Best became one of the first celebrity footballers, but ultimately fell victim to his alcoholism in 2005 aged 59. He scored 137 times for United in 361 appearances. He helped his team to victory in the European Cup and was crowned European Footballer of the Year in 1968, but to some he was more famous for his off-field behaviour.
He was once quoted as saying: "I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars, the rest I wasted”.
According to its accompanying RREC copy chassis records, this particular example – chassis number SRH 13549 – was built in accordance with ‘Page 16 Issue 12 SVR.1067 of the Special Vehicles requirement brochure’.
No stranger to publicity, George Best and his new acquisition were photographed by the Daily Mirror in the showrooms of Ian Anthony Car Sales on 4th December 1972. The car has sported various registration numbers over the past forty-four years but on that occasion wore plates advertising Mr. Anthony’s Manchester-based dealership. Mr. Best is understood to have been only too happy to promote his friend Mr. Anthony’s business.
Repainted since belonging to Best, the luxury saloon has also gained a Black vinyl roof covering (a ‘must have’ automotive accessory during the late-1970s) and later-style integral reversing lamps. However, the Silver Shadow still pleasingly retains its original steering wheel, Black leather upholstery and Grey Ambla headlining. Thus, any future custodian has the pleasure of knowing that he / she is not only driving a car that George Best owned in his heyday but also sitting on the very same leather.
Acquired by its last registered keeper during 1994, chassis SRH 13549 has had some £22,000 spent on it over the last twenty-two years. Adorned with more aesthetically pleasing bumpers than their successors, first series Silver Shadows have become increasingly collectible of late (with post 1970 cars boasting both the more powerful engine and smoother transmission). The Rolls-Royce possesses a current MOT certificate valid until 14th June 2017 and offers a new owner the chance of restoring it back to ‘Best’ specification.
Find out more about the auction at www.handh.co.uk
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