The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Bentley T-series
The announcement of a new car by Rolls-Royce Ltd, is a momentous occasion and the Silver Shadow which superseded the Silver Cloud III on October 6th (except for this, the Phantom V and Bentley S.3 Continental with specialised coachwork) and the companion Bentley T-Series, the first new models from Crewe for ten years, resulted in a pilgrimage to the factory on the part of U.K. motoring journalists to see and try the latest, very revolutionary Rolls-Royce.
Most of them came by train and motor-coach, although John Bolster drove up in his Edwardian Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost tourer and we decided that as we couldn’t do that, the best thing would be to arrive in a Ford, which, if it lacks finesse in ride and road-holding, Covers the ground extremely well and economically in Cortina GT guise, especially when you consider that you can buy seven of these Fords, and a lot of petrol as well, for the price of one Silver Shadow.
After dinner at the Crewe Arms Hotel, at which Puligny Montraclet 1962 and Nuits. St. George 1961 was drunk, the railway-borne motor writers went by coach to the factory the next morning to be welcomed by J. E. Scott, Sales Director of the Motor Car Division. and to have the complexities of the Silver Shadow explained to them by S. H. Grylls, the Chief Engineer, after which it was Clearly apparent that the new Rolls-Royce is very far from being merely a shadow of its former self. . . . They later saw this very modern conception of the Rolls-Royce ideal on the assembly lines and learned that it is intended to increase production from 25/35 cars a week to forty. One of the first of them has taken the LG 100 registration number of the Silver Cloud demonstrator.
Lunch was taken at the Wild Boar Inn at Beeston, a meal which, like most of the World’s great accomplishments, was simple yet very close to perfection. The new car was toasted in Chablis Premier Cru 1961 and Corton les Bressandes 1959. Afterwards test-driving was resumed by the 31 Pressmen present. Unfortunately only two cars, one Rolls-Royce, one Bentley, were available, so that we could only average nine miles each, mostly on traffic-heavy roads. We drove the Bentley T-Series and found ourselves unable in this distance to become accustomed to the exceedingly light power steering, and very supple suspension which lacks ride-control. The electric selection of hold-third and hold-second gear is also a matter of finger-light actuation, and after the clumsy gated lever of the Silver Cloud we tended to be too heavy-fingered and get ” 2 ” when ” 3 ” was more desirable or would have sufficed. Radiator and bonnet are now so low that nothing except the windscreen frame can be seen from the back seat.
On one continuous 1.h. bend at speed a curious vibrational sound intruded and travelled up the steering column, a legacy apparently from the S-Series, which was unexplained, and some road-noise was heard when in the back seat. But the more powerful version of the former light,alloy V8 engine is now inaudible and tremor-free at idling r,p.m. The disc brakes emitted as much smoke and hot smell in arresting this 2.5-ton car after quite moderate motoring as did the drums of the Silver Cloud, and the Bentley’s hand-brake—it is still under the facia on the right but self-adjusting—stuck on momentarily. The doors are still disconcerting to shut to those brought up in a vintage, or earlier, tradition,they now have plated sill-type internal locks.
However, not nine but 900 miles would be needed to analyse and appraise the newest of Rolls-Royces, and apparently we may have to wait until the Spring before we can publish a detailed road-test. Meanwhile, we can say that we are most gratified that the 1966 Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars will incorporate all those design factors, except fuel-injection, which we for so long insisted they ought to have so as not to be out-dated by Mercedes-Benz and other forward-thinking manufacturers of high-quality fast luxury cars. Indeed, in minor as well as major items of specification, the Silver Shadow, which sells for £6,556, the Bentley T-Series costing £6,496, is as individualistic as any previous design from Derby or Crewe and very advanced by any standards.
