Skip to content

1978 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II

“Nil fato relinquemus”

1

37

38

40

2

There are automobiles…and then there is the Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II. So luxurious, it qualified as a limousine. With its individually longer wheelbase, the ride was remarkably smooth…the sophisticated self-leveling system kept the Silver Wraith II at optimum ride height regardless of the load. The Silver Wraith II was the most formal of all Rolls Royce saloons. It was among the first of the ultra-luxury saloons to crack the $100,000 USD mark. The Silver Wraith II augmented the model hierarchy as the company Flagship.

3

4

The Silver Wraith II was the final stage of refinement for the highly successful Silver Shadow long wheelbase saloons. Production officially began for the long wheelbase saloon for the 1969 model year, however, 10 were built as early as 1967. The extended wheelbase increased rear seat passenger legroom.

The added inches to the bodyshell was anonymously added to the rear doors to retain the appearance of the standard saloon. The Silver Wraith II was formal and suitable for a chauffeur. It was a masterpiece of hand-built craftsmanship. The Silver Wraith II was built from 1977 until 1980 with a production total of only 2,154 vehicles.

8

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever…”

7

10

11

Limousine-style luxury abounds inside the Silver Wraith II. The richness of Lombardy walnut veneers grace the fascia and door capping garnish rails adding warmth to the cabin. Individually adjustable front seating was contoured for comfort.

Upholstered in supple natural grain leather by Connolly Brothers, each cabin was unique and one of a kind. Wilton hand-tufted 100% wool carpet and lamb’s wool rugs were luxuriously underfoot. Front and rear seat head restraints added further to the comfort and convenience of the Silver Wraith II.

12

13

Rolls Royce Motors patent dual automatic temperature control maintained separate upper and lower systems heating and cooling to pre-set selections. This sophisticated air conditioning system automatically demisted the rear window and extracted stale air via luggage boot.

14

15

16

r1

r2

Carpeted rear seat footrests

r3

r4

17

Among its myriad standard amenities were: power windows, centralized power door locking system with boot lock and power release, theft deterrent system, automatic speed control, courtesy lighting, and AM/FM stereo radio with Quadraphonic tape playing equipment. The Silver Wraith II was equipped as a limousine.

18

19

20

21

43

r5

A distinctive rear limousine-style rear window treatment covered in Everflex with French seams and RR badging affixed to the “C” pillars were signature exterior Silver Wraith II features. Special stainless-steel wheel discs and “Silver Wraith II” trunk badge further distinguished it from the Silver Shadow II saloons.

For some things in this world has a way of timelessly battling the years. One of them is the Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II. From its classic lines to its silent engine, this remarkable motorcar is at home anywhere in the world. A Rolls Royce is a masterpiece that has a way of making the years stand still….

36

9

It required four months of shaping, fitting, tuning, testing, painting, and refining to build the Silver Wraith II. It took 2-3 weeks and at least 12 layers of finish to produce the glass-like shine. It took another 10 days to hand sculpt the iconic radiator grille.

The entire car was built with painstaking precision in the legendary Rolls Royce tradition. This is how a masterpiece is created…The result was a motorcar that embodied modern technology embracing the heights of ageless artistry.

5

32

Longer than the Silver Shadow II four-door saloon, the Silver Wraith II had an exceptionally spacious passenger compartment. The Silver Wraith II rode upon a long 124.1” wheelbase compared to the 120” wheelbase of the Silver Shadow II.

The Silver Wraith II had the luxury length of 211.5” and was 71.8” wide. Rolls Royce motorcars stand alone as an incomparable blending of technology, beauty, and comfort. The Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II made an unarguable statement of personal achievement about its owner…

22

rear

“The quality remains long after the price has been forgotten…”

25

e1

A 6.75 litre 412 CID 16-valve OHV aluminium alloy V8 engine powered the Silver Wraith II. It used hydraulic tappets, and a hardened steel crankshaft run in five main bearings. The aluminium alloy cylinder heads had cast iron wet liners.

It was equipped with a water pump mounted 7-blade fan with an electric booster fan in front of the radiator to increase cooling air flow, and a sophisticated electronic ignition system. The Silver Wraith II was fitted with a twin exhaust system with stainless-steel silencers and catalytic converters. Air injection reaction system with exhaust gas recirculation was added for EPA clean air requirements.

