Video: Hey! That Rolls Royce Got a Hemi?


When somebody says, “Hey, look at that ’70 Hemi RR” you would normally expect your eyes to be drawn to a Hemi-powered Plymouth of the Road Runner variety. Amiright? Not this time.

This is a story about some lunatics who put a big blown Hemi into a 1970 Rolls Royce. Yes, a Rolls Royce. From England. And a Ray Barton Hemi at that. All 1350-horsepower of Ray Barton Hemi. But that’s the way Florida attorney Tod Weston wanted his Silver Shadow spruced up, or should we say Hemi-fied.

Little Joe’s Street Rod Shop in North Carolina basically took the Barton Hemi and combined it with a Chris Alston racecar chassis. Then – miracle of miracles – they stretched, cajoled, hammered and fitted the Rolls body down over all that badass engineering. What you’re looking at is the most over-engineered hybrid of American-Anglo hardware since Carroll Shelby shoe-horned a Ford V8 into an AC Ace and called it a Cobra.


And yet, somehow, Little Joe’s managed to retain the refined English accent of this most British of British luxury yachts. The suspension is air-ride smooth. The air conditioning blows cold as a Welsh wind. There’s supple hand-stitched leather everywhere – even around the roll bar. There are cupholders big enough to hold a bottle of champagne. Yesiree, this Silver Shadow stops and goes like a racecar but will impress the most pampered behind with its luxury touches.

The question is not why do this to a Rolls Royce? The question is, why hasn’t someone done this before? It’s so cool! There’s even a rumor that Tod and his family took this thing down the quarter-mile. The whole family. Now that’s having your Grey Poupon and eating it too – Mopar-style.

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Des Ryan

Des Ryan has been involved in all levels of Mopar musclecar ownership, from barn finds to drivers to a high-level restored Hemicar. He's also spent over 20 years in the advertising industry as a copywriter and creative director. With pen in one hand and pistol-grip shifter in the other, Des is bringing his two passions together to keep you Direct-Connected.