It may seem a considerable reversal of previous thinking for Mr. Grylls to have adopted i.r.s. and disc brakes, but he started planning this completely new Rolls-Royce ten years ago and has now found the answers that were lacking when, last year, we discussed the Silver Cloud with him. In respect of i.r.s he explains that, having gone to considerable pains to locate and tie-down the rigid back axle, he was nearly there without all the advantages, so it was opportune to go to independent suspension, after the traditional quietness associated with the Rolls-Royce had been ensured by using resilient spring mounts to attach the final drive and rear suspension sub-frames to the body. Trailing-arm i.r.s. took up the least passenger-space.
The angle of the trailing-arms gives some swing-axle effect; there is 12 in. strut deflection and 8 in. wheel travel.
So far as disc brakes all round, albeit power-actuated, not just hydraulically applied (a feature which surely only Citroen shares with R.-R. ?), were concerned, Mr. Grylls believes that while it is mathematically impossible to cure squealing drum brakes it is theoretically possible to stop discs from squeaking, and he has used soft-wire winding and special pad abuttments for the Girling discs of the Silver Shadow. The well-known triple safety factor is retained with the involved and ingenious new braking system, a ” brain ” gives the ” feel ” and progressiveness associated with the old gearbox-driven mechanical servo R.-R. introduced 40 years ago, this system being abandoned only because in lowering the new car by 5 in. there was no room for the linkages, which in any case suffered from the effect of the salt found on the World’s roads.
The monocoque steel and aluminium body, with its side-view resemblance to a Peugeot 403, is safer in an accident and saves some 150 lb. The engine has revised cylinder heads with better air flow; traditionally, power and torque figures are not disclosed (but the military L841 variant of the old engine gave 240 b.h.p. at 4,250 r.p.m.). Nor are performance claims made, beyond stating that speed and acceleration are somewhat improved— which implies a maximum in the region of 120 m.p.h. The sparking plugs are now rather more accessible.
The Silver Shadow was designed to meet the Englishman’s desire to own a car which is bigger inside than out, and the American’s insistence on lightness of the controls, while retaining all the traditional R.-R. characteristics. It is 7 in. shorter, 3.5 in. narrower than the Silver Cloud yet possesses greater passenger space, more luggage space and a 24-gallon fuel tank.
The hydraulic height-adjustment, which works rapidly if the gear-lever is in neutral or a door is opened to receive passengers, less responsively on the road, while differing from the interconnected suspension of B.M.C. cars or the variable-height, self-levelling Citroen suspension, is a notably advanced aspect of the new Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars. Safety factors include the new steering-column design, positive transmission braking once the ” R ” position has been selected and the ignition-key removed, even if the lever is tampered with, a duplicated headlamps circuit, warning lamps for loss of pressure in either of the two hydraulic systems, failure of the stop-lamps and excessive wear of the brake pads, and dimming of the stop-lamps and rear turn-indicators when the side-lamps are on. A warning lamp also tells when radiator fluid falls. The monoeoque is zinc-plated below to combat corrosive road-salt, and a free-wheel and clutch have removed jerk from the automatic transmission.
Naturally the famous Rolls-Royce radiator and mascot are retained, but it now assumes the broader-than-high shape of the Silver Ghost radiator; the latest Bentley retains its winged-B badge in opposition to the stylist’s wishes.
The ventilation system has been revised, the optional refrigeration unit is now located behind the bulkhead—the most difficult part of a car to design, it is so crowded, says Mr. Grylls—and the body is intentionally slightly pressurised to keep out fumes and dust, no extractor vents being deemed necessary, because it has been found that the best-sealed body leaks over 12 sq. in. of its total area. The traditional quality of finish and trim is naturally retained and seat adjustment is now achieved electrically for position, height and tilt, while the electric window-lifts are retained.
A special Lucas dynamo is preferred to the noisier alternator and the aforesaid automatic height regulation is sensitive to changes in petrol tank contents.
With the Silver Shadow which made its debut at the Paris Salon, Rolls-Royce have cast off the stigma of conservatism and now make one of the World’s most interesting and technically advanced motor cars.
