In 1950 Donald Healey replaced the Healey Westland bodied Drop Head Coupé of which 64 examples had been built over the previous 4 post war years and replaced it with a new Drop Head model with bodywork by E & D Abbot of Farnham.
The first 14 Healey Abbotts were built on an improved BT chassis featuring Girling dampers and drum brakes.
Chassis #BT 2019 was the fifth to be built and was supplied new to Brooklands of Bond Street purveyors of a variety of fine cars including Mercedes Benz and Aston Martin in 1951.
#BT 2019 was registered in the UK on the 1st of January 1952 and is seen in the top photograph sixty years later at Sherborne Castle, having spent half that time in a barn, the current owner bought the car from well known Big Austin Healey racer John Chatham.
Thanks for joining me on this “Fifth Abbott” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Mercedes Monday. Don’t forget to come back now !
The radiator grill design and tragic Spirit of Ecstasy mascot makes Rolls Royce one of the few instantly recognisable brands no matter what age or model. The mascot on this model instantly retracts if dislodged allegedly preventing injury to pedestrians and making the item much harder to collect by even the most determined fans of the Beasty Boys.
The Silver Spirit was a development of the Silver Shadow with a new body and suspension that brought RR into the 1980’s.
Sufficiently powered by a 6750cc / 411 cui V8 the Silver Spirit and slightly longer Silver Spur no longer featured the Citroen licensed self levelling suspension of the Silver Shadow but one using a Girling automatic hydraulic ride height control system riding on gas charged shock absorbers.
The Registration of this vehicle suggests that this might be a 1984 model but the alloy wheels to my not so well trained eye look to be of a more recent vintage. The Silver Spirit/Spur series is the twin of the Bentley Mulsanne / Eight series.
The Silver Spirit is the only Rolls Royce model that has ever come in to my hands, albeit briefly in my capacity as quality controller at a Volvo Garage, it certainly is an impressive machine to be seen driven around in, the ride quality is superb but the feel of the car with its spindly steering wheel and column shift left me feeling I was driving a very well appointed 1972 Volvo 144.
It should always be remembered that a Rolls Royce never ‘breaks down’, but if not looked after properly it might ‘fail to proceed’.
Erratum: in response to a question about the Citroen SM suspension on October 20th I stated that ‘Rolls Royce / Bentley took out licenses to use similar (Citroen hydropneumatic self levelling) systems on the Silver Shadow/T, Silver Spur/Mulsanne’ in fact as I have written above the Silver Spirit/Spur have a Girling self levelling systems. Apologies for any confusion that arose.