Silver Cloud or Silver Shadow?

Last week we proposed the damnation of the garage – not eternal, but close – in the form of a pair of Middle Malaise-era turbocharged Detroit ponies. Restoring a second-generation Fox Mustang or GM F-body would be difficult, no doubt, and there would be a whiff of sulfur in the whole ordeal. . . but when you were done, you would have still have a fairly common car, suitable for a commonuh. You have to classifymy self-inflicted friend Hell Project, and for that reason you to have to nothing less than a real Rolls-Royce restaurant.

You could go drop 75G on a nice vintage example, but you might have noticed that the global economy is completely watered down these days. Who has that kind of money for a project car? No, what we are talking about here is a cheap Project Roller, say with an entry price of less than three thousand dollars. Impossible, you say? Stand back as the red cast iron doors of Project Car Hell swing open for you, revealing your low-cost Rolls-Royce!

The coach of choice for the decadent A-list

The Silver Shadow was the first monocoque Rolls-Royce, and it featured Citroën-licensed hydropneumatic suspension, disc brakes and independent rear suspension (plus a GM transmission, but we don’t need to discuss the sordid details). If you were a truly decadent rock star in the mid-1970s, it goes without saying that you got your illicit pharmaceuticals while being driven around in a Silver Shadow. Imagine the glory of going to work at home! This dream only seems extremely remote, because we found you this 1971 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow (go here if the listing disappears) in Southern California for – better sit down for it –$3,000. That’s what you’d pay for an Infiniti J30 beaten up with red plastic tape for a taillight lens!

Because the seller must be a busy man or woman, there just wasn’t time to take proper photos of the car – hey, who has time turn the 1997-vintage cell phone 90 degree camera? It appears that one set of photos is a screenshot of an earlier Craigslist ad, in some sort of meta-Craigslistian obscuring tactic, and so the only object clearly visible in all of the photos is the air conditioning compressor (from GM origin).

No problem, though! This is a more or less complete vintage Rolls-Royce. According to the seller: “The previous owner in Arizona claimed the car ran but sat for a long time, so the carbs need to be rebuilt.” So many things can be read in this story! The former owner of Arizona (this may mean that the car is rust-free!). The vague assertion that the car has been driven before (maybe it will work again!). The mind-blowing idea that a simple carburetor rebuild will make everything work fine (a $14.99 rebuild kit from AutoZone is all you’ll need!). So many magical thoughts, but such a magical car – how hard could that be?

"I will keep her forever," threatens the seller of this 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud

This Silver Shadow would make you feel quite lively, if when you got it in working order, but that’s a bit too much modern for the true Rolls enthusiast. Why not step back a decade and find yourself the kind of car from which Britain’s super-rich laughed at the starving, food-rationed post-war masses? I am of course talking about the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. You don’t see many Silver Cloud Is on the road these days, mainly because they are so expensive. . . so how could you already find one for your personal Hell Project? Easy! This 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud in Michigan (go here if the listing disappears) has a “that can’t be true” asking price of just $2,850.

Seller features that special combination of badass negotiator and desperate seller that we see so often with unsaleable unique collectible cars on Craigslist, all in this special Craigslist creole with its own spelling and punctuation system. We read, “if I can’t find her a good home before Christmas, I’ll keep her forever”, the potency of which is somewhat toned down by “THE WIFE SAID IT HAS TO GO NOW!!!” You know a salesperson is getting serious when they include the “MY LOSS YOUR GAIN” statement, and that’s exactly what we have here.

So what do we have here? Is there a motor? Maybe, maybe not. And the transmission? Who can say? The absence of rust on the floor is reassuring, as is the “SOLID BODY”, although a lot of work still sometimes squeezes between the cracks of statements like that. All exterior photos show the left side only, and there is a different colored front right fender barely visible in one of the shots. What is happening here? And the interior? So many questions. . . but you don’t need to ask any of them. No, just buy this fine example of British motoring heritage and spend decades a few weekends to restore it to showroom condition.

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