Post Number: 396
|Posted on Monday, 25 April, 2005 - 07:47: |
On this ANZAC Day I have heard many times this timeless exhortation applied to our fallen. But may I be irreverent by highlighting its relevance to our cars particularly the SY models on. We have just had most interesting exchanges about boot floors ripping and hydraulic systems with gremlins and the number of rotten floors I am finding is embarrassing. These cars are a far remove from the pre-war Factory tanks engineered when cars were a basic form of transport and not a collection of ingenious gadgets designed to minimise any effort the driver might have to make to have the thing work. Gone are the girder-like chassis and cast iron blocks, gearboxes capable of driving the Titanic and simple suspensions that could handle the Khyber Pass. Those cars we came to expect to last forever and last forever they probably will.
Unfortunately we have transferred these expectations to the Shadow and Spirits and all their badged up relations. This is a bit like expecting the son of a World Champion sprinter to better his father's records simply because of the filial relationship.
Hopefully we will not abandon these cars as 'modern junk' as I have sometimes heard them called but will realise their limitations and prop them up where needed. Richard Treacy's prophylaxis on his father's Bentley and its rear end is a salutory example. The other factor is commercial viability of fixing these cars. With the seemingly unavoidable charges that have to be incurred by service organisations it is fast becomming a necessity for owners to educate themselves about the needs of these cars with the sole object of preserving them for future generations. Keep in mind - there will be no more!!!
Post Number: 154
|Posted on Monday, 25 April, 2005 - 11:16: |
We went up to Katoomba yesterday, down the "scenic accident-and-mega-lawsuit-waiting-to-happen railway", and along the new boardwalk in the valley. One of the diplays was an old shale bucket that used to run on a wire rope, with a 6" cast wheel and bearing still attached that had lain on the forest floor for 110 years. The wheel could be turned effortlessly, and the bearing was silent and free with no play discernable...I marvelled at the fitter and turners workmanship that assembled this, and all with crude lubricants...110years outside in the elements!!!...they just don't make 'em like they used to!!
Having said that, the Shadows, Spirits, Etc still embody engineering principles that have been sadly lost from most modern cars. They are still stout and rugged compared to most of their contemporaries, and are incrementally repairable where most other makes are disposable, albeit at a cost (not just money, but time).
And they are unique. Modern RR's and B's have no true competitors because they don't fit into any class but their own. Please don't misunderstand, I am under no illusion they are the "Best Car in the World" in performance, dynamics, handling, ride etc....but they ARE totally unique with materials and finish like no other. A Jaguar may outhandle and ride better, but it's leather faced seats, use of plastic and vinyl and so on make it a pretend luxury car by comparison...and I still love Jags! Mercedes are ruthlessly efficient, and technologically supreme, but totally without soul or personality, and little or no sense of occasion. They also restore less well than nearly anything...notice you don't see many older restored examples around. Ditto BMW's.
In summary, there are cars that do car things better than RR's and B's, but only RR's and B's do that extra something the others can't...make you and the car feel very, very special, for a long long time.
For those that think this doesn't make sense then consider this analogy: Orange juice may be better for you and water may quench your thirst best, and in comparison with alcohol will win on any logical and cost/health/benefit analysis....but champagne is still, and always will be, nicer!!
We must preserve these cars, we absolutely must...
Post Number: 195
|Posted on Tuesday, 26 April, 2005 - 00:00: |
French Champagne of course Gordon. I'm not adverse to a little Scotch either.
I often ponder the question of whether Sir Henry would approve of the Post-War products (Crewe-Built of course). I would probably conclude that he would not, with the possible exceptions of the Silver Wraiths,Dawns, Cloud 1, 6 cylinder powered carriages and their derivatives. He would probably scoff at the technological advances on later models as useless lazymen's poppycock. Robotham was always trying to convince the powers-that-be in the late '30s to build cars like others did for economical reasons.But it was the post-war years that forced the company to finally comply with his wishes. Royce was a perfectionist. Of that, there is no doubt and the longevity of the pre-war products (even with the help of dedicated restorers and owners), is testament to that.
