This 1970 Rolls-Royce convertible once owned by Muhammad Ali is now up for sale at auction.
There are certain cars that belong in museums. There’s the original Batmobile, the Pope-mobile, and various other mobiles belonging to various celebrities, and of course there’s the original Ford Model T. But rarely does the public get to bid on cars that were once owned by the greatest sportsman to have ever lived (at least, not unless they’re recently deceased and being sold by the estate).
Over the course of Ali’s life he owned many Rolls-Royces, but this particular Royce is all the more special not just because Ali once drove it. This one in particular is a 1970 Silver Shadow Convertible, at the time considered the flagship model for the British luxury carmaker. It’s also one of only 272 models made in left-hand drive.
Under the hood is a 6.2-L V8 engine producing 172 hp and routed by a 3-speed automatic transmission. Three gears sound like an abysmally small number to choose from, but this was the ‘70s when fuel economy wasn’t even on the public radar yet.
We know Ali’s Silver Shadow was purchased back in December of 1970 from a New Jersey dealer–this was back when Ali was still known by his birth name of Cassius Clay. It’s postulated that the purchase was in celebration of regaining his boxing license after a 5-year ban due to his refusal from being drafted to fight in the Vietnam war.
After Ali, the car was sold to an owner in Holland, where it must have been stored without terribly much driving since it’s still in very good condition despite never having been restored.
Perhaps the best thing about this car is the expected selling price. Bonham’s expects this car to go from anywhere between $47,000 and $70,000 at auction, which is insane. We get that it’s never been restored so there’s likely to be a bit of a cost to the buyer, but it’s still in great condition and it has an incredibly famous person as a previous owner.
The auction is on October 5th in Belgium, so maybe it’s time to book a flight to Europe.