This time we stumbled upon a gorgeous Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II in the company of our Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean XL. The precursor to the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II was the Silver Shadow I, a core model of the Rolls-Royce company from 1955 thru 1966. In 1977, the model was renamed Silver Shadow II due to several modifications that improved the handling and drive-ability of the automobile. From an appearance standpoint, the bumpers where changed from chrome to a combination of alloy and rubber and the small grilles beneath the headlamps were removed.
In 1979, a limited number of Silver Shadow II cars were made to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the company and these were fitted with red 'RR' badges. The Rolls-Royce featured here, is from a batch of only 8,425 units made between 1977 and 1980. Therefore, quite rare but formidably beautiful.
The iconic hood figurine that has adorned the Rolls-Royce cars since 1911 —commonly known in the U.S. as the 'Flying Lady'— has an interesting story behind. The actual name of the hood figurine is the 'Spirit of Ecstasy' and it was designed by Charles Robinson Sykes. The story accounts that the figurine was modeled after a young woman named Eleanor Velasco Thornton, whose affair with John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu — 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, British politician, promoter of motiring and editor of 'The Car'— remained a secret for over a decade as she was his secretary.
John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu ordered his friend Charles Robinson Sykes to create a special figurine for his Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. The creation: a small statue of a young woman in fluttering robes with her forefinger shutting her lips, christened 'The Whisper'. Upon completion, Montagu made the decision to put it on top of the radiator of his Rolls-Royce. Years later, Rolls-Royce presented the 'Spirit of Ecstasy', which was easily recognizable as a variation of the 'The Whisper'. The similarity was hardly coincidental because the model for both had been Ms. Thornton.
Since 1911, the 'Spirit of Ecstasy' has adorned the grill of every Rolls-Royce. Each figurine is casted using the lost-wax technique. This practice where the molds are destroyed to reveal the casting, results in having figurines that are completely unique and no two are identical.
Now, everyone wonders why is the 'Spirit of Ecstasy' fitted with a retracting mechanism. Well, it's because from 1911 to 1914 the 'Spirit of Ecstasy' was silver-plated and victim of frequent thefts. In addition, safety regulations in some countries qualified the figurine as a sharp-edged piece of metal that could injure a victim in an accident. Therefore, Rolls-Royce solves the issues by fitting the 'Spirit of Ecstasy' with a mechanism that allows the driver to hide the figurine by sinking it into the radiator area upon demand.
Without a doubt the Rolls-Royce designs are as timeless as the designs of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.
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