort, road presence, the bargain of the century
Against: Rather ugly, massive running costs
Rolls Royce Silver Seraph (1998 to 2002)
By the time the Silver Seraph came on the scene, Rolls Royce had fallen into Volkswagen ownership (they kept the Bentley brand and sold the Rolls Royce name to BMW). The engine was a 5.4 litre BMW V12 that finally gave the car the power it deserved. The electronics, equipment and running gear were all state of the art, but a lot of the craftsmanship that was a Rolls Royce hallmark had been lost. Visually, it was sleeker, curvier and more compact than anything that had gone before. Unfortunately, those compact dimensions also extended to the interior. You can pick up a ’98 model with a minimal 74k on the clock for £28,000; not bad for a car that cost £155k when new.
For: Looks, sophistication, ride comfort, road manners
Against: It’s really a high end Beamer