The rare factory division makes it a limousine
The “Spirited Seventies” were no more eloquently stated than the 1970 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow LWB saloon. To make it even more exclusive, one could have requested the rare factory privacy division. The option transformed the Long Wheelbase saloon into a formal limousine. The Silver Shadow series was four years old; it had already begun refinement to make the best car in the world…even better. If formality is a requisite, here’s your saloon…should you find one available to purchase – these are extremely rare and collectible.
This formal saloon is for the owner that wishes to retain his privacy but required a shorter wheelbase than a traditional extra-long wheelbase limousine. The Silver Shadow Long Wheelbase versions were introduced May 1969 for the US market and 1970 for Europe. The very first LWB saloons were test piloted in 1967 and ten were built. The wheelbase is 4” longer than the standard Silver Shadow. Only 2,776 LWB saloons were built during the Silver Shadow’s production which makes them highly collectible.
The Silver Shadow is the first Rolls Royce to be built as monocoque construction. This fuses the bodyshell with its platform to make a strong one-piece entity. It lowers the center of gravity making the vehicle more responsive and handling more precise. It also provides a larger cabin with its construction being less obtrusive. It also eliminates squeaks and rattles.
The 1970 Silver Shadow had no exterior changes from its original 1965 design. A distinguishing feature of the LWB saloons is the Everflex roof treatment and “RR” badges affixed to each rear roof sail panel. The added length was anonymously added into the rear doors to retain the Silver Shadow’s original design.
These elegant formal limousines never pass unremarked. A Rolls Royce always maintains styling continuity and the poised dignity that is the hallmark of the brand. The Silver Shadow series was the most significant model since the Silver Ghost. Its styling was modern for the day, but it retained the traditional qualities long associated with the brand.
The cars fitted with the privacy division lost the 4” gain provided by the longer wheelbase. Not many were fitted with this option for this reason alone. The LWB saloons equipped with the power glass division had an additional heating/cooling unit mounted in the boot. US laws prohibited this feature because it would require the fuel tank to be relocated.
The cabin of the Silver Shadow is appointed in the traditional Rolls Royce fashion. The featured saloon is fitted with a leather upholstered chauffeur’s compartment and a luxurious knit upholstering the passenger compartment. This is an extremely rare example of a Rolls Royce’s bespoke nature. Hand-crafted wood veneers are hand-polished to an extra high gloss. A unique cross-banded veneer graces the cabin of the features model. All veneer work is mirror-matched to the opposite side of the car.
No two Rolls Royce’s will ever share the same wood pattern. Each component is a piece of incomparable craftsmanship. Eight slivers of invisibly joined hand-cut veneer makes an elegant statement. The wafer-thin sheets are inspected, shuffled, and book-matched before they are hand-cut. The craftsman then creates the pattern, this is why no two cars will ever share the same detail. The veneer pattern is recorded in the car’s history book which follows the car through its production and signed by each of the artisans that help to build it.
A Silver Shadow LWB saloon is hand-crafted in the Rolls Royce tradition with a richly appointed cabin. The Wilton hand-tufted 100% wool carpet lines the cabin and the boot. The rear seat passengers have carpeted footrests. The LWB saloons fitted with the privacy division had rear seat controls for the radio, windows, door locks, and the division itself. For vehicles outside the US, controls for the added heating/cooling unit for the rear compartment.
The Silver Shadow came equipped standard with every luxury that its competition offered as options. Power windows, power door locking system with centralized locking feature that included the boot lock, power fuel filler door, power antenna, power seats, power assisted steering and brakes, and courtesy lighting are just a few of the many features and accessories Rolls Royce provides as standard equipment.
Every Rolls Royce motorcar is the natural successor to the previous model. Development for the Silver Shadow took 11 years. It was a major departure from the past. Styling cues from its predecessor the Silver Cloud; were refined into a modern interpretation. It offered more interior room in a smaller exterior package. The Silver Shadow is the democratized Rolls Royce. It is 3.5” shorter and 7” narrower than the iconic Silver Cloud series. It took a special automobile to replace the “Clouds.” The world still has a love affair with both the Silver Clouds and the Silver Shadows.
The Silver Shadow introduced new technology. Its most innovative feature is the high-pressure hydraulic dual-circuit braking and hydraulic self-leveling system. The master cylinder has dual-pistons with dedicated hardware and brake lines to facilitate independent front and rear brake system operation. Should one system fail, each wheel will still be halted independently. New technology also replaced the drum brakes with discs. Its rear suspension was independent replacing the live axle design. The difference these two systems made was immediately evident in the Silver Shadow’s overall operating efficiency.
The self-leveling system was controlled individually for the front and rear suspensions. It was changed for the 1969 model year to delete the front system since it was the rear suspension that did most of the work anyway. If you are planning to purchase a Rolls Royce of this vintage make certain this hydraulic system for the brake and ride height control system are in excellent operating condition. Restoring the hydraulics is obscenely expensive to restore.
Performance ratings for early Rolls Royce models isn’t available nor are these rare automobiles available for testing. Whenever Rolls Royce was quizzed regarding performance aspects, their reply was “adequate.” I always use Bentley performance specifications. The 1970 Bentley “T” series was really a badge-engineered Rolls Royce anyway. They both share the legendary 6.75 litre 16-valve 412 CID alloy V8 engine.
The 1970 model year was the first year for increase in displacement from the former 6.2 litre V8. The 6.75 litre V8 adapted to the emissions control devices that were mandated by the EPA. I like the 6.75 litre better of the two. This naturally aspirated V8 engine is equipped with two SU HS8 carburetors. The engine is mated to GM’s THM-400 3-speed automatic transmission.
The engine produces 217 hp @ 4,500 rpm with 530 Nm of peak torque @ 2,500 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 9.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 34.3 seconds, 0-110 mph in 72.2 seconds with a top speed of 115 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in just 17.3 seconds. These figures are calculated burning premium leaded fuel. These were the proverbial good old days…
The 1970 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow LWB formal saloon is the ultimate in British hand-crafting. The factory power glass division transformed the formal saloon into a limousine. This rare factory option makes the Silver Shadow LWB formal limousine highly sought by collectors world-wide. It is designed for the owner that wishes to retain their privacy without the larger wheel based traditional limousine.
These luxurious personal limos are equipped with every option to make each journey a pleasant experience. It is automobiles like the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow LWB formal limousine that represents a time when hand-crafted automobiles were stately and dignified in all their majesty. Rolls Royce limousines are luxury in the grand Rolls Royce manner. A Rolls Royce is the quintessential Flagship…”Nil fato relinquemus”
Special thanks to Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum
“The quality will remain long after the price has been forgotten”