" BRITISH STUDIOS FORGOTTEN ROLLS-ROYCE "
and my dream came true...by Pascal LIGER
Here is the story of the most filmed individual Rolls-Royce motor car ever, which was forgotten during 30 years. If you were born in the sixties or the seventies, you probably saw it many times.......
In 2008, it belonged to a limousine company who used it for weddings. I guess the owner and none of the several previous ones didn't know that so many famous people travelled in it.
The first time I saw a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, it was probably on television, I felt something I cannot describe. It was an emotion.
When I was 13 or 14, I used to spend hours watching tv series, specially on Saturday afternoons.
I was taken to the Paris Motor Show by my father. We use to live nearby.
I can remember staring at these cars on the Rolls-Royce/Bentley stand. I was enthralled and stayed at the stand a long time while my father was walking round the show. For 35 years it was my ambition to own such a car, a "Silver Shadow".
In 2012 I thought my time had come. I searched many websites but decided to go to England to find one where there would be a bigger and better choice than in France where I live. In July 2012 I went to a garage in Kent to view a grey Silver Shadow (early version) I had seen advertised. I arrived there and saw for the first time in my life 50 Rolls-Royce cars !!!
It was fabulous. I felt like a young boy in a toy shop.
I had the choice of 4 cars which I scrutinized carefully but my choice was this 1967 silver grey car, the only early version available. During the first 2 years of production, Rolls-Royce made only 3 or 4 cars per day. 4141 cars were produced with this " Chippendale Dashboard ".
I asked the garage owner, questions about this car's history but he knew little about it. He could see that the mileage was correct compared to the old MOT's that he had and that the previous owner had a limousine company in Portsmouth, and used the car for weddings in the area.
I proudly drove the car back to France on the Portsmouth to St Malo Ferry.
I enrolled in the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts'Club and asked them if they could give me information about this particular car. (by the way they have an incredible archive department ! I gave them the chassis number and a few days later a file arrived containing photocopies of invoices dating from the delivery date in October 1967 to the Rolls-Royce dealer until the end of the guarantee period (15 years later).
These cars were guaranteed for 50,000 miles.
I could see that the car was delivered to Robert B. MASSEY 's garage in Market Weighton ( East Yorkshire ). This car was used as a demonstration model until March 1968 and sold to James Harrison's building company in Edinburgh.
This file also contained a black and white picture of the car ( see 1st page ) with an insurance paper mentioning the cost of some repairs on which was written “Insured by MGM British Studios”. I didn't even know that MGM had studios in the UK, but I've been in touch with them since.
This information was the beginning of my quest to find out more about the car.
I knew that the first registration number was MWF 435F and then in the mid 70's it was changed to OPH2. Of course it has changed several times since. If you look closely at the front, you will notice the side-light on the wings. They are not originals. They were fitted later to make the car look newer. Rolls-Royce fitted those only from 1971, I think...( from 1966 to 1980, the factory made 2000 modifications on this model ! )
In the following weeks I discovered, that from September 1968, the car was owned by KINGSBURY MOTORS a company which hired out, action vehicles for cinema and TV productions : police cars, army cars, hearses, all types of cars. They were big in the 60’s. They owned John Steed's 4.5 litre Bentley, the WHO 5 spaceship car used in “Dr Who”, the delivery van from “Dad's Army” , a gleaming Old English white Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III ( chassis no. SJR477 ) which was the star of " One deadly owner "(Brian Clemens Thriller TV series) and a black Rolls-Royce 20/25 that was used in " To the manor born " etc. This company was based on Kingsbury Road, LONDON NW9. I think they closed at the end of 1982. The car was then sold to QUALITY CARS Garage in Exmouth ( Devon ).
You will notice that side-lights were fitted on this car, but much later in 1977, probably to make it look newer. Side-lights were not fitted in 1967 at the factory.
You might see this particular car in an old movie or tv series.
Please let me know and use the contact page.
