H&H Classics will be selling George Best's 1972 white Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow at their Duxford sale on October 12 at the Imperial War Museum in Cambridgeshire.


George Best, 20th century footballing icon and one of the first celebrity footballers, was well know for his antics off the field. Away from his 361 appearence for Manchester United, helping his team to victory in the European Cup and being crowned European Footballer of the year in 1968, Best was known for, as he described it: ''women, drink and fast cars.''

Launched in 1965, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was a bold departure as it was their first monocoque design, it also benefited from olio-pneumatic rear suspension, power disc brakes and, from 1968, GM’s silken 400 series automatic gearbox. Such 'new technology' did not encroach on the luxurious interior with its sumptuous leather hides, rich wood veneers and deep lambswool carpets. Performance from the smooth 6230cc V8 engine (upgraded to 6750cc in 1970) was assured, the car wafting forward on a seemingly unstoppable wave of torque. Still immensely cosseting to drive, Shadows offer a genuinely different ownership experience to their mass made peers.

According to its accompanying RREC copy chassis records, this particular example – chassis number SRH 13549 – was built in accordance with ‘Page 16 Issue 12 SVR.1067 of the Special Vehicles requirement brochure’. Factory finished in Acrylic White with Black leather upholstery, Grey Ambla headlining and Black carpets, the luxury saloon was supplied new to Grassicks Garage Limited of Perth, Scotland as a ‘Trials Car’ on 27th June 1972. As well as ‘Plain Sundym Glass throughout’ and an ‘internally adjustable mirror to the driver’s door’, optional equipment also included ‘Automatic Speed Control’ (better known these days as cruise control). A letter on file from Tony Clark of Grassicks Ltd reveals that the Silver Shadow was sold to the internationally renowned football player George Best before the Scottish Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Ferrari distributor had had the chance to open a Service Record for it.

No stranger to publicity, George Best and his new acquisition were photographed by the Daily Mirror in the showrooms of Ian Anthony Car Sales on 4th December 1972. The car has sported various registration numbers over the past forty-four years but on that occasion wore plates advertising Mr. Anthony’s Manchester-based dealership. Mr. Best is understood to have been only too happy to promote his friend Mr. Anthony's business. The Acrylic White Rolls-Royce was also pictured outside Old Trafford.

Repainted since belonging to Best, the luxury saloon has also gained a Black vinyl roof covering and later-style integral reversing lamps. However, the Silver Shadow still retains its original steering wheel, Black leather upholstery and Grey Ambla headlining, all part of the car when Best owned it.

Acquired by its last registered keeper during 1994, chassis SRH 13549 has had some £22 000 spent on it over the last twenty-two years. H&H have estimated that Best's Rolls-Royce will sell for $12 900 to $19 300 (£10 000 to £15 000.)

The sale will take place on October 12, 2016 at the Imperial War Museum, Cambridgeshire. Check out the full catalog here.