Turning to the new Rolls-Royce in detail, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Bentley T-Series are powered by the 90* V8: 4.1 in x 3.6 in. (6.230 c.c.) aluminium engine introduced in 1959, but with redesigned cylinder heads. giving an increase in power. The 4-speed automatic transmission has been improved to give smoother changes by the incorporation of a free-wheel device and clutch. The gear selection lever, mounted on the steering column, actuates an electric motor on the gearbox which changes the gear selected. The ratios are 11.75, 8.10, 4.46 and 3.08 to 1; 1,000 r.p.m. in top gear equals 26.2 m.p.h.
Independent suspension of all four wheels is provided by coil-springs and hydraulic shock dampers. The front suspension is new and comprises twin double-triangle levers. The new independent rear suspension comprises a single trailing-arm on each side of the car, and the hypoid bevel final drive is contained in on aluminium casing. The geometry of the front and rear suspension is claimed to eliminate ” nose dive ” when the brakes are applied. Incorporated into the suspension system is an automatic hydraulic height-control which ensures a constant riding height whatever the load. Three sensor devices, one in the from of the car and two at the rear, measure the deflection of the springs and the mean riding height is restored by hydraulic power, operating on a jack on each of the suspension coil-springs. Normally the height-control operates as a slow rate, so that it does not compensate for ordinary driving conditions, e.g., bends and hump-backed bridges, but when the car is standing with the doors open or when the gear lever is in neutral a fast rate of levelling is provided so that the correct riding height is achieved quickly.
An entirely new hydraulic power braking system, incorporating Girling 11-in, discs to all four wheels. Hydraulic power is provided by two engine-driven pumps, each feeding its own hydraulic accumulator, operating at 2,500 lb./sq. in. pressure. One of the hydraulic systems feeds the first caliper on the front discs and provides the power for the automatic height-control, and the second system feeds the second caliper on the front discs and provides 42% of the braking in a combined caliper-unit on the rear discs. Additionally, a separate master cylinder circuit provides the remaining 58% of the rear braking. Thus there are three separate hydraulic systems for complete safety, matching the car’s performance. Also incorporated in the braking system is a ” deceleration-conscious ” valve which is designed to ensure that the maximum amount of braking is available under all conditions.
Completely new power-assisted steering with torsion-bar operated control valve. The steering box incorporates a re-circulating ball and nut mechanism with an integral ram. The ratio is 19.32 to 1, giving four turns, lock-to-lock, with a turning circle of 38 ft.
The steel monocoque body has aluminium-alloy doors, boot-lid and bonnet-top, to reduce weight. The luggage boot has a capacity of 22 cu. ft. The engine suspension and steering mechanisms are mounted on a substantial sub-frame, attached to the body by resilient spring mounts, to isolate the body from noise and road shocks. The final-drive and rear-suspension units are mounted on rear sub-frames, also attached to the body by resilient spring mounts. Following the traditional Rolls-Royce pattern, the upholstery is in best quality top-grade English hide. The facia panel and door-capping rail are trimmed in the best quality walnut veneer. A deep pile carpet covers the floor. The two individual front seats are electrically adjustable for height, forward/backward movement and tilt. The rake of the back rest is manually adjustable. The rear seat has been designed for maximum comfort for two persons but is wide enough to accommodate a third person.
A new fresh-air heating and ventilating system is provided. The system comprises an upper and lower circuit which can be operated independently. The upper system can be used to demist the windscreen and two adjustable outlets on the facia can direct air inside the car to provide the greatest degree of comfort to the passengers. The lower system provides air to the body through ducting on the floor. Air conditioning can be supplied as an optional extra.
The extreme strength of the car is of itself a primary safety feature. Seat-belt anchorages are provided as standard and the capping rail to the facia panel is padded. A positive transmission brake is provided through the gearbox, by selecting ” reverse ” with the car stationary and the ignition in the “off” position. Once this has been selected, inadvertent movement of the gear selection lever will not disengage the lock. The circuit can only be re-energised by switching “on” the ignition. Incorporated into the headlight system is a separate circuit so that, should the headlights fail because of a break in the main circuit, a secondary circuit automatically bypasses the failure and restores the headlamps to the dipped position. Separate warning lights on the facia panel show when there is a fall in pressure of either of the two hydraulic systems; the level of coolant in the radiator falls and when the generator is not charging. Incorporated in the hand-brake warning light is a separate circuit which will light if there is a failure of either of the stop-lights. At night, when the side-lights are switched on, the rear stop-light and rear direction indicators are dimmed to avoid dazzle to following drivers.
