Rolls-Royce has become synonymous with being the very best, to the point where other brands often describe their product as the “Rolls-Royce of”. What makes Rolls-Royce stand out from every other car manufacturer is that each car is handmade, and every aspect of the car receives the highest level of attention and quality control, which has led to a huge market for vintage and classic Rolls-Royces. Even with Rolls-Royce’s high standards, parts wear and need replacement. You want to make sure your Rolls-Royce repair job is being done by a shop that understands the importance of keeping the original character of your vintage car.
Rolls-Royce Original Spares
Rolls-Royce owners and restorers demanding that they’re cars are kept as original as possible has created several unique markets in the parts sector, which includes the production of original parts. With most manufacturers, when a car goes out of production, they only support the car for about 10 years after, at which spares start becoming difficult to come by and are often replaced with aftermarket alternatives.
Rolls-Royce and their former sister company Bentley have realized the need for original spare parts and have set up the Rolls-Royce & Bentley Specialists Association. The association insures that a wide network of dealers is supplied with genuine parts for all post-World-War One models. With the success Rolls-Royce has had producing vintage parts BMW, Rolls-Royce’s current parent company, has opened its own vintage parts store for BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce with BMW Classic.
Some enthusiasts crave a more authentic replacement part, and while Rolls-Royce Original parts are available, they tend to use more modern materials and production methods. Many aftermarket suppliers have started to sell parts that aren’t Rolls-Royce approved but are made with the same, or very similar, materials and use the original methods that Rolls-Royce used back when these cars were new.
This is especially popular with owners of pre-World War One and coach-built cars, whose parts have become increasingly difficult to find. When these cars were new, many of the wooden interior panels were all taken from the same tree, and full interior kits can be purchased with each panel coming from the same tree to keep the car authentic.
With all cars there is a huge market for aftermarket parts available for Rolls-Royce, both with drop-in replacements and modifications. Some modifications are as simple as upgrading old drum brakes to more modern and safer disk brakes but can go to extreme levels such as replacing the entire drivetrain and chassis for one from a newer model.
Aftermarket parts have both benefits and disadvantages. Aftermarket replacements are readily available, and can simply drop in place of the worn-out or damaged part. In states with emission laws, aftermarket and modified parts can help ensure your vintage car meets current legislature and can handle newer unleaded fuels, or upgrading old worn coolant hoses to ones who can handle the Florida Heat.
The downside of these parts is that they can often change the characteristics of your car and lower its resale value. For example, replacing the air suspension for fixed shocks and coil-overs may change the way the car feels on the road, and make it less desirable. Aftermarket radios often ruin the design of interior panels, especially if panels are modified to fit the unit and the factory radio can no longer fit.
If you have a vintage Rolls-Royce or Bentley which needs a little love, whether it be a service or rebuild, using OEM or aftermarket parts, our Performance Shop Pros will be able to assist you in keeping your vintage car on the road for many more years. For all your other European car needs, look no further than Foreign Affairs Motorsport, South Florida’s Premier European Auto Repair, Performance & Race Facility Since 1978.