Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

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Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit
Rolls-Royce .jpg
ManufacturerRolls-Royce Motors
Also called
  • Silver Spur
  • Flying Spur
  • Silver Dawn
Production1980–1997 (Silver Spirit)
1980–2000 (Silver Spur)[1]
AssemblyUnited Kingdom: Crewe, Cheshire, England
DesignerFritz Feller (1974)[2]
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size luxury car
Body style4-door saloon
LayoutFR layout
SuccessorRolls-Royce Silver Seraph

The Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit is a full-size luxury car produced by Rolls-Royce Motors, in Crewe, England, from 1980 to 1997. It was the first model in the SZ series. The Silver Spur is a long-wheelbase version of the Silver Spirit, produced from 1980 to 2000.[1] It was the first car to feature a retractable Spirit of Ecstasy. The spring-loaded mascot sank into the radiator shell if dislodged from its position.

Mark I[edit]

Mark I
1982 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur US model, front left (Lime Rock).jpg
Also calledSilver Spirit
Silver Spur
Body and chassis
RelatedBentley Mulsanne
Bentley Turbo R
Bentley Mulsanne Turbo
Engine6.75 L Rolls-Royce L410 V8
Transmission3-speed GM THM400 automatic

The Silver Spirit was introduced by Rolls-Royce in 1980 as the first of a new generation of company models. It formed the basis for the Flying Spur, Silver Dawn, Touring Limousine, Park Ward, and Bentley Mulsanne/Eight series. The Spirit/Spur carried over the basic design of the Silver Shadow, its 6.75 L L410 V8 engine and GM-sourced THM400 3-speed automatic gearbox, and similarly styled unitary bodywork manufactured at Pressed Steel. The Spur/Spirit continued the Silver Shadow's emphasis on ride quality by utilizing its hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, modified with Girling automatic hydraulic ride height control system and gas-charged shock absorbers. Sealed beam headlamps were fitted in the United States due to longstanding regulations, while more lax European laws allowed for the fitment of more modern composite units.

Mark II[edit]

Mark II
1990 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur II (federalized), Lime Rock.jpg
Rolls-Royce Silver Spur II (US)
Also calledSilver Spirit II
Silver Spur II
Body and chassis
Engine6.75 L Rolls-Royce L410I V8
  • 3-speed GM THM400 automatic (1989-Winter 1991)
  • 4-speed GM 4L80E automatic (Winter 1991-)
Wheelbase3,061 mm (120.5 in) (Silver Spirit)
3,162 mm (124.5 in) (Silver Spur)
Length5,278 mm (207.8 in) (Silver Spirit)
5,380 mm (211.8 in) (Silver Spur)
Width1,887 mm (74.3 in)
Height1,486 mm (58.5 in)

The Silver Spirit II and Silver Spur II were refinements of the original models, introduced at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show. Suspension design saw the most change, with "Automatic Ride Control" introduced, a fully automatic system that adjusted dampers at all four wheels in real time.[3] Other updates included the adoption of ABS and fuel injection as standard for all models and markets. The last Mark I Silver Spirit/Spur was chassis no KCH27798, with Mark II cars starting with 29001. The fuel injection system was now Bosch's MK-Motronic.

Originally retaining the three-speed Turbo Hydramatic GM400 transmission from earlier Spirits/Spurs,[4] a four-speed unit (the GM 4L80E) was introduced in the winter of 1991.[3] The size of the petrol tank was also increased, up to 107 L (24 imp gal), meaning that the car's range was now up to well over 500 km (311 mi).[5]

Exterior and interior changes were minimal, with a considerably smaller steering wheel and two additional ventilation outlets added to the fascia mildly modernising the look up front.

Mark III[edit]

Mark III
1994 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur III (US), front left side.jpg
Also calledSilver Spirit III
Silver Spur III
Flying Spur
Silver Dawn
Body and chassis
RelatedBentley Brooklands
Bentley Turbo RT
Bentley Turbo S
Engine6.75 L Rolls-Royce L410 V8
Transmission4-speed GM 4L80E automatic
Wheelbase3,061 mm (120.5 in) (Spirit)
3,162 mm (124.5 in) (Spur)
3,772 mm (148.5 in) (Touring Limousine)
Length5,268 mm (207.4 in) (Silver Spirit)
5,370 mm (211.4 in) (Flying Spur)
5,380 mm (211.8 in) (Silver Spur)
5,979 mm (235.4 in) (Touring Limousine)
Width1,887 mm (74.3 in)
(w/mirrors: 2,009 mm (79.1 in))
Height1,486 mm (58.5 in) (Spirit/Spur/Dawn)
1,534 mm (60.4 in) (Touring Limousine)

The Silver Spirit III and Silver Spur III were introduced in 1993, featuring engine improvements and some cosmetic updates. A new design of intake manifold and cylinder heads increased power output. The parameters of the semi-active suspension system were modified so that shock absorbers would default into "soft" ride mode when they wore out (rather than "hard" in the previous Mark II, noticeably impacting ride quality). Dual airbags were introduced inside, along with independent adjustment of the rear seats.

Flying Spur[edit]

The 1994–1995 Flying Spur was a turbocharged, higher performance version of the Silver Spur III. 134 cars were produced.

