The Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph was unveiled to the public for the 1999 year, replacing the Silver Spirit sub-model, the Silver Spur. The Silver Seraph was wonderfully luxurious, with hand-crafted design and manufacturing that was second to none. With an upgraded engine and other very modern amenities, this two-and-a-half-ton vehicle was also able to run smoothly with just a transmission that was a mere five-speed automatic (seemingly small for its weight). Other great features made it a very desirable vehicle, if not the utmost when it came to being a bestseller, but it did manage to spawn a couple of other sub-models that were pleasing to the public nonetheless. In a nutshell, the Silver Seraph was beautiful and effective Rolls-Royce offering.
Designed and produced prior to BMW purchasing the rights to the Rolls-Royce name and logo, and it was one of the last products Rolls-Royce manufactured on the same platform next to a Bentley. Only 1,570 of them were made, It was the Phantom that took over as the new face of Rolls-Royce vehicles in 2003.
The Silver Seraph…From Start to Finish
When the Phantom was released, it was easy for the public to forget all that came before it, and rightly so; the Phantom was an incredible car. But it overshadowed many other incredible cars, and one of them was the Silver Seraph, its immediate predecessor, which, unfortunately had an incredibly short life span. It was literally only manufactured from 1998 to 2002, a mere four years.
Its development actually began in the latter part of the ‘80's, and production didn’t begin until early 1998, after much red tape in design and regarding patents and the like. Appearance and body-wise, the Silver Seraph was twin to the Bentley Arnage, as they had the same body shell and platform. The first 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce since the Phantom III of 1939, coupled with its automatic 5-speed transmission, it was a bit different than the Arnage under the hood. Powerful and beautiful, it would do its share of earning for the company, even with the short life it would be given.
Its interior, however, differed from the Arnage distinctively, though they did bear their similarities. The Seraph shifted gears on the column, and the gauges were like those in all the other Rolls-Royce cars before it. The interior was adorned with folding picnic trays for the rear passengers to eat on that were finished in burl walnut veneer, and the seats were done with Connolly leather.
It had acceleration that was renowned for its limitations, but the handling was said to be very easy and comfortable by those who drove it. Its twin, the Arnage, happened to be turbocharged and had a bit stiffer suspension, making it less easy when it came to handling. The Silver Seraph, however, could boast a top speed of 140mph, or 225 km/h. This definitely reflected how the Seraph could hold its own, and it did in more ways than one. With an RAC rating of 7.6/10, the RAC stated, “The Silver Seraph marks a new start for Rolls-Royce in their quest to once more be recognized as manufacturers of the world’s best cars. And it’s [the Silver Seraph] quite a credible effort.”
The Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph: Specs & Features
Let’s check out what this exquisite automobile was really made of.
- Manufactured by Rolls-Royce Motors of Crewe, England, United Kingdom
- Preceded by the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and succeeded by the Bentley Arnage-R
- Designed by Steve Harper under the supervision of Graham Hull
- Rear-wheel drive, front engine layout
- Classed as a full-sized luxury car
- Base sedan trim
- Related to the Bentley Arnage
- Body is 4-door saloon (sedan) style
- 212.2 inches in length (5,390mm)
- 59.6 inches in height (1,514mm)
- Vehicle width for the 1998-2000 models measured at 76 inches (1,930mm); for 2001 and 2002 models it was measured at 76.1 inches (1,933mm)
- Wheelbase measured at 122.7 inches (3,117mm)
- 5.4 L, BMW M73 V12 engine
- 322hp @ 5000rpm
- Fuel type: Premium unleaded
- MPG at 11 in the city and 15 on the highway
- Rear-wheel drive
- 5 passenger seating
- ZF 5HP30 automatic 5-speed transmission
- Second in cost only to the Rolls-Royce Corniche
- 1,570 Seraphs produced in before manufacturing ended in 2002
Other off-shoot models of the Silver Seraph included the Park Ward, which was a five passenger version of the Seraph that was unveiled in 2001. It had a longer wheel base, which resulted in more leg room. The model was discontinued in 2002.
Bringing the Dream to an End
When Rolls-Royce began to bring form to the Silver Seraph idea, there was a lot of red tape and other hoops to jump through before the plan could be brought to fruition. But they were finally able to begin production, and in 1998 the first Silver Seraph, successor to the Silver Spur, was finally unleashed on the public, which greeted this wonderful automobile with welcoming arms. Unfortunately, production didn’t last as long as many would have liked, and it was discontinued four years later. The upside to all of this was that the Phantom was to take its place, and the Phantom would prove to be a very worthy successor indeed.
Today, there are many Silver Seraphs available for sale, which is understandable considering the lateness of the model’s production. Prices today for a used Seraph differ based on many different factors, but the average resale, or used, price falls typically between around $25,000 and $70,000 or more, depending on model year, condition, provenance, and maintenance history of the vehicle.
So, to put it simply, ownership of a Silver Seraph is truly not out of the realm of possibility for most anyone. This is one Rolls-Royce that it is actually feasible to own, both for those who have dreamed of it and those who collect. Just sit down and see what is available, and if you are a serious buyer, you will almost definitely find just what you are looking for.
It’s quite easy to be a fan of the works of Rolls-Royce. If I wasn’t before, I most certainly am now, and can even list off my favorite models. However, I may not be lining up for a purchase anytime soon, though I would simply love the opportunity to give one a spin. I’m sure most of you would as well. If you want one and have the means to acquire one, I encourage you to do so.
It will likely be the purchase of a lifetime…one that even you children, and their children, will love.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith