“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry…” William Shakespeare –
Hand crafting and Rolls-Royce are synonymous with the Crewe legend. Artisans did what machines could not replicate…slowly, patiently, by the gifted hand and the talented eye. These dedicated men and women inherited skills that were handed down through the generations. This is the reason why the eloquent Rolls-Royces that motored out of Crewe were the finest handcrafted motorcars in the world. These artisans kept the vision of Sir Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce as impetus to their mission.
The Crewe built Rolls-Royce is a strikingly individual motorcar…modern yet timeless. There is no more avant-garde manner in which to travel in an ultra-luxury motorcar than a Rolls-Royce. Two such masterpieces are the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and its long wheelbase variant Silver Spur. They are the first Rolls-Royce motorcars to bear aerodynamic architecture. From their classic radiator grilles with the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy mascot to their sleek body lines designed for the new world…the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur introduced an exciting new genre of luxury motoring.
The Silver Spirit with USA specification headlamps
The handcrafted Silver Spirit and Silver Spur were built to the highest standards in the true tradition of excellence as their illustrious predecessors. Sir Frederick Henry Royce stated: “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it. Accept nothing nearly right or good enough.”
The artisans at the legendary Crewe facility in the UK lived by this famous credo creating automotive works of art such as the world-famous Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud…the notorious Rolls-Royce Phantom limousines…and of course, the elegant Silver Shadow. The Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and Silver Spur built upon the principles set forth by these stunning, luxurious motorcars of esteem. After all, it wasn’t easy to improve upon the best motorcar in the world –
1987 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur saloon
Long…low-slung, and distinguished…the Silver Spirit and the Silver Spur are every inch a Rolls-Royce. They continued the reputation for fine hand crafting and reliability that has become known and accepted world-wide. They are the new breed Rolls-Royce…the Rolls-Royce for today’s world.
It may appear to be all-new but some things never change with a Rolls-Royce built at Crewe. Every square inch of these illustrious new motorcars reflect the dedication and painstaking attention to detail – not to mention the pride each craftsman took in their craft.
1987 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit saloon
The Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and Silver Spur were handcrafted at Crewe from 1981 until 1999. The design, as with all Rolls-Royce motorcars took planning, research and testing. Eight years combined with lessons learned from previous models brought about the all-new model.
Rolls-Royce motorcars are derived from evolution: measures that are tried, tested, and only those with proven results. The four-door five seat saloon is built of integral steel construction with aluminium alloy doors, bonnet, and boot lid. It is fitted with impact absorbing front and rear bumpers capped with polyurethane inserts to resist minor scuffing.
The architecture is contemporary yet classic. The larger expanse of glass makes the vehicle appear larger. Its modular lamp clusters for head and tail lamps wrap around giving the car a modern look to challenge the years gracefully. It has a lower waist rail with a lithe athletic design. The sleek aerodynamic architecture battles crosswinds to manage stability more efficiently. The Silver Spirit is the first Rolls-Royce motorcar to have an aerodynamic design.
It’s also the first Rolls-Royce to use a retractable Spirit of Ecstasy mascot; it disappears into the radiator grille when it is tampered with. The Silver Spirit retains the legendary fit and finish continuing the exemplary craftsmanship and attention to detail that made the brand famous. Its fresh new design hints at its heritage; the front wings reflect those of the Silver Cloud, and the long low silhouette is reminiscent of the Silver Shadow. The Spirit of Ecstasy once again adorns an all-new Rolls-Royce creation of excellence. The brand’s relentless pursuit of perfection is evident.
The Silver Spirit and Silver Spur has sumptuous leather trim handcrafted by Connolly Brothers in the grand Rolls-Royce tradition. Connolly Brothers is a distinguished British company founded in 1878.They did leather crafting for high-end automobile manufacturers such as Jaguar, Aston Martin, Maserati, and Ferrari. Connolly Brothers did all leather work for Rolls-Royce and Bentley motorcars built at Crewe.