The Silver Shadow was as technologically advanced as they came and their magnificence still endures even after all these years. Did Rolls-Royce still make the best car in the world then? It's a contentious question. What is, after all, the meaning of best? If it's reliability, probably not. too many fangdangly bits to go wrong. In magnificence terms, a definite yes. My in-laws being strict catholics asked me what my religion is. To raised eyebrows and consternation I replied without hesitation, Rolls-Royce . The fact of the matter is though, that RR/B products age-wise, are probably the most populace cars still on the road. That surely means that even up to the SZ's, they still are the best.
Post Number: 717
|Posted on Tuesday, 26 April, 2005 - 01:30: |
I must say that driving a Shadow-series car is unique. It's softer than an SZ or MkVI, but I repeat quite unique. It takes most owners at leat 3 months to appreciate them compared to other models. S-Class Mercedes may be exceptionally good, but I could never own a Berlin taxi again. If you ride in a Silver Shadow and the contemporary Mercedes-Benz, you will instantly realise how the critics of the time completely missed the point.
It is rumoured that Shadow prices are rising. If so, let's hope that the new owners value them enough to maintain them properly at last.
Post Number: 196
|Posted on Tuesday, 26 April, 2005 - 08:29: |
It's good to learn that Shadow prices are on the increase. This will certainly ensure their survival.
Well deserved for a valuable model.
Post Number: 9
|Posted on Monday, 16 May, 2005 - 17:09: |
We absolutely must preserve these cars. Pity the poor Shadow and all the (mostly) undeserved criticism levelled at it by the pundits. Yes, they are complex, but they are also rebuildable. How many big S-Class Benzes from the Shadow era do you see on the road? Come to think of it, how many from the Spirit era? When Harry Grylls likened the feel of a Shadow to that of a "ball of silk" he did this intentionally. The press said the car drove as if it had popped a fistful of Valium. Interesting to note that Martin Buckley has been extolling the virtues of the "ball of silk" philosophy -- he hated to sell his newly-acquired 1968 Shadow to his friend in Rome! It only took 30-some-odd years for alot of people to finally "get it" about the Shadow. Here in Hong Kong, there are many fine examples extant. And believe me, they are easier and more comofortable to drive on our roads and in our traffic conditions than a new Phantom. Which is probably why that car is a commercial failure here. When you think that Hong Kong took fully 1% of all RR production for nearly 100 years, that's alot of cars in a small area -- and a big market to lose. Sorry, I rather got off the track there, but my intentions are noble!
Post Number: 5
|Posted on Monday, 16 May, 2005 - 20:30: |
I remember visiting Broughtons to buy bits for mine and being told by the new storeman "it's an amazing car, not like anything else I've worked with, you can get spares for and rebuild practically every part of it"
And the service manager and one of the mechanics owned them too.
They are special and need recognising as such.
I did put a Turbo R roll bar on mine though!
Post Number: 2
|Posted on Saturday, 07 March, 2009 - 09:15: |
Just looking through this old post got me thinking. At the moment I drive a 1988 420 Mercedes. Great car , very reliable, but. I love the V8, the comfort, the leather... the car has a fantastic lock. It is functional, It does the job.. Efficiently. But, it's just a car.
I am restoring a 1969 Rover Three Thousand Five [poor mans RR]different car all together. This is a car which descibes the man who ownes it.I also care for a 1958 BSA Gold Star DBD34. Cars and bikes which , perhaps , fall short of the ideal, Rolls Royce and Vincent HRD or a Brough Superior.
I've driven my friends Spirit and that is superb. All the Mercedes attributes[cars of the same era?] More though [dare I say it]...English.
But, Geoff's Corniche,[thats different] Ah yes.. the silken ball.
Post Number: 29
|Posted on Saturday, 07 March, 2009 - 12:16: |
I can only add to the above by saying that my 1958/9 Cloud is The Best Car in MY world! Recently, in one of those parking lot kibitzing sessions (which I thoroughly enjoy), I opened the boot and removed the battery cover so that my new friend could see the rear spring shackle and a bit of the frame. He observed "That looks like a GMC truck frame - you sure it's original?".