Silver Dawn[edit]

The Silver Dawn is a special edition of the Silver Spur III with several additional options, such as Electronic Traction Assistance System and rear seat heaters. The radiator height is reduced by 51 mm (2 in) and the size of the Spirit of Ecstasy was reduced by 20 percent. The new front was later inherited by the Mark IV series. This model appeared one year earlier on the American market before becoming available to the rest of the world.[6]

Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn (US)

Mark IV[edit]

Mark IV
1999 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur, fL, Lime Rock.jpg
Also calledNew Silver Spirit
New Silver Spur
Silver Spirit
Silver Spur
Silver Spirit IV
Silver Spur IV
Park Ward
Body and chassis
RelatedBentley Brooklands
Bentley Turbo RT
Engine6.75 L Rolls-Royce L410 V8
Transmission4-speed automatic
Wheelbase3,162 mm (124.5 in)
3,772 mm (148.5 in) (Silver Spur Touring Limousine)
Length5,395 mm (212.4 in) (Silver Spur)
5,370 mm (211.4 in) (Silver Spur)
Width1,887 mm (74.3 in) (w/mirrors: 2,111 mm (83.1 in))
Height1,486 mm (58.5 in)

Designed in the autumn of 1992, the New Silver Spirit/New Silver Spur was the final revision of the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur, introduced late in 1995 as a 1996-year model.

A marketing decision had been made that the cars should not get a "series IV" designation because the number four is a homonym for death in some Far Eastern languages.[1]

1996 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur
‘96 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn front

Major changes included the introduction of a Garrett turbocharger on all models and the replacement of the previous Bosch engine management systems with one by Zytec. Also new were updated integrated front and rear bumpers and sixteen-inch wheels. As of 1997, the long wheelbase became standard, with limousine models offered in extra-long only. Inside, a wooden column running down the centre of the dashboard was added.

Silver Spirit production ended during the 1997 model year , although vehicles continued to be produced through 2000[1] to use up Silver Spirit bodies and parts remaining in stock.

Park Ward Limousine[edit]

The Rolls-Royce Park Ward Limousine is a limited edition Silver Spur/Spirit mark IV with a 610-millimetre (24 in) extended wheelbase and a 51 mm (2 in) taller roof. The Park Ward replaced the Silver Spur/Spirit Touring Limousine. In the middle of the 1998 model year the name was changed to Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Park Ward. The model nomenclature on the badge on the rear of the car says Park Ward. Standard equipment on this model included a bar cabinet with crystal decanters and goblets, intercom, an electrically operated division and a backseat sunroof.

The Rolls-Royce Park Ward Limousine should not be confused with succeeding stretched Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph Park Ward, which was based on the car that replaced the Silver Spirit and was available from 2000–2002.

Touring limousines[edit]

Rolls-Royce touring limousines were built to a Robert Jankel design[7] in cooperation with coach builder Mulliner Park Ward, London.

The first Silver Spur Limousine was produced in 1982. 16 cars had the 910 mm (36 in) extended wheelbase, and 84 cars with 1,100 mm (42 in) extended wheelbase were produced in 1984 and later. One car had a 360 mm (14 in) wheelbase extension. These cars were extended at the B-pillar, between the front and rear doors.

From 1991 on, 99 units of the Touring Limousine with 610 mm (24 in) wheelbase extension were produced. The car was lengthened at the C-pillar with an opera window added. Like these earlier models, most of the cars had fold-down occasional seats in the rear passenger area.

The Park Ward Limousine was the last one to be officially extended (610 mm or 24 in, again at the C-pillar) with 70 vehicles produced from 1996 to 1999.


Years are the model years based on the VIN (not the years of manufacturing).[8]

Mark I[edit]

  • 1980–1989 Silver Spirit: 8126
  • 1980–1989 Silver Spur: 6240
    • 1985 Silver Spur Centenary: 26
    • 1982–1985 Silver Spur Extended 910 mm (36 in): 16
    • 1984 Silver Spur Extended 360 mm (14 in): 1
    • 1984–1988 Silver Spur Extended 1,100 mm (42 in): 84

Mark II[edit]

  • 1989–1993 Silver Spirit II: 1152
  • 1990–1993 Silver Spur II: 1658
    • 1990–1991 Mulliner Spur: 71
    • 1992–1993 Silver Spur II Touring Limousine: 56

Mark III[edit]

  • 1994–1995 Silver Spirit III: 234
  • 1994–1995 Silver Spur III: 465
    • 1994–1995 Silver Spur III Touring Limousine: 36
    • 1995 Flying Spur: 134
    • 1995–1998 Silver Dawn: 237
    • 1996, 1998 Silver Spur Touring Limousine: 9

Mark IV[edit]

  • 1996–1997 New Silver Spirit: 145
  • 1996–2000 New Silver Spur: 802
    • 1996–1999 Park Ward Limousine: 49
    • 1997–1998 Touring Limousine Extended 1,200 mm (48 in): 3
    • 1997–1999 Silver Spur Division: 38
    • 1998 Silver Spur Non-Division: 20


  1. ^ a b c d Rijkers, Marinus. "Rolls-Royce Silver Spur 1996 - 2000". Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  2. ^ Bobbitt, Malcolm (2005). R-R Silver Spirit 2nd Edition: Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit & Silver Spur ... - Malcolm Bobbitt - Google Boeken. ISBN 9781904788751. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (5 March 1992). Automobil Revue 1992 (in German and French). Vol. 87. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 501. ISBN 3-444-00539-3.
  4. ^ Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (8 March 1990). Automobil Revue 1990 (in German and French). Vol. 85. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 539. ISBN 3-444-00495-8.
  5. ^ Bladon, Stuart (April 1993). "First Class Travel". New Zealand Car. Auckland, New Zealand: Accent Publishing Cnr. 7 (6): 44. ISSN 0113-0196.
  6. ^ "Car Design Consultancy". SHADO. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  7. ^ Rolls-Royce Touring Limousine
  8. ^ Rijkers, Marinus. "The Silver Spirit models". Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit. Retrieved 27 May 2013.

External links[edit]