- Built for Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
- Highly detailed original specification for the Countess, well-documented
- Later imported to the U.S. for Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds’s production company
- Well-maintained condition
On 13 November 1974, Princess Margaret, The Countess of Snowdon, was sent the retail order forms for a new Silver Shadow to replace her previous model. The detailed build sheets and correspondence that ensued, copies of which are on file, capture the Countess’s attention to detail in specifying her automobiles. She directed that the car be finished exactly as per her previous model, in Cardinal Red with Black vinyl top and Black leather interior with Cherry Red carpets, complete with a list of extras she had requested for that automobile.
These special alterations included the use of plain Sundym glass throughout, opening front ventilators, and the typical Royal features of an illuminated blue police lamp, flagmast, and illuminated shield above the windscreen. Special flashing side marker lights proved a bear to source, but they were finally acquired via a favor from Fiat. The interior was outfitted with a padded cushion to fit in-between the front seats, perhaps to accommodate a third staff member, as well as rear compartment vanity mirrors, small pencil-beam spotlights for further illumination of the Countess on formal occasions, and a rear window blind.
Interestingly, all interior woodwork was matte-finished, the door cappings and window switch escutcheons covered in hide, and hardware “in normal chrome finish”—a rather restrained level of trim for a Royal automobile, although the Countess did request the seats be “soft and comfortable.” A false floor was installed in the rear seat, to help the rather short-statured Princess alight gracefully in and out; for unknown reasons, the rear armrests were deleted.
The Rolls-Royce was delivered on 5 September 1975 by H.R. Owen. Its delivery paperwork mentions the Countess by name, as does a letter, a copy of which is on file, confirming her ownership since new. This letter was issued in May 1979 to Donald Kerr, who apparently bought the car at this time when the Countess once again upgraded, to a Silver Wraith II. According to a magazine article on file, the Rolls-Royce was then exported to the U.S. in 1984 for film star Burt Reynolds; the federalization sticker inside a door notes it to have been imported by Burt Reynolds Productions. In 1988 the car returned to Europe and, following time with enthusiasts in England and Belgium, joined the present collection.
Still in largely original and well-preserved condition with the exception of recent cosmetic improvements, the Countess of Snowdon’s Silver Shadow is accompanied by the aforementioned build and ownership documentation as well as magazine articles and a FIVA Identity Card. It is a fabulous reflection of its first owner’s fastidious taste and highly detailed sensibilities, and it also ranks as one of the nicest examples of this model available today.