Some time ago I ran a 1979 SWII (LRK37662) for several years. It was the nicest handling/riding car I've ever owned, but I was afraid of it. Sold it at 125k miles, then languished Rolls-Royceless for another five years till Emma came along. I spent about $5,000 to get the Shadow in shape, and $14,000 to get the Cloud in shape. Both were worth it. Perhaps if I'd shown the same consideration in other areas I would still be married! No thanks. Now, at nearly 78, I find that women "of a certain age" find old coots with Rolls-Royces quite attractive!
Sorry for the ramble, but each time I climb up into the driver's seat I feel young and relevant again. Probably a deep psychological flaw, but at my time of life one doesn't give a damn!
Post Number: 16
|Posted on Saturday, 07 March, 2009 - 16:14: |
"women "of a certain age"
I was under the impression that there wasn't a limitation re: female admirers of Rolls-Royces.
Post Number: 60
|Posted on Monday, 15 March, 2010 - 05:14: |
Being single and more into dating over commitment. Female admirers of Rolls Royce is a little bit of a myth--they prefer Bentley!
The last two years, I've started tearing into my Porsche(s) more and more. Rather learn more then basics on less expensive vehicles first! I sold my 928S4 because purchased two older S parts cars. I've ended up with a third parts car. Ended up buying a drivable one. If I go over my head, can hire very reasonable a fellow Porsche club member on weekends and nights to help. (beer or sometimes token amounts of cash). Like this because can also help and learn. Anyway, I've also sold off the interior of one of the Porsche's. So I'm stripping to bare metal and going to repaint. Then put her back together for fun! I'm doing this, so when I get my first Shadow II, 99% of working on her, will be fairly easy. Then I'll move onto a Cloud and go older until they become out of price range. I want to build a decent collection!
I've mostly owned Porsche's, but have had a couple BMW's, Mercedes, etcetera as well. Worked with a higher end car used dealer in Toronto. Buying, selling my own cars on their license mostly. The owner was into Rolls Royce's, but his inventory was majority Mercedes based. We had the odd Ferrari and Lamborghini's and his son worked with the people behind RM Auto Auctions. So also got to play with some of the cars his son was dealing in! Growing up my parents had Jaguars, Porsche's, BMW's and a Mercedes. The American government scheme cash for clunkers, showed how much people don't love those cars from the 1980's and even 90's! If I liked new cars, would even consider this program myself with my Porsche. I don't feel guilty about breaking any of them apart or selling them off in short order either. Same with other makes. With the current Spur though--I've offer her for sale but always find an excuse not to sell. Many like her, but not exactly the same. Each has their own patina and character that you just can't find in any make of car. Even older classics. Modern era, the Shadow has a classic look and feel like no other car built in late sixties to early eighties. I'm sure cars like an SL Mercedes will be a classic--but its not much more a car feeling wise as the late seventies Camaro I spotted the other day. End of the day even Mercedes like the 1978 or 9 6.9 I had feels assembly line made. Sit in a Spur and you can picture Men building them, putting a soul into them. You don't get that with any car. Even a Ferrari.
I drove near 300 kilometers away. Left Friday evening running late and arrived destination at around 1 am. Did a trade show and set up booth the following morning at 7:30. In less than 24 hrs was home again. The whole trip spent thinking this would be better in the Spur and would not be as tired either. Driving most cars on semi long trips are work. In a Rolls its relaxing--no effort! Drove mine all night from San Fransisco to Vegas and then to Seattle. Was not tired one bit. My Father did the trip and was surprised at how comfortable non tiring the trip was as well. I want a Seraph, but don't think I can part with the Spur, so rather spend half the money and get a Shadow II, have both. I've never owned a car like the Spur that spend a trip like I just did. Thinking about pros of keeping her alive and well. Even my cons out way selling the Spur. Thats the first time a car has done that. Buying and selling them for living in the past. I tend to think about cars as dollars, but I see why the person I worked with kept most of his Rolls Royce's even as a car dealer!
I'm even looking at four point car hoists rated for American SUVs. Before we went back into the evil mining business. Tried food processing mainly apple juice. Our pasteurization system used ultra high pressure--same unit that provides the 60,000 average psi used, also provides for water jet cutting pressure. So one day I want the CNC water jet side of my sitting idle machine. So I can make my own parts! One day I'll only own and operate Rolls Royce and Bentley automobile's. The others are just cars and really not worth owning!