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Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and Silver Spur (1980 - 1995)

Last updated 16 August 2014


Buying Guide


1980s plutocrat's car. Like driving along in a mobile gentlemans' club. Poshest colour is a dark browny green. Gradually improved over the years with injection and ABS in October 1986, automatic ride control in 1987, four- rather than three-speed autobox in September 1991. Cats came in during June 1990, but were initially a no-cost option. Company taken over by VW in spring 1998 and then sold to BMW. VW kept the Crewe factory to build Bentleys. BMW built a new factory at Goodwood and started production of the stunning new Phantom in 2003.


  • Stink of cigar smoke clings to the headlining. 9 mpg in town. Hit hard by engine-size carbon dioxide-based annual taxation and city congestion charges.
  • Resentful drivers don't let you out of side roads, particularly during recessions.
  • Apt to get vandalised with rusty nails or keys while parked.
  • White or cream tells the public it's a wedding hire car, or has been.
  • Daft old defensive RR habit of not giving power outputs. (1993 Silver Spur had 226 bhp and 340 ft lb torque; 1994 Flying Spur turbo had 360 bhp and 552 ft lb torque.)
  • 1980/81 models had an interconnected brake and suspension self-levelling system that is a nightmare to fix.


  • Must have a proper Rolls Royce dealer or Rolls Royce specialist history.
  • The Cosworth-built engine is an old fashioned pushrod V8, so you don't want to hear ticking tappets or see any blue smoke from the exhaust pipe.
  • Make sure the suspension is not unduly wallowy.
  • Check expensive tyres for tread depth and uneven wear.
  • Make sure aircon blows cold. May not have taken well to regassing with CFC-free refrigerant.
  • Good Rolls Royces have a wonderful patina and aura about them. Bad ones make you feel uneasy.
  • Best to have the car inspected by a different Rolls Royce specialist from the one who's selling it.


  • 1997: 29 left-hand drive cars found to have potentially defective braking system. 18/4/2001: (Corniche) fuel vapour could escape from leak detection pump, collect in body cavity and ignite. Fuel tank venting system to be modified.


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