THE ULTIMATE IN DEPRECIATION
Want to con some rubes into thinking you're rich? This is the car for you!
This is a 1990/1991 or thereabouts Rolls Royce Silver Spur II in some form of Black. When you think of that fabled RR marquee you probably think of the highest of English society driving hand built unparalleled luxury machines. Way back when you would've been right.
This slab represents the highest in luxury filtered through 1990 lenses. Unlike the storied classics of yesteryear like the Silver Ghost, this is a big and heavy 4 door car with a fancy grill.
Now that I've thoroughly panned it let me backpedal a bit. Even these cars were still hand built for the most part. Legend has it that each body panel has the craftsmans name etched somewhere on the hidden side so that if there is ever a defect it can be traced. The grill, remarkably, is built by hand with no measuring tools! One person takes an entire day to make each grill followed by 5 hours of polishing.
As with most expensive and/or rare cars the components are worth much more than the entire vehicle. These wheels run into the thousands apiece to replace.
The Silver Spur II was introduced in 1989 with an improved suspension that was fully automatic that would level each wheel independently. It is also considered a long wheelbase model although the true limousines were much longer.
The paint and glass on this ride look great. Before these leave the factory the finish is polished relentlessly all the way past jewelers grit to using crushed oats (you can't make this up!). The windows are polished to optical specs so that they will be as clear as a nice pair of eyeglasses.
I guess I dis this era so ruthlessly because it fails to distinguish itself from not only other luxury cars, but economy cars of the day. Tell me these taillights don't look like an '89 Toyota Cressida.
The first edition of the Silver Spur was introduced in 1980. Known in Europe as the Silver Spirit, this was the first new design for the company in quite a while.
The original Rolls Royce Ltd company went out of business in 1971 and was nationalized as a result. As the most famous British company it was deemed essential to keep it around. In 1980 the RR company was sold by the government to Vickers; another British firm that had been 75% nationalized previously. Volkswagen then owned it from 1998 to 2003, when a new Rolls Royce Motors division of BMW took full ownership.
I suppose this completely boxy look is in tune with its era.
Inside is where you start to feel you're in a luxury car. Massive, well constructed seats support you. Walnut trays fold down for your Grey Poupon. The little fixtures such as switches and handles are all made from real metal polished to a brilliant shine.
I drove a brand-new Bentley back in 1996 when I was detailing cars in Providence. The interior was identical to this. The seating position was tall, and the overall feel was that everything was solid. That car, while fast, seemed rooted to the ground firmly. This shouldn't be too surprising as they weigh over 5,000lbs.
The steering wheel looks crummy to me though. Original price for this ride was a cool $154,700. Give me a nice wooden steering wheel for crying out loud!
These days you can buy this car in this condition for under $15,000. That's the rub with uber-luxury cars; they depreciate faster than anything but still require ungodly amounts of money to keep them up to spec. It's not uncommon for used luxury cars to be advertised with lines like "just completed $10,000 service, asking $20,000".
This smug punk doesn't care! He's blissfully ignorant of the fact that any Porsche of the era is worth more than twice what this is.
One last look at the grill with the famous Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament.
Now we'll move onto some terrible nighttime pics that I have to include because what are the chances that 2 Rolls Royces of the same era were parked withing 10 blocks of each other in Park Slope?
This tarted up ballerina is a Rolls Royce Corniche II from the same late-'80s/early '90s era as the one above. Look at this thing all ready for the prom!
I simply cannot hate on this Rolls as much as the Silver Spur. For one thing this retain the classic look of the original 1966 Corniche from the 4 round headlights to the soft curves of the body. Another reason is that it's a convertible, and if you're driving a convertible Rolls you're doing as well as Richard Dreyfus in Down and Out in Beverly Hills!
This car is almost identical in every way to the Bentley Continental, right down to the wheels. However in this era Bentley was experimenting with Turbos and other performance minded gear.
I was taking these pics when a voice from above yelled out "DO YOU LIKE IT?"
I looked up and saw some dude in a suit leaning out of the 2nd floor window. I did what I always do in this instance which is guess the year. 1989 was correct which settled the guy down. He explained that they just had a daughter, hence the pink decorations.
I've had people coming up ready to scream and yell but knowing the year and some details diffuses everything (at least so far). Some people do NOT want their car photographed!
This was also similar to the car George Lazenby, in his only roll as James Bond, was being driven away at gunpoint in in Her Majesty's Secret Service. They start off with the top down but proceed to put it up while driving which always blew my mind! How did the top not rip off?
Well there we have it; one boring Rolls that looks like a Ford LTD and another nicer one reminiscent of a Checker Cab (at least in the front). If you absolutely hate money and want to get rid of it as soon as possible I recommend both. These would also be good for securing the confidence of someone you're trying to swindle. Either way you can blame Margaret Thatcher if they're not your cup of tea.