'96 Concours Award
1996 Best in Show

As a young lad, whenever I was given a new radio or something mechanical, I always had to have the back off to find out how it worked and whether I could improve it.

In September 1993, I purchased my first Rolls-Royce, a Silver Shadow II in Athenian Blue with Magnolia Hide interior. Apart from the A1 piston 'picking up', having an unusual array of paint finishes and a vinyl roof, I suppose it was an above average specimen. The car was placed into the garage at the bottom of my garden in January 1995 and work commenced. The car was completely stripped of every trace of paint. That was not enough for me, so I took off all the doors and stripped the interior. The car was now in a million pieces. What had I done?

Before the car trundled off to the paint shop, the engine and gearbox were whipped out just for good measure. The car was then moved by transporter to the paint shop for the next 6 months where the vigorous and meticulous body restoration was to commence. While the car was away, I had plenty of bits to play with! All the bright work was re-chromed, all stainless steel was re-polished and the woodwork was stripped and re-polished. A full engine overhaul was carried out and a reseal of the gearbox. When the car returned from the paint shop, the front sub-frame was removed and the engine bay was completely stripped to bare metal and repainted. A full front suspension overhaul was carried out and the engine and gearbox were refitted. It was then reassembled with as many new parts as I could afford.

'96 Concours Award
1996 Concours Award

The car was finally returned to the road only one week before the R-REC Annual Rally and Concours, and we only had one Sunday to set all the steering geometry and to do the necessary detailing work to the rear suspension of the car. The car then spent the rest of the week in the paint shop for final detailing, being returned on the Saturday for the hand painted 'fine lines' to be put on at 8.30am that morning. I then spent until past midnight carrying out as much final detailing as possible.

The Sunday morning of the Concours had arrived and we set off for Althorp House. The car had only covered 192 miles since this extensive rebuild had been carried out. That day we won not only Class 15, Shadow II, but also the much coveted Best Car in Show, with the joint distinction of being the youngest ever owner with the most modern car to win the top prize. The car has since gone on to win Elegance and other awards. It was always my schoolboy dream to take things apart but now I had proved that I could put them back together again.

Nigel Sandell