Dunlop, Avon or Firestone 8.45 x 15 low profile tyres are fitted. Greasing is required every 12,000 miles of steering and height control ball-joints, all other joints being sealed for life. The fuel tank has a capacity of 24 gallons. The Silver Shadow has a wheelbase of 9 ft. 11.5 in., a track of 4 ft. 9.5 in., and is 16 ft. 11.5 in. long. The kerb weight is quoted as 2 tons. 1 cwt 44 lb. and there is 6.5 in. ground clearance. The price with p.t. is £6,556 for the Rolls-Royce, £6,496 for the Bentley.—W. B.
The Triumph 1300 – Another Front-Wheel-Drive Family Saloon with a Luxury Demeanour and Many Ingenious Features
The day after I had seen the new Rolls-Royce unveiled at Crewe I was at Portmeirion, the gay (if artificial) holiday village on a private peninsula in Cardigan Bay, which Clough Williams-Ellis started to plan and develop over 30 years ago. Believing that if you write about cars you should drive them whenever possible, I arrived in the Ford Cortina GT; the majority of the other writers came next day by Morton Airways’ Heron.
As dusk came down I chanced to stop at an hotel such as, I discovered later, one might find in the less civilised parts of France—I will refrain from further comment! When I inquired what I should do with the Ford I was told it couldn’t go in a lock-up, because these were—hush—full of secret new cars, . . They turned out, of course, to be Triumph 1300s, the outward resemblance of which to scaled-down Triumph 2000s belies their completely new, front-wheel-drive design. Which is how I came to take the accompanying pictures of Mr. Donald Stokes’ “Project Ajax,” as the new venture is called, almost before the rest of the writers were air-borne!
On this occasion we were able to drive some 50 miles round Welsh roads, the test itinerary including a couple of runs over Bwlch-y-Groes. In that distance this new medium-size Triumph was found to be well-damped, to corner well with the usual front-drive under/oversteer characteristics, to have comfortable Ambla-covered soft seats, an ingenious steering column adjustable for both height and rake by merely unscrewing a hand-wheel, a nice gear-change, rather spongy brakes which soon smelt warm, and a facia of walnut veneer containing Rover 2000 style switches and all the indicator lamps in one dial which S.-T. call a ” radar-type screen ” (it includes a hand-brake-on light like expensive powerful cars!). The rack-and-pinion steering was slightly low geared, accurate, but suffered from column shake, the ride was excellent, the engine rather under-powered, but already S.-T. are experimenting with hotter versions. The drive-shafts displayed big Lotus Elan type rubber universals at their inner ends, devoid of Elan-like kick-back, and it was interesting to find air-extractors along the overlap of the roof, more elaborate than on a Ford Cortina or Corsair.
Coming back to the hotel the Cardigan police were sportingly operating a radar speed-trap on the outskirts of Penrhyndeudraeth. Although they said, after stopping a colleague in the very rorty twin-carburetter Triumph 1300 Ex. 3, that he would be cautioned, and would we pass on news that the trap was in operation, perhaps they were only practising on this occasion. This sort of activity in this remote and deserted town is poor publicity for Portmeirion, which is supposed to be an anxiety-free haven for holiday-minded motorists. . .
The power unit of the 1300, unlike the B.M.C. f.w.d. models, is mounted longitudinally. This is so that the front-drive arrangement does not blemish Triumph’s reputation for tight turning circles. Its four cylinders make up 1,296 c.c., fed from a single side-draught Stromberg carburetter. Basically, it is an enlarged version of the Herald engine, with improvements such as a redesigned 4-port cylinder head and a water-heated jacket around the inlet manifold. It produces 61 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m. and 875 lb. in. of torque at 3,000 r.p.m. Maximum speed is quoted as 85 m.p.h.