Only one out of 500 hides were good enough for Rolls-Royce. Eight perfectly matched hides were hand-cut and hand-stitched to absolute perfection. The same high quality leather was used to trim the plush Wilton carpets. With proper care these fine leather upholstered interiors look as good today as they did when they motored out of Crewe. It’s a shame that all good things must come to an end – 2002 was the swan song for Connolly Leather…and the last hand-built Rolls-Royce left the assembly line at Crewe on August 30, 2002.
Note the luxurious expanded veneer trim in the Silver Spur
Beautiful burr walnut veneers were built with the expertise that isn’t learned overnight by apprenticeship programs – but through experience gained from the knowledge handed down by craftsmen who were purveyors of the craft. It takes up to eight slivers of wood patiently crafted to make these exquisite veneer panels. The artisans create a design for each Silver Spirit and Silver Spur; no two cars will ever share an identical pattern.
Each piece is mirror-matched to reflect the opposite side as in fine European furniture. The veneers are hand-lacquered and hand-polished to an amber luster that shines like glass and is that strong; a careless guest could stub out a cigarette on it without damage. The quality, fit and finish demonstrates the dedication to quality. This is what sets the Crewe built Rolls-Royce apart from other fine luxury motorcars.
That plush Wilton carpet under foot rivals that of fine homes. It too is crafted for excellence. The Wilton is a style of carpet. This fine 100% wool carpet is created on the Brussels Jacquard loom. These exclusive face-to-face looms weave two carpet textures at a time achieving a plush velvet end result. Only the finest virgin wool is selected for this intricate process. This is another design feature that sets Rolls-Royce motorcars in another league…the Crewe built Rolls-Royce is handcrafted like no other.
The Silver Spur is the formal saloon. It is slightly larger than the Silver Spirit which is 207.8″ long, 74″ wide, and rides upon a long 120.5″ wheelbase. The Silver Spur is 211.8″ long, 74″ wide, and rides upon a longer 124″ wheelbase. The extra 4″ are incorporated into the rear passenger compartment providing more legroom.
It enables communication equipment to be installed to turn the Silver Spur into a rolling boardroom. Being the longer of the two saloons, the Silver Spur may be chauffeur driven for special occasions. It can be your personal limousine. Smooth, silent, and responsive, the Rolls-Royce Silver Spur continued the grand tradition the brand made famous.
1991 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur II UK version
The prodigious power expected of the Spirit of Ecstasy is exemplified with the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur saloons. Under the hood is the potent 6.75 litre 16-valve 412 CID naturally aspirated V8 engine. Its redesigned hardened steel crankshaft runs in five larger main bearings. The engine is constructed with a high silicon content aluminium alloy cylinder block, its aluminium alloy cylinder heads have cast iron wet liners for durability.
New engine mounts provide even quieter operation. It’s equipped with electronic ignition and the US versions have a Bosch K Jetronic continuous fuel injection system with a single Pierburg electric fuel pump. It has a stainless-steel exhaust system and catalytic converter. Fuel injection gives the cars more spirited performance with increased fuel economy. The engine cranks 245 hp @ 4,500 rpm with 540 Nm of peak torque @ 2,500 rpm.
The engine is mated to the GM THM 400 3-speed automatic transmission with torque converter and an electric gear range selector. Beginning the 1992 model year the GM 4L80E 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive replaced the 3-speed version. Overdrive makes the engine more economical; a clutch which locks out the torque converter allows the engine to run at a lower rpm rate.
Take these ultra-luxurious saloons out on the road. They are remarkably smooth, responsive…and silent. Their four-wheel independent suspension offers a superb ride impervious to road conditions. An ultra-sensitive ride height control is designed to keep the cars at the perfect level regardless of load or road imperfections. Power assisted rotary valve rack and pinion steering is light and positive. This highly sophisticated network is designed to guarantee predictable behavior under all driving conditions and is completely imperceptible to noise and vibration.
Four-wheel power assisted disc brakes provide safe, fade-free operation. A dual hydraulic master cylinder is designed to operate as two independent front and rear braking systems. Should one system fail each wheel will still be halted individually. All four wheels have large 11″ diameter discs. The front discs are ventilated for rapid heat dissipation.
