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The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is a luxury car produced in Great Britain in various forms from 1965 to 1980. A successful response to concerns the company was falling behind the times, it was the first Rolls-Royce to use a monocoque chassis, and to date has the largest production volume of any Rolls-Royce.
Initially, the model was planned to be called "Silver Mist", a natural progression from its predecessor Silver Cloud. The name was changed to "Silver Shadow" after realizing that "mist" is the German word for manure, rubbish, or dirt.
The design was a major departure from its predecessor, the Silver Cloud. The John Polwhele Blatchley design was the firm's first single bow model. More than 50% of its predecessor had been sold on the domestic market where, by the standards of much of Europe and most of North America, roads were narrow and crowded. The original Shadow was 3½ inches (9cm) narrower and 7 inches (18 cm) shorter than the car it replaced, but nevertheless managed to offer increased passenger and luggage space thanks to more efficient packaging made possible by unitary ("monocoque") construction.
Aside from a more modern appearance and construction, the Silver Shadow introduced many new features such as disc rather than drum brakes, and independent rear suspension, rather than the outdated live axle design of previous cars.
The Shadow featured a 172 hp (128 kW) 6.2 L V8 from 1965 to 1969, and a 189 hp (141 kW) 6.75 L V8 from 1970 to 1980. Both powerplants were coupled to a General Motors-sourced Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission, except on pre-1970 right-hand-drive models, which used the same 4-speed automatic gearbox as the Silver Cloud (also sourced from GM).
The car's most innovative feature was a high-pressure hydraulic system licensed from Citroën, with dual-circuit braking and hydraulic self-levelling suspension. At first, both the front and rear of the car were controlled by the leveling system; the front levelling was deleted in 1969 as it had been determined that the rear levelling did almost all the work. Rolls-Royce achieved a high degree of ride quality with this arrangement.