Iconic British actor, Sir Michael Caine CBE’s, first ever car, a 1968 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Drophead Coupe with a fascinating history, is being offered for sale at auction on 15 March at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.
Having been treated to an extensive restoration by the current owner, Caine’s former car is now refinished in its original colour of Black. One of just 506 Silver Shadow Two-Door Drophead Coupes that were hand built by Rolls-Royce’s in-house coachbuilder Mulliner Park Ward from 1967 – 1971, the car is estimated at between £100,000 – £150,000 in the auction hosted by H&H Classics.
“Appearing in more than 160 films across seven decades, Sir Michael Caine is a true British icon, so it’s a pleasure to be able to offer his very first car for sale, which in itself is another great British classic,” comments Damian Jones, Senior Motorcar Specialist, H&H Classics. “From its original purchase by Sir Michael, and its subsequent 43-year ownership by infamous Gasworks restauranteur, Jack Leach, the car’s history is truly captivating and one which I’m sure will delight and fascinate the new owner.”
In 1968, Caine wandered into the renowned Jack Barclay showroom on Berkeley Square, with a handwritten shopping list which read, “milk, bread, newspaper, cigarettes, Rolls-Royce.” Unkempt and unshaven, Caine was ushered off the premises, so he journeyed to Mayfair’s other Rolls-Royce dealership, H.A. Fox on Dover Street, where he found the Silver Shadow which had been taken into stock after the playwright and screenwriter, Terence Rattigan, cancelled his order for it.
Having bought the car, despite not having his own driving licence, the actor found it was much cheaper to employ a chauffeur than pay the premium his insurers quoted should he decide to go down the ‘L-plate’ route. The 35-year-old actor subsequently took great pleasure in being driven past the offending Jack Barclay salesman in his new car and flicking him a V-sign!
Less than two years later, the Silver Shadow was acquired by John Leonard Ernest Leach (Jack Leach), owner of the Gasworks restaurant in Fulham, which became a notorious hotspot for the rich and famous. A familiar sight on the Fulham and Kings roads for decades afterwards, Leach continued to own the car for the next 43-years until his death in 2013.
“Personifying cool since the swinging sixties, Caine and the Silver Shadow remain instantly recognisable and widely admired,” adds Jones. “So, to combine both of these in one fantastic motor car is incredibly rare indeed and we expect significant interest from fans around the world.”
The classic, collector and performance car auction takes place at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford on the 15 March, with viewing available on Tuesday 14 March. Bidding can be done in person, online or via telephone. For further information about the sale or the car, visit www.handh.co.uk.