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Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Mulsanne

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Mulsanne Published: 27th Feb 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Mulsanne
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Mulsanne
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Mulsanne
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Mulsanne
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Mulsanne
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Want to look rich, when you’re not? Then these are the cars for you!

WHY ARE 1980’S ROLLERS AND BENTLEYS SO CHEAP?

You’re talking here about the Silver Spirit and Mulsanne. Basically, it looks like they are going the same way as the Silver Cloud and Shadow, shedding value like there’s no tomorrow, before eventually levelling out and then appreciating.

SO, NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO BUY ONE?

Well, we can’t see either version getting any cheaper, so, before others latch on to their value, why not?

CHEAP AND CHEERFUL?

More like cheap and cautious! There’s a world of difference between most cheapies and the good ’uns, and that’s where the danger lies, because you could be purchasing a real money pit that will never be right. Yes, you do see Silver Spirits and Mulsannes going for just a few grand at auctions and, while some are worth saving, a good many are really little more than prestige bangers that need too much spending on them to make good.

FOR INSTANCE?

Take the car’s complex hydraulics system that’s broadly based on the famous Citroën design. It needs overhauling every 90,000 miles or so, for safety as well as reliability reasons, and that can cost the thick end of £2000 – effectively the value of some rougher cars. If it’s been done, then that’s a good sign, as it’s one of the costliest single service repairs that you are likely to face.

SOME PAY THAT FOR NEW WOOD ON THEIR MORRIS TRAVELLERS!

Yes, and it’s as well to put it into perspective; Rolls and Bentleys were two of the most expensive cars in the world when new and naturally have running costs to match. You can always tell a good car; if the V5 log book shows a long list of past owners then it’s highly probable that they were all running it on a shoe string and passing the buck once something major cropped up. In contrast, a car boasting long ownership and a fat service history points to a good reliable car.

PARKED OUTSIDE A STATELY HOME?

Joking aside, yes – if possible! In fact, you can tell a lot about a Rolls and Bentley by gauging the owner and his or her dwellings. While there are exceptions, penny to a pound that if the seller lives in a run-down home in a rough area, this is not a good sign, as it points to a car hardly kept in the style it once was accustomed to!

Check the tyre makes as well as condition, a budget brand is another sign of cheapskate ownership.

CHEAP TO BUY, DEAR TO RUN THEN!

Yes and no. Obviously, if you take yours to a main dealer then you’ll be on bread and water for the rest of the month. But there’s an army of independent specialists, which even includes breakers. They can really contain the costs to surprisingly reasonable levels, perhaps not to Morris Minor or MGB budgets but certainly to Jaguar or Mercedes levels, while simple lube and filter services you can easily carry out yourself. The trick to low cost, high-quality motoring is to buy a good car from the outset – say spending between £6000- £10,000. Okay, it rather goes against what you were initially after but believe us, it will pay for itself in the long run. It’s a good idea to join one of several clubs who, far from being elitist, cater for all types of owner, some even run special workshop seminars to assist in home maintenance.

I HAVE SEEN SOME PRETTY RUSTY ONES…

We’re sure you have and that’s quite a problem with these old saloons. First of all, beware of a recent two-tone respray down the flanks as this can hide a multiple of ills and bodges. Look in all the usual places and pay particular attention to the rear wheel arches and wings, sills, rear valance panel and the windscreen scuttles and bulkheads. Don some overalls and crawl underneath to inspect the rear suspension, since the rear arm mountings and spring pans can rust out, leading to an MoT fail. Happily, repair part panels as well as good second-hand ones are available.

SO WHAT ELSE GOES WRONG?

Many of the problems stem from inactivity; seized and rusty brakes (especially the handbrake), tired suspension and gummed up engines (tappets and cylinder bores) and breaking exhaust manifolds are common faults. The electrics can play up and it’s generally reckoned that pre-mid 1980 models weren’t terribly well built, although most of those problems will have been sorted by now. Check the air con, since it was very advanced for its time and repairs are still expensive. Oh, and don’t dismiss a tired interior – it will take more than a bucket of suds, some leather food and Mr Sheen to make good again!

BEST CARS IN THE WORLD?

It depends what you are after. Certainly, when it comes to a feel- good factor few can touch either a Rolls or Bentley, and refinement is what you’d expect, too.

Having said that, a Jaguar XJ is more comfortable, if cramped to ride in, and the sportier Bentley Turbos can creak and groan a bit. Talking of which, while these sporting saloons can certainly fly, and with remarkable agility, they still aren’t cars to fling around like a GTi – more like a point- and-squirt classic Aston.

Having said that, they all drive much better than the Silver Shadow II Spirit and Mulsanne which they are based upon. For many owners, the joy of a Silver Spirit or Brooklands comes in cultured cruising, watching a frantic world fly by.

OH YES, A ROLLS OR BENTLEY MODEL?

Let’s just put this to one side for a moment by saying that condition and provenance is everything and a superb Silver Spirit is better than a manky Mulsanne! But, all things being equal, it’s the latter which is more popular because this model gave Bentley a new and welcome personality that appealed to younger buyers, and still does for that matter. Most drive sportier too, care of the Turbo suspension that’s fitted to the Mulsanne S and Brooklands versions. Talking of Turbos, if you don’t yearn for all that extra grunt (as addictive as it can be), don’t buy one because they are dearer to maintain, have the worry of expensive turbocharger wear and have usually been driven much harder, plus the early pre-fuel injection models could be poor starters and prone to running problems.

LOOKS LIKE I CAN AFFORD ONE!

Good for you! Owning a Rolls or Bentley is a life-long ambition for many and if you do it right, you can achieve it for surprisingly affordable outlay. Stick on a personalised plate and you’ll look like a lottery winner enjoying a champagne lifestyle on beer money. Talking of which, it’s your round…

EDITOR

Alan Anderson,
9 Cashmere Way, Vange,
Essex SS16 4RE
Tel: 075400 69397
E-mail:bradcamanderson@aol.com

CONTRIBUTORS

David Burgess-Wise, Dave Pollard, Steve Rowe, Richard Dredge, Stuart Bladon, Andrew Roberts, Ray Potter, Jim Patten, Jeremy Walton, Angie Voluti, John Simister, Ian Wagstaff, David Ross, Dave Selby, Steve Hole, Rob Marshall, Chris Rees, Tom Malcolm, Jeff Bailey

Pictures: magiccarpics.co.uk

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