Rolls Royce: Silver Shadow

Rolls Royce Silver ShadowHow to describe a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow? It's elegant, for one thing. It's distinguished, imperious, enduring too. In the truest sense of word, it is a classic. And a very affordable one at that. Affordability certainly isn't the most glamorous of words, nor one you might ever associate with a Royce, but nowadays, you can pick up a fully-functioning Silver Shadow for less than £10,000. 

Or in other words, less than it costs to buy a nearly new Citroen or Toyota or Ford. As facts go, that's about as surprising as the one about the painful science behind how ducks mate with one another. If you don't know already, don't google it. Certainly not at work, anyway. 

But back to the Royce, and a spot of good fortune on our part. A very good friend of Farer - a man who knows cars like Alistair Cook knows Test Match batting - is the proud owner of just such a Silver Shadow. It's a 1980 model, one of the last ever built, in fact. We took it out for a spin around Hampshire just recently.

Everything about the Silver Shadow is built to last. Every detail is considered. There is a pleasing weight to the door as it clunks shut. The seats, the carpet, the dashboard, the steering wheel - each are more than 30 years old, but they feel classic, lived-in, permanent, rather than dated.

And as for the engine? It's a beast, but not a loud, ostentatious one. Instead, it purrs away, imposing but undemonstrative, much like the car itself.

As we cruised around leafy Hampshire we experienced first-hand just how quickly these historic cars - even aged second-hand ones - can still turn heads. Rolls Royce is name redolent of prestige and heritage, but in the wild it still stands out among its more contemporary competitors. It is a special car.

At the end of the day, we reluctantly handed back the keys. We asked our lucky friend if he was in the mood to sell. He said no. And after a few hours in the company of his beautiful - and theoretically very affordable car - we didn't expect him to say anything else. We'll keep asking, mind you. If you know anyone in an equally enviable position to our well-driven chum, we suggest you do likewise.