The ride was further enhanced beginning the 1990 model year for the Series II saloons. Adaptive damping was introduced. This computer controlled network automatically adjusts the shock absorbers as soft, normal, and firm within 1/100th of a second. The computer monitors speed, throttle position, braking, and acceleration adjusting each shock absorber as necessary.
Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn
The Silver Spirit and Silver Spur are also available as the Rolls-Royce Flying Spur, Silver Dawn, Silver Spur Park Ward limousine, as well as the Bentley Eight and Bentley Mulsanne. These contemporary classics are modestly priced in today’s market offering attractive opportunities for the Rolls-Royce enthusiast. Remember…a Rolls-Royce never becomes a used car – it becomes a classic.
Take into consideration the appreciation potential. The Silver Cloud II was around $15,000 new in the 1960s…and they are priced in today’s market into five and six figures! And…lest we forget the Silver Clouds fashioned into the fabulous Mulliner Park Ward drophead coupés…and the magnificent Rolls-Royce Phantom V and VI handcrafted limousines by James Young, HJ Mulliner and Park Ward.
The Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn is a special edition of the Silver Spur Series IV. It was built from 1994 until 1998. It was available first in the US markets in 1994, then the UK and the rest of the world. Only 237 Silver Dawns were built making it a potential collector’s piece.
The Silver Dawn is based upon the long wheelbase variant of the Silver Spirit. The Silver Seraph wasn’t selling in North American markets very well. Rolls-Royce built a number of Silver Spur Series IV models especially for this market. This was the final revision for the Silver Spirit/Silver Spur production series with the last Silver Spirit built for the 1997 model year. The long wheelbase platform was retained through 1998.
The Silver Dawn has the same rugged stressed-steel monocoque construction with aluminium alloy bonnet, doors, and boot lid as its Silver Spur sister model. It also shares the same underpinnings and running gear. The Silver Dawn rides upon a long 124.5” wheelbase. It is 211.8” in length and 74.3” in width. The Silver Dawn also shared the Silver Spur Series IV body colored integrated front and rear bumpers. It took the eagle-eye to detect the exterior difference between the two models. The only exterior variation was the rear trunk badge.
Electronic Traction Assistance provides stability and optimum traction for the Silver Dawn. Heated rear seats are standard. The Silver Dawn’s cabin uses the same natural grained leather by Connolly Brothers and hand-polished veneers as in all Rolls-Royce saloons. Hand tufted wool carpets with mouton rugs are standard as well for this highly bespoke luxury saloon. All of Silver Spur’s standard equipment is also included on the Silver Dawn.
The Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn is suited for both formal business use with a chauffeur or for the owner/driver who prefers to savor this masterful motorcar for himself. The Silver Dawn combined the latest technology and the luxurious appointments traditionally associated with the brand. Excellence is the norm…integrity is the guiding principle. This supreme achievement in motoring cossets its passengers within an elegance no other motorcar in its league could offer…
The styling of the Silver Dawn is contemporary and aerodynamically efficient. It retains the traditional elegance and poised dignity associated with all Rolls-Royce motorcars. The Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn was positioned to not only continue the undaunted reputation established by its predecessors but to set even higher standards of motoring excellence to be the epitome of luxury.
Effortless V8 power, imperceptible gear changes, and the patented Rolls-Royce ride are combined with exemplary fit & finish to create the Silver Dawn luxury saloon. With a mere 237 built, its exclusivity will result in positive appreciation in its value during the coming years. The Silver Dawn is every inch a Rolls-Royce.
A hydraulic self-leveling system keeps the Silver Dawn at optimum ride height regardless of load. Gas springs supplement the rear coil springs and are sensitive to load. It automatically adjusts the suspension to maintain the superb Rolls-Royce ride quality…as with all Rolls-Royce motorcars. Luxury and elegance are never an after thought with the Spirit of Ecstasy regardless of the model. This is what keeps the Rolls-Royce motorcar pre-eminent in the world of ultra luxury automobiles.
