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Thursday 3rd January 2013


FREDDIE MERCURY'S ROLLS-ROYCE TO BE AUCTIONED

It's a Roller derby (groan) as the Queen lead singer's Silver Shadow goes under the hammer


A thread by J4CKO in General Gassing yesterday evening mentioned that there hasn’t been a great deal of Rolls-Royce talk on PH lately. And while they don’t exactly tally with our ‘Speed Matters’ motto, the post made the point that a Rolls is at the very top of the barge tree, and arguably the car all other barges aspire to. As barges are close to our heart here, that makes an old Roller a very PH thing to waft around in.

Not Freddie's Shad, yesterday
Not Freddie's Shad, yesterday
Talk of the devil, and you shall see his horns – or chrome radiator grille, as the case may be, as today came the news that a very special Silver Shadow will be up for sale soon. The Shadow is one of the most inexpensive of all the classic Rollers one can own, but don’t expect this one to go for peanuts, as among its roll of former owners it can count one Freddie Mercury.

Announced with a press release cunningly headed 'Hammer to fall: Freddie Mercury's Rolls-Royce to be auctioned' the car will be part of the Coys sale at Autosport International on Saturday January 12. Purchased in 1979 by the Queen frontman’s company Goose Productions and used by him until his death in November 1991 it’s a 1974 model, fitted with a grey leather interior, automatic locking, electric windows, a car phone, a radio-cassette player, and has 62,000 miles on the clock. And while Freddie himself never actually got behind the wheel – he didn’t have a driving licence – a letter accompanying the car certifies that it was indeed used by him personally, and driven by three of his trusted chauffeurs. An... erm... eccentric touch is that the car is also sold with an unused box of Kleenex Mansize tissues, which remain from Freddie’s time with it.

Not even a Shad, yesterday
Not even a Shad, yesterday
There’s no word on how much Fred’s Shad is expected to fetch, but we’d expect it won’t go cheap. However, don’t fret, because if you did feel in the mood for a not-so-famous Rolls, you can still get them for (relatively) reasonable money. A Shadow like Freddie’s will set you back just under £12,000 these days, and this one really does look the part with its 70s aristo chic combination of metallic brown over cream leather. It looks to be in excellent condition and is sold with the promise of a thumping great history file, as well as very reasonable mileage.

If that’s too rich for your blood, though, and you’re prepared to live with the slightly boxier looks of the Silver Spirit generation, you can still get a Rolls for single-figure digits. This Silver Spur – the long-wheelbase version of the Spirit – looks to be right’n’proper, and even comes with a private plate. Again, there’s plenty of history – though the word ‘full’ is conspicuous by its absence – and it’s in a decent colour combination. Well, if you enjoy a blue dash top, that is.

Not even a Rolls, yesterday
Not even a Rolls, yesterday
Of course, a Rolls Royce might be just a bit too wafty for you, in which case an old-school Bentley might be the way forward. If you’re prepared to live with an awful lot of red parked outside your house, you can even get a suitably quick Turbo R for even less than the Spur. Again, there’s a whacking great service history, white leather with red piping, and you even get red-carpeted footstools for rear-seat passengers. 0-60 takes 6.8 seconds with this model, which by modern standards isn’t scintillating, but for a 24-year-old car that weighs almost as much as the moon, it’s extremely respectable. There’s just the issue of that colour to overcome...

While none of these will offer quite the same provenance as Freddie’s car, we reckon any of these old Rollers will be a rewarding thing to own. Assuming you’ve got a sizeable amount of cash in reserve to cope with the bills brought on by servicing and refuelling. But nothing else has quite the same sort of presence, or indeed, the same sense of opulence. Buy, stick ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ on the stereo, and enjoy.

Author: Alex Robbins
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