After spending the past two years in a state of suspended animation, Dan’s Silver Shadow II lands at Colbrook Specialists for a muchneeded health check…
Dan’s Silver Shadow undergoes an appraisal to see what needs doing.
“The good news,” said Colin Ayres, managing director of independent RollsRoyce and Bentley service, sales, repair and restoration centre, Colbrook Specialists ( bit.ly/colbrook), “is all the problems present on your Silver Shadow II are typical of the faults we’re used to seeing on the model. The bad news,” he continued, “is we don’t expect to see them all at the same time on the same car!”
Located close to Peterborough, Colin’s company is regarded as one of the leading East Midlands-based authorities on all things relating to Silver Shadows, meaning no fault or niggle was going to go unnoticed when the firm’s head technician, Richard Meadows, pulled out his clipboard and gave my car an extensive health check after the large barge rolled into the Colbrook workshop. I’ve owned the Silver Mink stunner for four years, but the truth of the matter is the car has been motionless for at least half that time while I’ve been distracted with an ambitious Porsche 944 Turbo restoration project. Sensing the time had come to recommission the ‘ Royce before its impotent state caused serious problems, I instructed my trusted vehicle transportation service provider, Robin Hunter ( bit.ly/robinhunter), to load up his trailer with my land yacht and set sail for Colin’s gaff.
Unfortunately, the car decided to dump its power steering fluid on my driveway before Robin arrived for collection! Perhaps a corroded fluid transfer pipe was to blame? After all, old cars hate sitting still, a condition known to cause rubber bushings, hoses and all manner of other perishables to, erm, perish. “The Silver Shadow II features a power steering fluid cooler located directly behind the imposing front grille,” explained Colin. “This part is missing on your car. A joiner hose is where the cooler should be. It’s as though the original part failed and a previous owner simply linked its inlet and outlet with a short rubber pipe instead of fitting a replacement cooler!” he gasped.
It was this bodge causing the fluid to leak. Not a great start!
Firing up the car also drew attention to its blowing exhaust, a stock-spec mild steel system with a failing downpipe making the 6.75-litre V8 sound more like the beating heart of a muscle car than a silky smooth Shadow. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first order of business is to reinstate the missing cooler and fit a replacement downpipe (I have a donor exhaust which will supply the required parts until I invest in a full stainless system). After these complaints are cured, Colin and Richard can take the car on a test drive to check the operating condition of its engine and transmission.
Before we jump ahead of ourselves, however, there’s the small matter of taking stock of the catalogue of faults Richard recognised when examining the car up close. “Is your notebook big enough to accommodate the list?” laughed Colin. Indeed, Richard was thorough, itemising the ‘need to haves’ alongside the ‘nice to haves’, the former covering everything required to get the car through an MoT, the latter including surprisingly detailed observations, such as the brightness of interior light bulbs.
The most important jobs concern brakes, suspension and steering. The giant anchors have been left redundant for so long they’ve seized, while shock mounts and bushes have dried and deteriorated, resulting in knocking noises over the smallest of bumps. The Bilstein B6 heavy duty damper kit I’ve invested in comes complete with replacement top and bottom mounts, but that’s only a small part of the battle won. Here’s a peek at the faults crying out to be fixed.
1 Unfortunately, SRH40385 (affectionately known as Pandora due to me fearing the complications ahead!) inexplicably dumped her power steering fluid on my driveway. At first glance, I was concerned the escaped oil was transmission juice, but super- stiff steering soon confirmed the lesser of two evils.
2 Shifting a car of this size in and out of a tight driveway without the aid of a functioning power steering system means you don’t need to waste money investing in any weight training kit! Securely loaded atop Robin Hunter’s trailer, the large barge begins her journey to Colbrook Specialists.
3 Pandora landed safely at Colbrook’s Stilton headquarters, but she lost drive immediately after leaving the comfort of Robin’s trailer. Echoing an earlier concern, low- level transmission fluid was impairing the TH400 three- speed automatic’s ability to slip into gear. Topping up with fluid sorted the fault, but leak detection may be required if the problem persists.
4 Richard raised the car in the air in order to begin his extensive examination of the chassis parts. Hoses, pipes and mounts of every description were scrutinised, including those relating to the car’s infamous hydraulic system, a technological marvel controlling brakes and self- levelling suspension.
6 Richard (left) and Colin (right) compare notes. As you can see, the list of faults found extends across multiple pages, but it’s important to note the pair’s findings covered everything from the aforementioned missing power steering oil cooler to the health of the bonnet guide rubbers. If you’re considering the purchase of a Silver Shadow (first or second- gen), we’d recommend commissioning a specialist like Colnbrook or Introcar to carry out an inspection of your prospective purchase before you part with your hard- earned dosh.
5 Caffeine and quality reading material (the latter courtesy of our excellent sister title, Rolls- Royce & Bentley Driver) provided a welcome distraction while we waited in Colbrook Specialists reception area for the results of Colin and Richard’s inspection of the large barge. Nail biting times!