Manchester United legend George Best's Rolls Royce up for auction at Duxford
PUBLISHED: 09:34 06 September 2016 | UPDATED: 09:34 06 September 2016
He was a hero on the football pitch to millions, but off the park his flamboyant party lifestyle and spending was equally as noteworthy - with fans set to have the opportunity to buy a car owned by the legendary George Best.
A Rolls Royce owned by the Belfast-born sporting and fashion icon is up for sale at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford during an event run by auction house H&H.
The former Manchester United idol’s 1972 Silver Shadow is estimated to sell for between £10,000 to £15,000 on October 12 through the motorcar and motorbike specialists.
The coveted classic car was purchased by the 1968 European Cup winner in the Manchester-based showroom of Ian Anthony Car Sales, on December 4, 1972 – with the star forward only too happy to promote his friend’s business.
The car was finished in acrylic white with black leather upholstery – including sumptuous hides, rich wood veneers and deep lambswool carpets – but has been repainted since belonging to the 1968 European Footballer of the Year.
Interestingly the car has gained a black vinyl roof covering – which was a must-have 1970s accessory – but pleasingly still retains its original steering wheel and upholstery.
A spokesman for H&H said: “Any future custodian has the pleasure of knowing that he or she is not only driving a car George Best owned in his heyday but also sitting on the very same leather. Acquired by its last registered keeper during 1994, the car has had £22,000 spent on it over the last 22 years.
“Adorned with more aesthetically pleasing bumpers than their successors, first series Rolls Royce Silver Shadows have become increasingly collectible of late.”
Launched in 1965 the Silver Shadow at the time was seen as a bold departure for the Crewe-based company. The H&H spokesman added: “Performance from the smooth 6230cc V8 engine was assured, the car wafting forward on a seemingly unstoppable wave of torque. Still immensely cosseting to drive, Shadows offer a genuinely different ownership experience to their peers.”
Best who, scored 137 goals for the Red Devils in 361 appearances, lived up to his playboy reputation by once saying: “If you’d given me the choice of going out and beating four men and smashing a goal in from 30 yards against Liverpool or going to bed with Miss World, it would have been a difficult choice. Luckily, I had both.”
On being asked what he’d like his legacy to be he also replied: “When I’ve gone they’ll only remember the football. If a single person thinks I’m the best player in the world, it’s good enough for me.”
For someone as complex a hero as Georgie Best he was wrong. People will remember the football of course but – as witnessed by the interest in the sale of his Rolls Royce – a considerable amount of people will also remember his off-field life too.