Many still consider Rolls Royce the ultimate luxury car. In late 1965, Rolls Royce introduced one of their best-recognized models, the Silver Shadow. It came with a V8 motor of 'adequate' power and was a hand-built motorcar in the great British tradition. While only the richest could afford a Rolls, every child had the opportunity to buy toy examples from the likes of Matchbox, Impy, and others. In 1969, Hot Wheels offered a Rolls Royce for the orange track.
6.2 litre, 220 bhp V8
While RR always described the power as 'adequate', the 6.2 litre V8 was of 380 c.i. from 1966-1970. Fed by twin-carbs, this was not a motor where miles-per-gallon were asked or offered. At about 5,000 lbs., the Silver Shadow was still quick at under 10 sec. to 60mph.
|Hot Wheels Recreates the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow in 1:64
Hot Wheels' Silver Shadow was one of a series of European sport and luxury cars to be offered following the success of the original cars of 1968. Along with a Maserati Mistral and Mercedes-Benz 280SL, the Silver Shadow was presented in stock form, unlike the custom cars of the first production year. The HW Rolls Royce in the gray enamel shown here, is today worth $35 loose or $60 mint in package. The opening bonnet reveals the V8 motor painted silver. The red-line wheels are a trade-mark of these early Hot Wheels models but appear a bit too small for the body. The overall lines on the car are decent with a particularly nice RR grill. The interior features right-hand-drive and is otherwise quite basic.
Matchbox had already done the Silver Shadow in 1967 and the casting is superior but it has an opening boot instead of bonnet. Of course, the Matchbox version is only worth one-third the value of the Hot Wheel model.
H.J. Mulliner-Park Ward
This body style appears to be that of H.J. Mulliner-Park Ward although James Young also provided bodies prior to closure in 1967. The conservative, boxy look was in keeping with luxury cars of the 1960's and carried a certain elegance. The body was shared with the Bentley T Series, with a simple exchange of grills. The success of this body style can be seen in that it continued with minor changes through the 1980's.
|Early Hot Wheels|
A good case could be made that the value of early red-line Hot Wheels are highly inflated. In pink, this model can go for over $250 (a pink Rolls Royce seems particularly inappropriate). Even at $35 for a loose example like this, the price seems too high.
The Matchbox Silver Shadow might be better looking but for Hot Wheels fanatics, it's the red-lines that are the sign of the true faith. While early Hot Wheels may not deserve this devotion, they are non-the-less, distinctive toy cars.