The Silver Spur was also available as the Springfield Edition for the 1996 model year. It was built exclusively for the US markets as a 75th Anniversary tribute to the Springfield, Massachusetts factory when the first Rolls-Royce was hand-built there in 1921; the plant was in operation until 1931.
These exclusive saloons were available in five tu-tone color coordinated combinations. They represent the coachbuilt body styles that were available at the Springfield factory. These reflect the days gone by when a Rolls-Royce motorcar was completely bespoke…the motorized chassis was the only entity delivered to the coachbuilders. A completely customized vehicle reflecting the requisites of its owner was the result.
Only 27 were built making them highly collectible…in fact, only 360 Silver Spur long wheelbase saloons were built for the entire production run in 1996. The Buckingham (black/grey), The Pickwick (black/green), The Canterbury (black/blue), The Mayfair (black/maroon), and the Stratford (cream/white) were the choices for this exclusive 75th Anniversary limited edition.
Signature features apart from the opulent tu-tone exterior finish includes a very special Chesterfield sew-style with hand button tufting for the upholstery, headlining, door armrests and individual leather throw pillows. Heated seats, power adjustable rear seats, and custom handcrafted Madrona wood with cherry cross-banded veneers have patterns unique to each motorcar.
Elegant button tufting unlike any other model…
A 75th Anniversary Madrona wood veneer plaque with inscription is affixed to the front center console. Special Mulliner Park Ward door sill tread plates with “Springfield Edition” alert passengers to the fact this isn’t an “ordinary” Rolls-Royce by all means. The client received an artist’s rendering of the car signed by one of its designers with an inscription which includes the owner’s name, town, city, or state and the car’s delivery date. It came unframed, however; it could have been framed with the same Madrona wood veneer with cherry cross-banding as the interior trim. A Rolls-Royce limited edition makes the special world of Rolls-Royce even more so –
A distinctive closed-in limousine style rear window treatment affords more privacy to rear seat passengers and lends a sophisticated elegance to its refined luxury.
Rolls-Royce is the only true ultra-luxury super saloon that never went through an existential identity crisis. The Spirit of Ecstasy has always been the quintessential status symbol…the absolute pinnacle of opulence…the best motorcar in the world became a legend it its own time. The Silver Spirit and Silver Spur were the latest chapter in success continuing the eloquent Rolls-Royce tradition.
The standard saloon is the Silver Spirit, the Silver Spur is the limited edition long wheelbase saloon suitable to be chauffeured for special occasions. They are both powered by the Rolls-Royce 6.75 litre V8 engine giving each the type of spirited performance that isn’t usually associated with luxury saloons in its class. Their precise fit and finish is due in no small part to the painstaking measures of their exemplary handcrafting at the historic Crewe facility in the UK.
The Silver Spirit and the Silver Spur are contemporary classics within realistic limits. Remember the Silver Cloud started out in the $15,000 to $20,000+ neighborhood for their day…and now they command six figures on the auction block. The Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and Silver Spur await their turn as coveted classics…don’t miss out on the opportunity to own tomorrow’s classics today.
The Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit replaced the highly successful Silver Shadow series. It is designed for the contemporary world in a trim, new style. The Silver Spirit heralds a new era in the history of Rolls-Royce. It’s a modern motorcar with enhanced comfort and convenience and is immediately recognized as a classic design in the Rolls-Royce tradition.
The Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit UK version
The Silver Spirit MK I was built from 1980 to 1989. MK II was built from 1989 until 1993, MK III built from 1994 until 1995, and the MK IV built from 1996 until 1997. The 1997 model year was the finale for the Silver Spirit. The more popular Silver Spur was built until 1999. The clean new look is meant to attract younger buyers. The legend becomes a lifestyle…
Special thanks to Balmoral UK, Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, and Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum, all class acts in the business – cheers from NotoriousLuxury!
The legendary Crewe facility in the UK handcrafted the finest motorcars in the world…it will live on in the hearts of connoisseurs forever. They built the pride of the UK that became the envy of the entire world…
…welcome to Greg’s World
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