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Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit: Buying guide and review (1980-1999)

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit
Since its inception, Rolls Royce has built up an enviable reputation for manufacturing some of the world’s finest luxury automobiles. With the introduction of the Silver Spirit in 1980, the company continued this long tradition, moving tentatively into the modern motoring era. Motive power was still provided by the long-lived 6.75 Litre V8, modernised over the years with fuel injection and turbocharging, ensuring that the power levels remained at ‘sufficient’ levels for the demanding clientele.

The Silver Spirit had the longest production run of any Rolls-Royce model in the company’s history, spanning 18 years. Bentley also based its Mulsanne models on this same basic design, which were produced alongside the Rolls-Royce models until 1992. It’s interesting to note that demand for the Rolls-Royce models waned throughout the production run, while demand for the Bentley grew as customers’ tastes changed heading into the new millennium. 

Nevertheless, the smooth and cultured Silver Spirit remains a true Rolls-Royce to this day, exhibiting the sort of effortless luxury that is expected of the marque.
 
Which one to buy?
 
The Silver Spirit was an extremely expensive car at launch, and was built to the highest standards. Top quality materials were used throughout and the slow and steady rate of development within Rolls-Royce was evident in the extremely restrained design. 

To keep the Silver Spirit current, a number of changes were carried out during its long 18-year production run. The Mark II versions introduced in 1989 brought with them some welcome advances, such as ABS braking, fuel injection and an Automatic Ride Control system, as well as a four-speed gearbox from 1992 onwards. 

In 1993 the Mark III brought with it twin airbags, more power and improvements to the suspension system.  The Final Mark IV version was subtly redesigned to keep with the changing times, although in a very subdued Rolls-Royce fashion.  Not referred to as the Mark IV in eastern countries due to negative connotations it was known as the New Silver Spirit. 

The long-wheelbase Silver Spur version could be ordered throughout the production run. A number of limited edition models were also produced in very small numbers such as the Springfield and Lauderdale editions, which used the long wheelbase chassis.

The Mark I was by far the biggest seller, making it the cheapest option today, however if you can stretch to one of the newer cars, it’s worth it for the updates in suspension design and engine improvements. Condition is everything, as this is not the sort of car you want to rebuild or restore without a lot of background knowledge or excess funds burning a hole in your pocket. It’s almost always far more advisable to buy a well-sorted car that just needs regular maintenance to keep it that way.
 
Performance and specs
 
1980 Silver Spirit Mark I
Engine 6750cc 16valve OHV V8 
Power 245bhp (est)
Torque 398lb ft (est)
Top speed 118 mph 
0-60mph 10.6 seconds 
Fuel consumption 16mpg 
Gearbox Three-speed automatic
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 3061mm
Length 5278mm
Width 1887mm
Height 1486mm
Weight 2245kg
 
Common problems
 
• Parts are available from specialists as well as the manufacturer, but can be costly. The cars may be at the lower end of the price scale but the maintenance costs are often astronomical.

• Rust is a common issue and can strike anywhere. Check all the usual areas such as the wheel arches and sills and look out for interior leaks as they can cause corrosion over time. Body panel repairs on these cars can get expensive and respraying should be left to specialists. 

• The 6.75 V8 is strong and reliable, benefitting from decades of development work. Turbocharged cars can suffer from head gasket failure, repairs can range from gasket replacements to full engine rebuilds. Water leakage around the gasket or head bolts can indicate issues. Warming up engines before using all the available power can reduce damage to the head gasket and is generally the recommended way to treat any engine.
 
• Some Silver Spirits will have lead very pampered lives but long periods sitting dormant can still cause rubber seals to perish.

• Batteries tend to lead a hard life and should be checked periodically as they only last around 4-5 years.

• Electrics can give some issues and all the buttons and switches son the dashboard should be checked. Electric window mechanisms can wear out causing very slow movement of the glass. 

• Central door locking solenoids tend to give problems so check that all of the doors locks function correctly.

• Electric seat mechanisms can pack up and require replacement or refurbished motors.
 
Model history
 
1980: Rolls Royce Silver Spirit Mark I introduced. Long wheelbase version named Silver Spur
1989: Silver Spirit Mark II introduced. Automatic ride control system introduced with ABS and fuel injection now standard
1992: Four-speed automatic transmission replaces three speed GM unit
1993: Silver Spirit Mark III introduced. Power increased to a more ‘adequate’ level, suspension system improved and twin airbags introduced
1994: Flying Spur introduced – turbocharged version based on long wheelbase Silver Spur III. Silver Dawn special edition offered with unique optional extras
1995: Silver Spirit Mark IV introduced – named New Silver Spirit. Electrically adjustable steering column introduced
1997: Silver Spirit ends production run with 9614 units produced. All cars now based on longer wheelbase chassis. Silver Spur now available with the turbocharged 6.75 Litre engine as in Bentley Brooklands
1999: Production of Rolls Royce Silver Spur ends as well as all related Bentley models. 31,602 variants produced in total. 
 