Updated list of films and tv series where this car appeared :
1968 : THE AVENGERS season 6 with Patrick Macnee and Linda Thorson
Episodes : “I wish you were here”.
1968 : THE AVENGERS season 6 with Patrick Macnee and Linda Thorson, Robert Harris and Veronica Strong
" Love all "
1969: MY LOVER MY SON - a film by John Newland with Donald Houston, Romy Schneider and Dennis Waterman filmed at the MGM British Studios where the car had the accident which I mentioned when I found the insurance papers. If you see this film, you will see the collision.
1969: GALTON & SIMPSON COMEDY - Episode " The Suit " with Leslie Phillips and Jenny Linden. Car driven by Leslie Phillips.
1970/71- SHIRLEY'S WORLD
Episode: A mother's touch, with Shirley MacLaine.
1971 - THE PERSUADERS, Episode: “That's me over there”
with Roger Moore, Tony Curtis and Geoffrey Keen.
1971 : DR WHO - Episode "Day of the Daleks"
1972 : ENDLESS NIGHT - a film directed by Sidney Gilliat with Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, George Sanders, Britt Ekland, Lois Maxwell
1973 – SPECIAL BRANCH with George Sewell and Roger Rowland. Season 3 Episode 11
" You won't remember me. "
1973 - THRILLER by Brian Clemens - Episode " Spell of evil " with Diane Cilento, Jennifer Daniel
1973 - SOME MOTHERS DO ' AVE 'EM - Episode " George's house " with Michael Crawford, Michele Dotrice.
1973 - SOME MOTHERS DO ' AVE 'EM - Episode " The baby arrives " with Michael Crawford.
1974 – THRILLER by Brian Clemens– Episode “Sign it death“ with Patrick Allen
1977- THE PROFESSIONALS series 1, Episode " Where the Jungle Ends ".
1977- THE SQUEEZE - Film directed by Michael Apted with Stacy Keach, David Hemmings, Edward Fox.
Car driven by Stephen Boyd, his last film.
1978 – RETURN OF THE SAINT – Episode " The brave Goose " - with Ian OGILVY
1979 - DR JEKYLL LIKES THEM HOT - Italian film directed by Steno with Paolo Villaggio and Edwige Fenech
1979-THE PROFESSIONALS series 4, Episode "Acorn Syndrome".
1979 - MINDER, Season 1 - Episode 1, "Gunfight at the ok Laundrette" car driven by Dave King.
1979- SHOESTRING Season 1, Episode 4 "An Uncertain Circle". With Trevor EVE.
1979- THE PROFESSIONALS, Episode " Week-End in the Country ".
1979- MURPHY'S STROKE - with Pierce BROSNAN, Niall TOIBIN, Tony DOYLE -
1980 - THE PROFESSIONALS series 4, Episode: Blood Sports.
1980 - MINDER Season 3, Episode "Dream House". With George COLE and Dennis WATERMAN
1980- SUNDAY LOVERS, a film directed by Bryan Forbes. Part 1 of the film is called “An Englishman's Home” with Roger Moore and Denholm Elliot. Roger Moore plays a chauffeur and drives the car. The film was shot in Windsor, Heathrow Airport and in France near Bordeaux at the Chateau de Roquetaillade (supposed to be England).
1982-ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES - Lord Ridgemere's car in famous episode: A Touch of Glass. The most wiewed episode of the series.
1982 - ANYONE FOR DENIS ? - Comedy written and played by John Wells.
To help me maintaining and preserving this masterpiece, you can make a donation, which will be much appreciated.
( see bottom of French page )
Here is a very good website dedicated to the rolls royce silver shadow : www.mysilvershadow.com
THE AUTHOR WOULD LIKE TO THANK :
Members of the internet movie car data base : www.imcdb.com
Members of the RREC ( Marinus Rijkers, Rob Geelen and Alain Schenkels )
Mr. MORETTI from Studiocanal Ltd. London.
More pictures in French Section and TV series & films.