A more fundermental weakness was
in the rear suspension
anchored to the body by a transverse box-member of sheet steel. Under
abuse and/or corrosion, the crossmember would tear away from the body, which would instantly cause the half shaft underneath to uncouple from the trunnion. Under worse cases, the whole rear end would become detached.
Though the factory eventually strengthend this lateral box member, there
are still many early production cars that may be vunerable to this problem.
A more curious symtom suggested
the devilish complexity of the hydraulic system.
When the left front door was opened, the brakes could be applied and could remain dragging as the car pulled away, even with the door
closed. This odd result was caused by a leaking hydraulic valve connected to the door height switch which indirectly affected the
brakes. Mechanics could be forgiven for not readily diagnosing this problem! RR363 brake fluid was essential for proper performance
and the use of silicone fluids was prohibited. Ventilated discs in the
early seventies were a great improvement for braking.
The rubber mounted front suspension
of the early cars gave a smooth
ride but could cause severe
tyre wear and difficulty in tracking. Any
rear axle whine, fortunately rare, can be expensive.
It should be remembered that early
Shadows and Bentley T's
can be brought up to late specifications much more easily than other models.
Maintenance history is also very important, especially in the hydraulic
The Silver Shadow and Bentley T were gradually debugged and reliability steadily improved. As is the case with all cars, continued production inevitably made a better product.
Wheel arches always rust away, you
will find most have been repaired at some time, but check that they been
with metal ones and
not filled with plastic filler.
Take a magnet to them and check. If filler is used, the repair will last only a matter of weeks before the rust starts to come through again.