ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER SHADOW AND BENTLEY 'T' SERIES

The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and its Bentley counterpart the "T" Series were introduced September and early October 1965.A much revised version the Silver Shadow II and Bentley T2 were introduced in March 1977

STANDARD STEEL SALOON PRODUCTION

Model In Production Numbers Built Chassis Start Number
Silver Shadow 1965-1977 16,717 SRH 1001
Bentley T 1965-1977 1712 SBH 1010
Silver Shadow II 1977-1980 8425 SRH 30001
Bentley T2 1977-1980 558 SBH 30046

LONG WHEEL BASE PRODUCTION

Model In Production Numbers Built Chassis Start Number
Silver Shadow LWB 1969-1977* 2780 LRH6599
Bentley T LWB 1969-1977 9 -
Silver Wraith II 1977-1980 2135 LRH 30038
Bentley T2 LWB 1977-1980 10 -

* A trial batch of 10 LWB cars were produced in 1966-67

TIMELINE FOR SILVER SHADOW AND BENTLEY 'T' SERIES

Specification When Introduced From Chassis No.
Silver Shadow & Bentley T Series introduced with 6.2 litre V8 engine, four speed automatic transmission (three speed in LHD), disc brakes, monocoque structure, all independent suspension Oct-65 SRH 1001
Three speed automatic transmission standardised for all markets Oct-68 SRH 4478
US specification safety equipment with revised facia and instruments. Picnic tables to rear deleted May-68 SRH 6792
Engine capacity increased to 6.7 litres Sep-70

SRH 9358

LRH 9329

Compliant front suspension and ventilated front disc brakes introduced Jun-72 SRH 13485
Wheelbase lengthened by 6mm; front track widened by 13mm to fit wider 235/70HR 15 tyres. Flared front wheel arches also introduced By Sept 1974 SRH 18269
Australian delivered cars come with speedometer in KPH By Sept 1974 SRH 18865
Lucas OPUS electronic ignition introduced and compression ratio of Australian delivered cars lowered to 7.3:1 1975 model

SRH 22572 (UK)

SRH 22600 (Aust)

Silver Shadow II and Bentley T2 introduced with rack and pinion power steering and automatic air conditioning system. Externally an air dam and US style bumper bars distinguished this model from earlier cars. Revised facia, twin exhausts and emission control carburettors. LWB Shadow now called Silver Wraith II. Mar-77

SRH 30001

LRH 30038

Silver Shadow II, Silver Wraith II and Bentley T2 and T2 LWB discontinued From June 1980

Final Chassis

SRH 41580

LRH 41191

 

BUYING A SILVER SHADOW OR BENTLEY 'T' SERIES

A good Silver Shadow or "T" Series makes a most relaxed and reliable means of transport, however, these cars can be expensive to restore so great care needs to be taken in selecting the right car. Expert assistance should be sought before purchasing one of these cars. The information below is not designed to take the place of expert advice, but merely to help you narrow the field of cars you might be looking at. A good service history is imperative for these cars.

The Engine
The engine if properly serviced can give good service for many hundreds of thousand kilometres. It is not absolutely silent. When the engine is started after lying idle for some time there will be some noise until the hydraulic tappets are pressurised. This is normal. If the noise persists this may indicate worn tappets or problems with the hydraulic system that operates the brakes and self-levelling system. Both can be expensive to overhaul.

Oil leaks are quite common, often the result of over filling but can be as simple as parking on a steep incline as there is no rear seal on the crankshaft.

Automatic Transmission
The early right hand drive Silver Shadows had a GM Hydramatic four-speed gearbox which carried over (with some modification) from the Silver Cloud III. Be wary of an uneven or lumpy gear change. The parts for these gearboxes can be difficult to get and the cost of a complete overhaul can be very expensive.

The later three-speed GM 400 Turbo is a very reliable unit and a much cheaper proposition to overhaul as parts are readily available. This gearbox will usually give a much longer service life than the earlier four-speed 'box. The most common fault is a leak from the front pump seal.

Hydraulic System
The hydraulic system is vital as it controls both the brakes and the self levelling system. The hydraulic system is pressurised by two pumps mounted one at each end of the engine. The pressure is stored in two hydraulic accumulators. If these fail and the engine stalls you could find yourself without brakes, which could send your blood pressure up dramatically in a car weighing over two tons!

Check also the service records to see if the brake fluid (RR363) has been replaced about annually and that hydraulic hoses have been replaced at recommended intervals

Body Australian delivered cars will usually be relatively free of corrosion, but cars imported from the UK or South East Asia may suffer from extensive corrosion. The main areas to look at are:
a. Around the wheel arches
b. Under the carpets where moisture can rot out the floor panels
c. Bottom edges of the door trims - timber backing may be rotted.
d. In the boot in the area near the battery box
e. Under the carpet in the boot especially near the tyre pressure flap for the spare tyre.

Note: Corrosion problems may not be the only issue when buying an imported car as each state has its own requirements to register them. It is wise to check these requirements very carefully before buying an imported car which is not currently registered in Australia.

Suspension and Steering

The Silver Shadow was fitted initially with self levelling on both front and rear suspension. The front suspension levelling contributed little if anything to the car and was deleted in 1969 (from chassis number SRH 7404). The rear self levelling was designed to work rapidly at rest (to compensate for passenger entry/exit) and slowly when in motion (to compensate for fuel use) It was never intended to compensate for sagging rear springs although some owners have had the ride height adjusted to do so rather than replace the rear springs. This imposes a greater strain on the system components and is therefore undesirable.

Thuds from the rear end when accelerating can indicate worn torque arm rubbers and front suspension bushes should be checked carefully.
The Series II cars are fitted with rack and pinion steering and the rack can be prone to leaks. A small filter in the power steering line can help to prolong the life of the unit considerably.

Conclusion

The information above has tended to concentrate on the problems to be avoided in purchasing one of these cars. The Series II cars in particular are very relaxing and satisfying cars to drive and not particularly expensive to buy or maintain when compared to a modern car. It should be remembered that the early cars are approaching 40 years old and will inevitably require regular maintenance and repairs.The Rolls-Royce Owners' Club offers associate membership to those looking to purchase a Rolls-Royce or Bentley motor car. By attending Club events and talking to the owners you can make an informed decision as to what model best suits your interests.