One of the Silver Spurs manufactured in England by Rolls-Royce during the 1982 model year was loaded into a 40-foot-long container and shipped off to the United States. It was early June when the container with the luxury car was hoisted onto the ship the “Americana Legend” and carried across the Atlantic to Lyndhurst, N.J.
That 5,040-pound Rolls-Royce Silver Spur was painted black with a double pinstripe of red highlighting both flanks. The Everflex material covering the top was also black and the carpet inside the car was cherry red. The leather upholstery matched the carpeting.
The elegant car entered the realm of private ownership purchased by a man in Ellicott City, Md. Upon his death in 2004 his widow put the car on the market. Richard Bull, a retired architect, bought the Rolls-Royce and took it home to Arlington, Va.
For five years he enjoyed the car until his health failed in July 2009. A fellow architect, Andrew Diem, had assisted Bull in his final days and he now owns the distinctive car.
The Rolls-Royce needed some attention when Diem took possession. The top covering had been ripped and needed to be replaced. Diem also has replaced the original radio with a more modern model.
Before driving the Rolls-Royce any distance, Diem replaced the 15-inch Dunlop tires and changed all of the fluids. As expected on a Rolls-Royce, Diem’s Silver Spur is equipped with power assisted features including: seats, locks, brakes, mirrors, steering, antenna, windows.
The car is a long-wheelbase model that gives an extra 4 inches of legroom to the rear seat passengers. The wheelbase stretches 124.5 inches, which supports the 17-foot, 8-inch-long automobile.
Even at 74.4 inches wide and 58.5 inches high the Silver Spur is really designed to be a comfortable car for four people. Diem says he once had five people in the car, but admits that one of the five was a small child who occupied the middle of the rear seat.
Inside the 17-cubic-foot trunk is a set of fitted luggage. Hidden by the trunk is the 28.5-gallon gasoline tank. The tank’s capacity must be that large because the fuel economy rating is 10 miles per gallon.
Despite the size and bulk of the Rolls-Royce the powerful V-8 engine has 412-cubic-inches of displacement to call on for muscle to move the car. And just how powerful is the engine that propels the automobile from 0-to-60 mph in 12.6 seconds? Rolls-Royce officials describe the horsepower rating as “Adequate.”
Because of government regulations in 1982 the speedometer could only register speeds up to 85 mph. “I should drive it a little more,” Diem confesses. His Rolls-Royce needs regular exercise.
Only once Diem says has the car “failed to proceed,” but that event occurred in Pennsylvania before he assumed ownership.
“It’s a perfect road car,” Diem says, despite the fuel consumption. The quality of the ride is remembered long after the cost is forgotten, Diem surmises.
While settled into the plush driver’s seat behind the black, two-spoke steering wheel, Diem notices that the odometer, after 28 years, has recorded almost 66,000 miles. That works out to about 200 miles a month since it was new.
“Every now and then,” Diem says, “you have to take it out and enjoy it.” — Vern Parker, Motor Matters

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