Curbside Outtake: 1980’s Rolls Royce Silver Spur Mark I – She’s Seen Better Days

CC readers may remember this tidy mid-60’s Mazda Porter minicar we reviewed some three years ago.  I strolled by the same lot here in Tokyo this past weekend just to see if it was still there – it was.  Unfortunately, it looks like whoever was giving it a wipe down every couple weeks has moved on – and it now has an abandoned car notice on the windshield.  I was really hoping someone would have pulled it out and got it back on the road again.  What really surprised me though was another car that’s taken up residence nearby.

You really can’t get too much farther on the automotive spectrum from the diminutive Porter to this Rolls Royce Silver Spur.  What a shame, this elegant steed has certainly seen better days.

The Silver Spur was the long wheelbase version of the Silver Spirit – they were manufactured in four series (Marks) between 1980 and 1999.  The picture above shows the longer rear door and window.

1987 Silver Spur – Picture found on internet

There was very little change in the exterior throughout the production run, so it’s hard to tell a specific year for this one.  Given the black bumpers, it’s likely a Mark I or II.  I found a picture of a 1987 model with the exact same paint, vinyl roof, and colored hubcaps so I’ll make an educated guess and say it’s a Mark I built between 1980-89.

These Silver Spurs had the spring-loaded retractable “Spirit of Ecstasy” mascot on the front radiator; if it is disturbed, it would retract into the radiator shell.  Current models also have this, but it’s a much more complex electric motor driven system – that’s a $3157 option.   I really wanted to try that, but thought any “hands on” would likely invite a visit from the local gendarme.  Trying to explain to the officers that I’m not a memento thief, just a Curbside Classic contributor would be tough with my limited Japanese.

These Silver Spurs and and Silver Spirits came with a hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, modified with a Girling automatic hydraulic ride height control system and gas-charged shock absorbers.  One can only imagine what it would cost to fix a problem with all that.  Perhaps that’s why it was abandoned here.

Given parts and labor are three times more expensive here in Japan than in the US or Europe, it’s doubtful this Roller will ever see the road again – darn shame…