Its second time lucky as a Rolls-Royce heads into the Wheeler Dealers workshop, but can this tired Silver Spirit be rescued on a budget?
A Rolls-Royce had almost made it into the Wheeler Dealers workshop before, but a last-minute change of plan saw it replaced by a Bentley instead. This time, though, Mike Brewer had bagged one of these luxury classics – and it was very cheap, too.
Owner, Ian, wanted a quick sale and was asking around £6500 for the Rolls but Mike quickly realised that was too much money. A shabby interior, poor paintwork, a steering problem and an engine that sounded like a tractor meant it was bought for just £4000. When it arrived at the workshop Elvis had a point when he said “look at the state of it!”
Still, he soon dived in and the first job was replacing the exhaust manifold gaskets to cure the horrible noise. It turned into a big job as Elvis decided to remove the engine and gearbox so he could tackle the corroded and rounded-off nuts. There was a lot to do before the subframe could be unbolted and the body lifted away.
In the meantime Mike headed off to see the specialists at Flying Spares to get the steering rack sorted, and he was keen to lend a hand. The unit was cleaned and rebuilt with new parts, while removing shims at the pinion got rid of the excessive play. The cost was just £296 and now the Rolls would steer as it should.
Back at the workshop Elvis was finally able to fix the noisy exhaust manifolds and treated the big V8 to a service at the same time. And then it was time to address the paintwork, and Mike had a bold plan. Why not paint just the top half of the car for a two-tone finish? And why not save money by using aerosol cans?
Elvis was unconvinced, but after assembling his own spray booth and with plenty of careful preparation the finished paintjob turned out to be quite successful. That left one big job to do, which was replacing the unpleasant interior. A replacement was included as part of the deal, so Mike rolled up his sleeves and got to work on cleaning and treating the leather seats. Now they looked fit for a Rolls.
Oh yes, and the wobbly Spirit of Ecstasy needed to be fixed. With the imposing radiator grille removed Elvis could access the clever mechanism that allowed the famous mascot to disappear smoothly into the grille. Now it worked just as it should.
Had the boys managed to fix the British luxury motor on a tight budget, though? In fact, they’d spent just £661 which made this a truly bargain Rolls-Royce. After a drive out to Belvoir Castle for afternoon tea, it was sold back to its former owner for £5900. This fun project had returned a healthy profit – no wonder Mike and Elvis were so pleased.
Mike says: “Not every car we feature on Wheeler Dealers will be to everyone’s liking; they can’t all be fast Fords! However, throughout the years, people of pestered me about tackling a Rolls-Royce. I feel the Rolls-Royce story has been told a thousand times so I wanted to do something different. That’s why I chose to see if we can dine at the top table with banger car money.