Two SU HIF7 carburetors and a Pierburg fuel pump made up the fuel delivery system. They were synchronized to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 Series 3-speed fully automatic transmission with torque converter and electronic gear selection. It had a single piece propeller shaft and hypoid bevel final drive.

e2

e3

e4

31

The Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II was built as monocoque construction where the body and chassis are fused together as a single, stronger entity. Its front suspension was independent by lower wishbone with stabilized upper lever, had independent coil springs, telescopic dampers, and anti-roll bar for stability. The rear used independent trailing arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar, and automatic ride height control.

39

Power assisted rack & pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes maintained Silver Wraith II’s overall handling characteristics. Ventilated discs were fitted to the front axle and solid discs to the rear.

The brake system was itself, a sophisticated dual hydraulic circuit brake network that maintained individual operation of both front and rear systems. Should one system fail, each wheel was still individually halted 100%. Both hydraulic brake system and hydraulic self-leveling systems were operated by engine-driven pumps.

33

It looked like a limo…was equipped like a limo…even rode like a limo. The 1978 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II was the epitome of luxury and elegance. It was the long wheelbase version of the Silver Shadow II and the more formal of the two with its exclusive roof covered in Everflex and discrete “RR” badging. Its 4” longer wheelbase added legroom for rear seat passengers. The added inches were anonymously built into the larger rear doors to retain the original design.

34

35

last 1

The Silver Wraith II was a large front engine rear drive saloon. Powered by the 6.75 litre aluminium alloy V8, the Silver Wraith II had the performance of a more sporting saloon yet retained its poised dignity. The 1978 Silver Wraith II augmented the model hierarchy as the quintessential Flagship Saloon. This iconic body style epitomized the brand and will remain highly collectible…only 2,145 were built during its production run from 1977 until 1980.

last 2

42

44

Thanks to Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum

last 3

The Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II

6 thoughts on “1978 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II Leave a comment

  1. I have a 1980 Silver Wraith ll with fuel injection. I was told that 50 of the last year cars were done that way for the Calf. market. Any info on that? Thanks Michael Hoskins mhoskins1@aol.com

    • Hello Michael! The 1980 model year introduced electronic fuel injection to Rolls-Royce which was followed by the all-new Silver Spirit & Silver Spur saloons. It wasn’t targeting any area in particular this was a technological advancement for the iconic Rolls-Royce. The old Rolls-Royce Motors wasn’t quite up to date with technology, this was partially the fact they went into financial hot water. They were way behind introducing firsts to the industry. Fuel injection actually made the 6.75 litre V8 even smoother in operation as well as optimizing fuel economy. Carburetors waste fuel by nature, this is why the industry went to fuel injection. Instead of a ‘bowl’ in the carb supplying to fuel to the combustion chambers, the fuel injection system injects the proper amount of fuel/air to each cylinder without waste. I also have a 1980 Silver Wraith II – it’s worth its weight in gold! I love it. It’s one of the cars I will NEVER EVER sell…when they reach a certain age they too will appreciate favorably as the Silver Cloud Series did – so hold onto your gem! Lawrence of Arabia held his Rolls-Royce in high-esteem over precious jewels!

      The Silver Shadow II and Silver Wraith II were the final revisions to the Shadow Series – by this point in time, all previous quirks from the earlier Shadows had been refined. I LOVE the rack & pinion steering in the Series II models! If you’ve ever driven one of the first Shadows you can attest to the fact steering was rather ‘austere’ – but by the time the final Series II models rolled out of Crewe they were perfected. Just as the Finale for the Silver Cloud Series – the Series III models are deemed to be the finest Rolls-Royce models ever produced in the genre. A classic Rolls-Royce is a keeper! I tell all who love the grand marque to buy a Silver Shadow BEFORE they gain momentum to an elite six-figure value!!!

  2. Thanks for the information. I also very much enjoy the Wraith ll it’s a keeper. I’m lucky to also have a late Silver Cloud lll and an early Silver Wraith, They form quite a line up, and an interesting contrast.
    Thanks again: Michael

    • I see we have the same taste in automobiles Michael! I also have a 1966 Silver Cloud III with mileage in the low 20,000s. The Series III garnered the title of the finest example in the history of the brand! The prices are appreciating extremely favorable! The 1965-1966 Series III base price started around $17,021 – and look at today’s value! They sell in the neighborhood of six-figures for pristine examples and even higher for coachbuilt versions.

