This Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was the first car Michael Caine ever bought for himself. Apparently he strolled into the Jack Barclay showroom in London with a shopping list that read “milk, bread, newspaper, cigarettes, and a Rolls-Royce.” Due to his disheveled appearance, he was quickly escorted out.
Undeterred by this turn of events and possessed by that unique strain of stubbornness that often besets hungover young men, he marched himself over to the H.A. Fox Rolls-Royce dealership and bought the 1968 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow they had on the showroom floor. His first order of business was to drive past the first dealership to flash them a wry smile and the two finger salute.
Fast Facts – The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
- The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was a luxury car produced by Rolls-Royce Motors from 1965 to 1980. It was the first model to feature a unitary chassis, a significant departure from the more traditional body-on-frame construction design that had been used previously.
- The Silver Shadow was designed to appeal to a wider, younger audience and was equipped with modern features such as air conditioning, power steering, and disc brakes. It was also lighter and more fuel-efficient than its predecessors, making it more practical for everyday use.
- The model was offered in several body styles, including a four-door saloon, two-door coupe, and two-door convertible. There were also a number of custom coachbuilt examples offered.
- It was initially powered by a 6.2 liter V8 which was paired with a GM-sourced 3-speed Turbo Hydramatic automatic transmission. From 1970 onwards power was provided by a more powerful 6.75 liter version of the same engine.
- Over the years, the Silver Shadow underwent several upgrades and improvements, including a facelift in 1977 and the introduction of the Silver Shadow II in 1979, which featured a new hydraulic self-leveling suspension system, improved sound insulation, and a slew of other updates.
Michael Caine And The Rolls-Royce
There are few people in the world who can honestly say they bought a Rolls-Royce as their first car. Fewer still who can say they bought it with money they earned themselves, and Michael Caine is one of them.
By 1968 Michael Caine had become a household name on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to his critically acclaimed roles in Zulu (1964), Alfie (1966), and Gambit (1966).
At the age of 35 and without a driver’s license or a car of his own Caine decided it was time to buy a vehicle, and there must have seemed as though there was only one logical choice for a debonair self-made millionaire movie star – a Rolls-Royce.
The story about how he acquired the car was covered up in the first two paragraphs, it’s now become the stuff of legend in automotive circles. Rather than driving the car himself with “L” plates dangling from the front and rear he hired a chauffeur for the driving duties – Caine in his Rolls became a common sight around the streets of Mayfair in London where he had an apartment at the time.
The car was featured extensively in the 1969 documentary Candid Caine: A Self-Portrait of Michael Caine. The full documentary is embedded below if you’d like to see it, it includes a memorable closing scene with Caine walking through his old neighborhood with his chauffeur in the Rolls trailing along behind him.
Above Video: This is the 45 minute full length documentary “Candid Caine: A Self-Portrait of Michael Caine” by London Weekend Television, it was filmed in 1969 and it includes ample footage of him with his beloved Rolls-Royce.
One of Caine’s favorite London restaurants at the time was the famous Gasworks owned and operated by Jack Leach. Other well-known patrons included HRH Princess Margaret, the Kray Twins, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the Rolling Stones, and the Profumo set.
It would be the restauranteur Jack Leach who would eventually buy the Rolls from Caine, he then kept it for decades until his death in 2013 – possibly an indication of how much sentimental value it held for him.
The Ex-Michael Caine Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
This car is now for sale through H&H Classics, it had been put into storage following the death of Jack Leach before being bought by the current owner and subjected to a significant restoration including a repaint in its original color.
The total bill for the restoration is thought to exceed £100,000 and the car is now due to be offered for sale on the 15th of March at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
The price guide is £100,000 – £150,000 which works out to approximately $136,000 to $204,000 USD.
If you’d like to read more about the car or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of H&H Classics
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.