Wheelbase is 8 ft. 0.625 in., and track width 4 ft. 5 in. at the front and 0.375 in. less at the rear. Ground clearance is 5.5 in. and the turning circle 30 ft. Overall length is 12 ft. 11 in. and width 5 ft. 1.75ln.
A diaphragm-spring 6.5 in. diameter clutch transmits the power to a 4-speed, all-syncromesh gearbox operated by a central, floor-mounted lever. The final drive unit is integrated with gearbox and engine, but the whole clutch unit can nevertheless be replaced without dismantling engine or transmission simply by withdrawing the quill shaft. Another feature is the separation of engine and gearbox oils. All four wheels have independent suspension—rubber-bushed double wishbones at the front with coil-springs and telescopic dampers operating on the upper wishbones. The rear suspension is scaled down from the Triumph 2000—rubber-bushed semi-trailing arms with co-axial coil-springs and dampers.
Disc brakes (8.75 in. diameter) appear on the front, and drums (8 in. diameter) at the rear. Rack-and-pinion steering and a 16 in. diameter 2-spoke wheel give 3.25 turns from lock-to-lock. The wheel is fully adjustable.
Price : £658, plus purchase tax of £138 12s. 11d., giving a total showroom price of £796 12s., 11d
It is now eight years or so since Bristol Cars stopped making their own engines and, after much testing and trying, went over to Chrysler power units. That Chrysler engines are still being fitted to Bristols says much for the success of this Anglo-American partnership. Indeed, the number of others who have followed suit is an indication of the desirability of an American engine surrounded by British motor car.
The latest from the Filton factory is the Bristol 409 and it is no departure from their eight-year-old practice. The 90* V8 5,211-c.c. engine, with a c.r. of 9 : 1. produces 250 b.h.p. at 4,400 r.p.m. and maximum torque of 340 lb. ft. at 2,800 r.p.m. A Carter 4-choke carburetter is fitted, with manifold heat control valve for rapid warm up. The twin electric fans are thermostatically controlled. Brakes have been completely redesigned, with servo-assisted Girling discs all round. The hand-brake employs separate clamps and a mechanical parking lock operates on the transmission, which is Chrysler Torqueflite automatic incorporating a hold in each ratio. A sturdy, box-section chassis frame, with three cross-members, rests on unequal wishbones with coils at the front and Watts linkages with torsion bars at the rear.
Outwardly, the attractive, if vaguely Continental, lines of the Bristol 409 are unchanged from those of its predecessor, the 408. The car is a full 4-seater with two doors and, for an inclusive price of £4,849 7s. 11d., is understandably luxurious inside. Boot-room is deceptively large, the spare wheel being stowed in the nearside front wing. Battery, brake servo and fuse panel are housed in the other front wing. A maximum speed of 132 m.p.h. is claimed.
Aston Martin DB6 and Volante
Two new models have arrived from the David Brown stable— the DB6 saloon and the Volante convertible. Mechanical specification is largely the same as that of the DB5 but several body refinements render the car easily distinguishable from its predecessor. Styling changes include a more steeply raked windscreen, divided bumpers and new tail-light clusters. I checked but found no spikes in the latter. A higher roof line over the rear passenger compartment provides increased headroom, and the swept-back tail lips upwards into a rather attractive aerodynamic spoiler. Gone is the arrangement of padded cushions in the rear which used to suffice as seating for two persons but in fact provided no more than temporary or emergency accommodation. In its place is a pukka rear seat, roomy enough to render long journeys a possibility for four adults. The DB6 is certainly no limousine but it can now make just claim to be called a 4-seater. The front seats are buckets, but could do with just a little more “wraparound” to prevent sideways body movement when cornering.
