Perhaps barn-find is stretching it a little bit. It seems anything left unattended for 15 minutes nowadays is considered a barn find so if we’re being pedantic it was found at the back of a spray booth on an industrial unit in Leicester, hibernating behind a lorry, covered in a thin veneer of muck but looking as glorious as the day it was parked up years ago by a nice chap called Rich. Not me. Another Rich. I only partially unraveled the story of how it got there but it involves a bad debt, an auction, and a double decker bus. So, that’s how it got here, but what is it?

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It’s a 1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II and under the overspray is Athenian Blue paint. It’s complete with all the normal paperwork you’d expect of such a classic car including documents inviting the driver (not the owner, these were Chauffeured back then) to 3 day training event to learn how to drive, service and operate with the car. There’s a wiring diagram for the radio, an untouched warranty booklet and a wad of bills reflecting cherished ownership in the car’s early years. Then comes the unusual bit. There are 3 photographs showing the car, stickered and dusty, taken in a desert. This isn’t Leicester. After a sedate and respectable period of ownership someone bought it and did something quite inspired/insane [delete as applicable].

There is a list of work done in the paperwork; The fixtures and fitting were binned to save 1/3 of a ton of weight (!) The 6.75 litre V8 was rebuilt, balanced and bored and the gearbox uprated. Hydraulic suspension was fitted to give it an extra 6” of ground clearance and a roll cage, sand ladders, safe and fire extinguishers added. The anti-hijack system was fitted for driving through the townships of Johannesburg but is just as useful in Leicester. There are no rear seats and a pair of Recaros for the driver and navigator. Strapped to the inside of a door is a trenching tool. There’s an enlarged air-conditioning unit to accommodate bottles of beer and Brantz rally clocks. Why? The stickers and plates tell us that the car competed in the London to Cape Town rally. Isn’t doing this to a Shadow II a bit Kalahari-kari?*

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I have no idea why someone decided to build this car but it is our kind of lunacy. There are service station stickers from Botswana and Namibia but no record of how it performed on the rally nor where it finished. It starts and runs but has been off the road for quite some time. You, like me, might be wondering what it is worth. It apparently had £80,000’s worth of preparation, ripping out all the bits that would make it appeal to the usual classic RR buyer and adding features that make it appeal to the likes of us – such as Saharan grime, Cibies and a dent from an Antelope’s hoof. It’s very creation upset the RR owners club back in the day, apparently. Who would want such a Rolls Royce? We’re in negotiations with the owner…

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*Kalahari, desert, Hara-kari, suicide, Kalahari-kari, geddit? Oh forget it.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich's drivel regularly appears in Practical Performance Car and GT Porsche magazines. He has also written for Classic & Sportscar, MogMag, Classic Performance and Retro, Banzai, Evo, and Modern Mini. He also did a book no-one bought. His hungover fizzog also often appears on CBS’s Carfection channel enthusing about historic motoring. Le Mans winner Derek Bell once refused to get in Rich's Morgan Three Wheeler with him at the wheel. Currently amongst the detritus in his garage is a Porsche 968 Sport, MK1 MX-5, Sinclair C5 and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike which he loves.

3 Responses

  1. Paul Fitzpatrick

    BUY IT! Then you and I can doubly upset people with a track Bentley and a rally Rolls!!
    The BDC would like it. But turning up at a RREC event might start WW3. Got to be done! Regards Paul

    Reply

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