Joy to drive ...John Hughes of Tapanui has not regretted buying the 1986 Rolls Royce Silver Spur 12 years ago.


Welsh singer-songwriter Shirley Bassey once owned the 1986 Rolls Royce Silver Spur luxury model that is in the hands of John Hughes, of Tapanui.

The car was built in the United Kingdom in 1984, sent to South Africa as a show car in 1985 and was bought by Bassey when it returned to England in 1986, when the cars were officially released.

Described as floating along when driving, the luxury car was simply a pleasure to ride in, Mr Hughes said.

“I love driving it, my children and grandchildren love driving it, and ideally it will stay in the family.”

Mr Hughes bought the car in 2007 via the internet from a man who lived in Winchester, South Canterbury, where it was used as a VIP vehicle.

“I had it checked out in the only garage I knew to service Rolls Royce in the South Island, at Bruce McIlroy Ltd, in Ashburton.

“I take it back every year for its service.

“Any parts with RR on them are very expensive, but worth it.”

The Rolls Royce has a V8, 6.7-litre, automatic motor.

“When I bought it, it had 48,000 miles [77,248km] on the clock.

“We have done 28,000 miles [45,062km] since owning it, having taken it on a few rallies in the South Island, as well as driving for the pleasure of it.”

The hydraulic suspension makes the car float along.

Mr Hughes’ wife, Irma, said she had driven the car once.

“It was on the straights heading home from Canterbury, where I thought would be a safe place for my maiden journey,” Mrs Hughes said.

“It felt like the front was in Timaru and the back still in Ashburton.

“That was the first and last time.”

Other than servicing the Rolls, the car was in its original condition, Mr Hughes said.

“Immaculate and a pleasure to own.”


November 27, 2019: A London lawyer, acting for Dame Shirley, has contacted The Ensign to say the Rolls Royce did not belong to the singer.

The story was also published on the Otago Daily Times website.

‘‘Our attention has been drawn to the below item appearing in the Otago Daily Times, dated 17 November,’’ Gerard Cukier, of Keystone Law, wrote.

‘‘It’s a nice story, but for the record, I have been asked to point out that Dame Shirley had never owned a white Rolls-Royce.

‘‘She nevertheless wishes Mr and Mrs Hughes and family many more happy years of driving through New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes in their Rolls Royce.’’

Commenting on this development, Mr Hughes said he had genuinely believed Dame Shirley once owned the Rolls Royce, having been told that by a previous owner.

He had wanted to ring Shirley Bassey over the years, to confirm what he had been told and was still keen to try and contact the singer.

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