Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II | The courageous pill
The relationship between Rolls-Royce and the rock aristocracy is long, interesting and often wet. It started with John Lennon’s decision to repaint the frozen lines of his Phantom V in a psychedelic livery, widely considered heretical at the time, but which has now created a cultural icon that the company itself now boasts. Then there was the mythical tale of The Who’s Keith Moon driving his Roller in a swimming pool. This was never backed up by solid documentary evidence, but as Moon already earned the total of £ 47 from a month-long tour once the cost of destroyed hotel rooms was deducted from his winnings, it certainly seems plausible. The legend also inspired Oasis to immerse a real Silver Shadow in a real swimming pool for the cover of “ Be Here Now ” in 1997.
Now here’s the chance to own another example, albeit slightly further from the blazing heart of the celebrity sky. This is a 1990 Silver Spirit II sold with what sales advertisements claim to be a Pink Floyd tie. To avoid the less attentive Floydians having to engage in research based on the portrait of the car and the owner, the guard in question is Guy Pratt. Who wasn’t part of any of the classic PF studio lineups, but played bass for the “ A Momentary Lapse of Reason ” and “ The Division Bell ” tours – in the ’80s and’ 90s, and who is now a member of Nick Mason. Saucerful of Secrets. (Wikipedia lists other highlights of Pratt’s career like the co-writing of ‘Ain’t No Doubt’ for Jimmy Nail. Let’s go over that one.)
The good news is that there doesn’t appear to be any attempt to extract a (minor) celebrity tax in return for this connection. The Spirit is sold by a Rolls and Bentley specialist in Blackburn for exactly what a regular civilian version of the same age and mileage would be offered for. And that’s without taking into account the new engine which was installed just 2000 miles ago.
Not that no Spirit can be described as fashionable, which was as true when this one was brand new as it was 31 years later. This is a product from the more square Rolls-Royce era, when the company’s designers seemed to work exclusively with rulers and 90-degree squares. Launched in 1980, the Spirit (and its long-wheelbase sister Spur) were designed to provide Rolls with appropriate levels of presence through battleship proportions rather than subtlety of line or detail. The American market versions wore horrid sealed beam headlights that made them look like oversized Lincoln Town Cars, but European cars had lamps large enough to make the Corinthian grille look undersized. The rear lights are also XXL.
Power came from a version of the company’s long-lasting 6.75-liter rod V8, barely altered from that of the old Silver Shadow, and which delivered its meager envy thanks to a three-way automatic transmission. speeds. Rolls declined to discuss power or performance at the time, officially as such vulgar topics were underneath, but also because these were almost embarrassing and modest. When launched, the Spirit had around 200 hp from its carburettor-fed engine and would take around 10.5 seconds to drop its 2.2 ton mass at 60 mph. Later fuel-injected versions increased that figure to around 240 hp and dropped the 0-60 to just under ten seconds. But neither could be persuaded to deliver better than 15mpg under anything other than the smoothest use, and would often do much worse.
As a later version Mk2, our Pill will have various useful updates including ABS, fuel injection and automatic damping control for its hydraulic suspension. But unless traded in, it’s too early to have received the last four-speed gearbox that was introduced in 1991. Ebony metallic paint isn’t the gaudiest choice, but it looks harmless compared to it. in less modest colors than even the last Spirits often ordered. by buyers apparently determined to prove a taste for money. The cabin’s gray leather upholstery works better than you might think with the orange wood veneer.
The long life of the Spirit corresponds to a near reversal of fortune for Rolls-Royce and Bentley. When launched, the Bentley Eight / Mulsanne that used the same bodywork were minority partners that sold in much smaller volumes and were treated roughly as base models – their selection resulted in no additional envy or focus. dynamic. But that changed steadily as cars got older, with the launch of the Mulsanne Turbo and then the Turbo R proving that affluent buyers weren’t opposed to the extra performance or the ability to get around corners at higher speeds. high. By the time the Spirit and Spur finally retired in 1997, the balance had shifted the other way and the Bentley versions were comfortably outperforming them.
This in turn created an imbalanced second-hand market, with a relative abundance of early examples of Rolls chasing weak demand. This is why the Spirit entered its third age of distinguished bangerdom faster than any of its predecessors, the values of early examples well within the grasp of the low-cost wedding car market, although new ones were still on sale. The values of the older and more beautiful Silver Shadow have started to rise in recent years, but Spirit is still stuck in the doldrums. He can stay there forever.
Still, you’d be hard pressed to deny that our pill represents a huge amount of car for the money, either in terms of weight or slightly faded size. The seller reports a full list of services, and with modest and reassuring distances between most of them, as noted – although the gap between 59,000 and 71,000 miles appears to represent a five-year gap according to MOT history. The rest of the line record is scary, with the last pass only mentioning the oily rear shocks, but the current MOT ran out (after the COVID extension) in December. The seller promises that it will be sold with a new one.
It won’t be cheap, of course. Spirits rust, often in inaccessible places, and hydraulic suspension and power brakes can quickly get expensive. Motors are normally considered tough, but the fact that our pill is on its second one proves that they don’t always last. Almost any visit to a garage is going to be expensive, even if it’s just to fill that expansive 105-liter tank.
Either way, with apologies for the free quote from a completely incorrect Floyd era, after a while you will likely become comfortably numb. Or maybe realize that hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.