Power unit can be either the 325-b.h.p. Vantage engine with three twin-choke Webers or the normal 282-b.h.p. unit with three S.U.s. Whichever choice is made the inclusive U.K. price remains at £4,998 Os. 5d. In fact, this price is unchanged whether you have manual or Borg Warner Model 8 automatic transmission, heated or plain rear screen, normal or Powr-Lok rear axle with 3.73 or 3.54 ratios, or 2- or 3-eared knock-on hub caps.
Wheelbase has been increased from 8 ft. 2in. to 8 ft. 5.75 in. and overall length from 15 ft. to 15 ft. 2 in. Magnetic petrol filler flaps are now fitted to both inlets, and on the dash appears a larger speedometer and rev counter, whilst ancillary instruments are centre-dial-reading in place of the quadrant type.
Besides titivating the Viva, Vauxhall Motors have announced two new models, the Cresta and the Cresta De Luxe. They will replace the existing Velox and Cresta, and so the familiar Velox will disappear from Luton’s terminology.
Basically, the cars are identical, the De Luxe version being distinguished by its twin headlamp system, a new departure for Vauxhall. The body is brand new but obviously based on the styling introduced last year with the series 101 Victors, for the side windows and door panels are vertically curved, resulting in an interior width increase of 4.5 in., despite the exterior being 0.5in. narrower than before. The heating system incorporates a feed to the rear seats, and an electric rear window demister is optional.
The waist-line is no longer one long sweep from front to rear. Just forward of the rear wheel arch it lifts upward, then drops to merge with the downward-sloping boot top. As a result of this higher lid-level, the boot capacity is increased to 30 cu. ft., almost double its former size.
Engine-wise, the Crestas are virtually unchanged. The same 3,294-c.c. 6-cylinder power unit that was announced last year appears in these two models, with a down-draught carburetter fitted with an automatic choke.
Three types of transmission are available : a 3-speed box (column change) with optional overdrive on two, a 4-speed box (floor-mounted lever), or Powerglide fully automatic transmission as fitted to the previous Vauxhall Sixes. Other options include hydraulic power-assisted steering. Servo-assisted brakes are standard on both models, and the rear drum brakes now have automatic adjustment. Disc brakes continue on the front. The hand-brake, too, now features self adjustment.
The Cresta sells at an inclusive price of £956 2s. 11d., and the De Luxe at £1,058 17s. 1d. These prices are for cars fitted with the 3-speed box. Powerglide adds £102 14s. 2d. to the prices.
Jensen, another British maker of high-performance cars relies upon Detroit for its power plants, have, after nearly a year of rumours, produced a four-wheel-drive saloon. The Jensen F.F. (Ferguson Formula) is the result of lengthy joint development by Jensen Motors and the Harry Ferguson Research Organisation.
The car uses the body, with only very slight modifications, of the C-V8 Mark III and is powered by the 6.3-litre Chrysler V8 engine, with overhead valves operated by hydraulic tappets.
Independent wishbones and combined spring/damper units appear at the front and semi-elliptic springs, with driver-controlled Armstrong shock-absorbers at the rear. The high-pressure cooling system is controlled by a pellet-type thermostat.
Transmission, of course, is by Chrysler Torqueflite 3-speed with torque converter. A transmission oil cooler is incorporated in the radiator bottom tank.
The Ferguson 4.w.d. unit has open propeller shafts and hypoid final drive units with an axle ratio of 3.07 to 1. Steering is power assisted (ratio 19.8 to 1) and turns 3.8 times from lock-to-lock. Turning circle is 39 ft. Dunlop disc brakes are fitted to all four wheels, the front and rear systems being separate, operated via a tandem master cylinder. The petrol filler cap lid is controlled from a switch on the facia. The overall length is 15 ft. 7.5 in with a wheelbase of 9 ft. 1 in. Track is 4 ft. 8.875 in. front and rear, and overall width 5 ft. 7.5 in. Ground clearance is 5.75 in. The car will be available early in the New Year at a price (including p.t.) of £5,249 7s. 1d.