Clubs and websites
 
• www.flyingspares.com - Flying Spares, specialist spares and parts supplier
• www.hillierhill.com - Hillier Hill, Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist
• www.midlandrrclub.co.uk - Midland Rolls-Royce Owners Club
• www.rrec.co.uk - Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club and forum

Summary and prices
 
£6000 is the entry fee for a relatively well maintained Mark I, but you shouldn’t be fooled by the low prices, as maintenance remains at Rolls-Royce levels. Poorly looked after cars can deteriorate quickly, and will cost thousands to put right. Values are still strong for low mileage Mark III and IV models with prices around £20,000 for good ones. 

Whichever version you choose, the inherent Rolls-Royce traits will be there. Find a well cared for example and it should provide you with years of upmarket motoring pleasure. 
 
Words: John Tallodi
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit
Last updated: 18th Nov 2015
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Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit cars for sale

8 Search results
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit
8995 17250 GBP
  • ROLLS ROYCE SILVER SPIRIT V8 6.7 PETROL 1985

    £8,995 £8,995

    • Mileage: 123000 mi
    • Engine size: 6.75
    For sale
    A5 Cars Ltd
    07869 107291 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

    £9,000 £9,000

    Full service history A most elegant Early Silver Spirit finished in Unmarked and Original corrosion free Exeter Blue (Non Metallic) with Excellent Magnolia Beige Leather Interior.Genuine 48,700 Miles from New with every MOT and all Handbook and Service Packs with Receipts. Air conditioning. Original Blaupunkt Radio and separate Pioneer Cassette. Lambswool Rugs. Alarm and immobiliser. 2 Keys. Previously supplied by us 3 years ago locally. Whisper quiet engine. Extended warranty and overseas delivery at extra cost. Good Number MVO1W included looks like Meow on the car.

    • Mileage: 48700 mi
    • Engine size: 6750
    For sale
  • Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

    £9,495 £9,495

    Full service history A most elegant Early Silver Spirit finished in Unmarked and Original corrosion free Exeter Blue (Non Metallic) with Excellent Magnolia Beige Leather Interior.Genuine 48,700 Miles from New with every MOT and all Handbook and Service Packs with Receipts. Air conditioning. Original Blaupunkt Radio and separate Pioneer Cassette. Lambswool Rugs. Alarm and immobiliser. 2 Keys. Previously supplied by us 3 years ago locally. Whisper quiet engine. Extended warranty and overseas delivery at extra cost. Good Number MVO1W included looks like Meow on the car.

    • Mileage: 48700 mi
    • Engine size: 6750
    For sale
  • Rolls Royce Silver Spirit MK II Active Ride

    £17,250 £17,250

    Current Stocklist Download all Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Midnight Blue with Parchment interior with Slate Grey piping and Slate Grey carpets piped in Parchment. Known to ourselves for many years. Only 56,000 miles with Full Service History. This car is stunning throughout and must be seen click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 1990
    • Mileage: 56000 mi
    For sale
  • E type 4.2 OTS 1965 £POA

    POA POA

    This California delivered E type Series One Roadster is under restoration to Concours standard. As can be seen in the photographs, the car has been fitted with new inner and outer sills and new floors., removing any question of unseen rust being left in the car. All manufactured and laser cut in Zintec which is far better than the original non coated steel. The lead loading has been done, the bonnet is about to be fitted and then it will be going into paint. At this stage a buyer can choose the colour of his choice for the paintwork and trim. The engine is being built to fast road specification and it is possible to specify either a 5 speed for enhanced cruising or keep the matching numbers 4 speed gearbox as fitted from new. Everything is going to renewed or refurbished on this car and it can be built in either LHD or RHD configuration. Please call to discuss. If you want an E type Series One Roadster this will be one of the very best cars you can buy. Fully matching numbers example.

    For sale
  • silver spirit 1

    €15,500(£13,819.80) €15,500(£13,819.80)

    repaint,excellent engine.new exaust and tires.lpg conversion, http://www.alfavintage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/20161111_165220.mp4 http://www.alfavintage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/20161112_122422.mp4

    • Year: 1984
    • Mileage: 77219 mi
    For sale
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