Rolls-Royce's most significant model since the Silver Ghost was the Silver Shadow which , took 11 years to come to fruition and included many technical refinements. Under the code name Tibet, this model was the first Rolls-Royce to use monocoque or unitary construction.
The Silver Shadow was a huge technical leap forward from its predecessors. The car had every luxury option possible at the time. Gear change, windows, seat adjustment, fuel filler cap, aerial, air conditioning and heating were all electrically operated. A hydraulic system with pumps operated from the camshaft was also a considerable advance, as were power-operated disc brakes and self-leveling independent suspension.
The Silver Shadow was launched in October 1965, priced at 6,556 pounds. This made it 900 pounds more expensive than the Cloud III, but in technical terms the Silver Shadow was superior - easily the most superior model ever offered by Rolls-Royce up to that point.
Early cars were powered by the 6.23 liter V8, but in 1970 it was increased to 6.75 liters to compensate for increasingly tight and power-sapping emissions legislation.
The Silver Shadow II was introduced in 1977 and was an improved version of the previous model with changes in external appearance, particularly wrap-around black bumpers with an air dam underneath; handling was also improved. The long-wheelbase Silver Wraith II had four inches more rear legroom.
The Silver Shadow and Silver Shadow II were destined to become the best selling Rolls-Royce cars ever produced and they remain to this day a Great British icon.Source - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.
Responsible for achieving the largest production volume of any Rolls-Royce, the Silver Shadow was introduced in October of 1965 at the Paris Auto Show. The most successful model ever produced by Rolls-Royce, the Silver Shadow had a remarkable production rate of 16,717 units sold during its 12-year run. For such an expensive model, this was quite an achievement. This vehicle was to be the future of Rolls Royce Motors, a product of more than ten years of development, filling a gap between the Silver Cloud buyer and the new generation of Rolls owners. A luxurious vehicle produced in Great Britain, the Silver Shadow was the first Rolls-Royce to use a monocque chassis.
The Silver Shadow had a more modern appearance in comparison to its predecessor, the Silver Cloud. The styling was a product of Crewe's in-house styling department, led by Jon P. Blatchley. Unitary construction, the absense of a separate frame resulted in more room for passengers, and easier access for luggage towing. It also featured much more practical updates that included disc brakes rather than drum brakes, and independent rear suspension with automotac level control instead of the previous live axle design of previous vehicles. The standard Silver Shadow had a wheelbase that measured at 5.17 metres in length.
During its first year of production, the Silver Shadow came at a base price of $19,700 and weighed 4,700 pounds. Two door saloons were available from 1966 on, and a convertible was offered the following year.
From 1965 until 1969, the Silver Shadow had a 172 hp 6.2 L V8 and updated to a 189 hp 6.75 L V8 from 1970 to 1980. These powerplants were merged to a General Motors-sourced Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission. Pre-1970 right-hand-drive models used the same 4-speed automatic gearbox as the Silver Cloud.
The Silver Shadow also featured an impressive high-pressure hydraulic system that was licensed from Citroën and showcased dual-circuit braking and hydraulic self-levelling suspension. In the beginning both the front and rear of the vehicle were controlleed by the leveling system. This was updated to only rear levelling as most of the work was done from this area.
The Silver Shadow II was introduced 1977. A bridge between the Silver Spirit that eventually followed in 1981. This newest version included technological advancement modifications to the front suspension that improved handling remarkably, along with rack and pinion steering. The bumpers were also updated from chrome to alloy and rubber.
To counteract power-robbing and ever growing stringent smog regulation, the 6750cc V8 engine was updated. The aluminum-silicon cylinder block with cast iron wet liners and aluminum alloy heads continued to remain on the engine.
In 1969 an optional longer wheelbase variant added an extra 4 inches to provide additional rear seat legroom. Several of these models were fitted with a privacy glass divider. These models today are still sought after by collectors today. These models were eventually renamed the Silver Wraith II in 1977. Updated with an Everflex covered roof, different wheel covers and a rear opera-style window the Silver Wraith II was quite a popular vehicle.By Jessica Donaldson