George’s old Rolls-Royce could be Best buy at auction

George Best with the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow he once owned and which is now being sold.

George Best with the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow he once owned and which is now being sold. - Credit: supplied

George Best's 1972 white Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is estimated to sell for £10,000 to £15,000 at H&H Classics's sale at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, on October 12.

Best became one of the first celebrity footballers, but ultimately fell victim to his alcoholism in 2005 aged 59. He scored 137 times for Manchester United in 361 appearances, helped his team to victory in the European Cup and was crowned European Footballer of the Year in 1968 but to some he was more famous for his off-field behaviour.

He was once quoted as saying: 'I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted.'

Launched in 1965, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was a bold departure for the Crewe-based company. Its first monocoque design, it also benefited from olio-pneumatic rear suspension, power disc brakes and, from 1968, GM's silken 400 series automatic gearbox. Such 'new technology' did not encroach on the luxurious interior with its sumptuous leather hides, rich wood veneers and deep lambswool carpets. Performance from the smooth 6,230cc V8 engine – upgraded to 6,750cc in 1970 – was assured.

Factory finished in white with black leather upholstery, grey headlining and black carpets, this model was supplied new to Grassicks Garage of Perth, Scotland, as a 'trials car' in June 1972. A letter on file from Tony Clark of Grassicks reveals that the Silver Shadow was sold to Best before the Scottish Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Ferrari distributor had had the chance to open a service record for it.

No stranger to publicity, Best and his new acquisition were photographed by the Daily Mirror in the showrooms of Ian Anthony Car Sales in December 1972, a friend of the footballer. It was also pictured outside Manchester United's Old Trafford grounds with its surprised owner turning round just as he was about to open the driver's door.

Acquired by its last registered keeper in 1994, it has since had £22,000 spent on it.

Most Read

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter