The dashboard of the:

Main menu dashboards
Evolution of the dashboard
Silver Shadow (incl explanation of switches)
American Silver Shadow

Silver Shadow II
Silver Wraith II
Silver Shadow James Young

Corniche 2-d saloon
Corniche convertible
Corniche II


Evolution of the dashboard

The first dashboard of a Silver Shadow was a beautiful dashboard with a lot of wood. On the pictures below of a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow from 1967 you can see how the first dashboard has been arranged.

The first dashboard of a Silver Shadow.

Remarkable of this dashboard is that the ignition lock is positioned in the middle of the dashboard and the little clock on the left above it. Further on it is remarkable that the dashboard has no centre console and that the wheel has the old-fashioned section through of 17 inch (432 mm). In that time the dashboard had no rev counter and the four indicator lights were gathered directly on the right above the wheel (and on the left above the wheel in RHD cars).

In the seventies the safety demands became more and more severe, with the US in front. Dashboards had to be developed in a way that a head of 6,5 inch (165 mm) could hit the dashboard without being injured by the switches. This dashboard of the Silver Shadow was redeveloped at the end of the seventies in such a way that the safety demands could be met. The solution was found by fitting shockabsorbing material with so less clearance space that wooden testballs with the size of a head could not hit the switches when they were fired to it. This new dashboard was mounted from 1968 in LHD cars (chassis number 6001) and from May 1969 in RHD cars (chassis number 6792). They looked as follows:

The dashboard of the DM-37-65.

This picture is of my own Silver Shadow from May 1969 (SRH6839). The starter unit on this new dashboard was positioned on the very right of the dashboard (RHD). A centre console was introduced with switches for the regulation of the heating and airconditioning. The switches were grouped in the middle of the dashboard and the indicator lights were divided in two separate panels. This central part is enlarged in the next picture:

Centre part of the dashboard of a Silver Shadow from 1969.

On this picture the symmetry of the walnut wood where Rolls-Royce pays so much attention to, is very clear.
Have a look on the page of the dashboard of the Silver Shadow from 1969 when you want to know where all switches are meant for or how they must be used.

In the years afterwards many times some functions of the dashboard were modified. In 1971 for instance, the cruise control was introduced. The first years it could be actuated from the dashboard and only from the mid seventies from the gear selector. Above that in 1971 the shape of the switches was changed.
Further on it is remarkable that the Corniches (launched in 1971) were provided with rev counters.

An important change was put through in 1972. Then the instrument gauges for oil pressure and water temperature were replaced by lights and buzzers. The screen whipers got an interval position. In the centre of the dashboard the panels for the indicator lights were modified. And because of complaints of the drivers, the switches were positioned more in the neighbourhood of the driver. The driver got a switch to close all windows in a time and a switch to prevent the actuation of the rear windows (children safety).

In 1975 (model year 1976) the Corniche received a new dashboard that a year later was introduced to the 4-door Silver Shadow II models. An important feature in this modified dashboard was a new split level airconditioning.

The introduction of the series II in 1977 with some important modifications of the body, was embraced to freshen up the dashboard.

Dashboard of a Silver Shadow II from 1977.

This new dashboard had a complete new lay-out, like you can see on this picture. Besides that it got some new technics. The most remarkable of them was the airconditioning: the split level airconditioning of the Camargue and the American Silver Shadow was now introduced on the Silver Shadow II and became a standard feature.
Another modification was the introduction of the electric speedometer. The advantage of an electric speedometer is that the needle does not vibrate whilst the speedometer with a cable sometimes does.
And the section through of the wheel decreased again, now to 15 inch (38 cm).

In the period between 1977 and 1980, the moment the manufacturing stopped, the Silver Shadow got no important changes anymore. It did receive a new clock and a switch for the airconditioning was modified. In 1978 even a switch was added to guide cooled air through the bulls eyes and the switch for the aerial disappeared because the aerial from then on was actuated by the radio. But otherwise there were no significant modifications.

After the disappearance of the Silver Shadow II the convertibles based on the Silver Shadow were continued. In 1986 the Corniche was replaced by the Corniche II. This Corniche II and the similar Bentleys Continental convertible (from 1984) got a notably updated dashboard, like you can see on the next picture of a 1989 Corniche II:

Dashboard of a Corniche II from 1989.


Marinus Rijkers.   Disclaimer