      I have bought and sold many Rolls-Royce motorcars through the years and my 2 Silver Wraith II’s (1977 and 1980) and my 1966 Series III – which was one of the last built are in my garage for keeps! I recently acquired a 1956 Silver Cloud Series I in near mint condition which I plan to keep. The inline six-cylinder engine purrs as it did the day it rolled off the Crewe assembly line. I want a Series II, the only drawback with those are the engines. I have owned two. Most of the survivors have the engines rebuilt, there was a crankshaft problem with the early V8 engines in Series II due to lack of lubrication to the bearings. The V8 engines weren’t as quiet nor as smooth in operation as the Series I inline-six.

      I am currently writing an article on the Silver Shadow saloons which will include the Silver Cloud series as the introduction. The Clouds and the Shadows have carved a special niche in automotive history. The Silver Spirit and Silver Spur saloons don’t have the cult following yet as the Clouds and Shadows. My advice to anyone who collects fine automobiles – especially Rolls-Royce – make sure to purchase a Silver Cloud III and a Series II Silver Shadow/Silver Wraith saloon because history will repeat itself in the form of appreciation. These models will become priceless collectibles because they are among the last truly hand-built, hand-crafted Rolls-Royce saloons built at the historic Crewe facility in the UK.

      Did you also know, the 1980 Silver Wraith II is the first Rolls-Royce model to exceed the $100,000 price tag for its day? This is why it’s worth all of the Silver Shadow’s idiosyncratic eccentricities, we just have to take the bitter with the sweet. It’s been great chatting with you Michael. Now that the novel coronavirus has me sequestered in my home, I have time to post all of the articles I’ve written but haven’t had time to post. I write under a few different noms de plume and am all over the internet writing for many different publications. I love cars…and I love to interact with people!

      Stay SAFE…and by all means stay HEALTHY Michael! Focus upon your Rolls-Royces during this international pandemic. I have just about polished myself to death with my collection since I cannot go anyplace to drive them!

      I just noticed in your comment, you also have a classic “Silver Wraith” which is the crème de la crème!! Add a Silver Seraph to your stable. It has the distinction of being the last Rolls-Royce to motor out of the Crewe facility – AND – the firestorm the Silver Seraph and Bentley Arnage were in the midst. That was the finale where Volkswagen and BMW fought tooth and nail to separate the single brand into two completely independent brands to get where they are today. Place a Silver Cloud or a Silver Shadow beside what RR builds today and you will see the vast difference 100% hand-crafting makes as compared to the robotics and shortcuts of the contemporary RR!

  3. Good advice on cars to look at, Silver Seraph? I’ll look into it. I just added a Continental Mark ll that I found on Hemmings auction sight. The Continental division and car make up an interesting story. Just a thought. Michael

    • Hey Michael! There are articles already written for the Continental MK II. MK III, MK IV, and MK V among other articles on the Lincoln Continental. Look under “The Bold and the beautiful Lincolns” or just go to the search window and enter the MK or Continental you wish to view. I own a 1979 Collector’s Series Continental (the big sedan) and a 1979 Continental with the “Town Car” option. The Town Car has its original ‘Victoria Velour’ interior. It is triple dove grey and the Collector’s series is dark blue. I acquired a 2004 Lincoln Town Car with the current mileage of 20,118 miles, it is almost new. The A/C and heater still smells new like the interior and trunk.

      I am a car fanatic. If I told anyone just how many I own…they’d know I was certifiable! But if there’s a cure for this – I don’t want it! I’ll put it this way, the sanitarium would never be the same again after I had all of my collection delivered there especially the Rolls-Royces. In addition the ones previously mentioned, I own a Silver Seraph and a Bentley Arnage Red Label and a Bentley Arnage T and a Bentley T2. The Bentleys are starting to upstage the Rolls-Royce because of the rarity of their low-minted production numbers! Have you seen how they are appreciating rapidly OVER the Clouds and the Shadows? That’s a grand marque you may want to consider adding to your collection! I am in the market for a Bentley “S” type in collectible condition.

      I’d love to upload photos to the site but some of my collection has been recently commissioned for commercial purposes, promotional items such as calendars and automobile books; therefore, I cannot show them. And, some from my private collection are never shown to the public. This is a lesson I learned from a collector of many years who made the mistake of showing photos of what he collected and not one but two of his cars were stolen! This is a tip you too should adhere! Curiosity-seekers will destroy your rare offerings especially “The Spirit of Ecstasy!” I like the new Phantom’s theft-deterrent system, if anyone touches “The Spirit of Ecstasy” she simply bows into the radiator shell! My friends love that feature!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: