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Lot 366: Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible

Collectors' Motor Cars, Bonhams (30 April 2012)

Recalling its glamorous Grands Routiers of pre-war days such as the Phantom II Continental, Rolls-Royce's final coachbuilt models - entrusted to the company's in-house coachbuilder H J Mulliner, Park Ward - were limited to just two, a two-door coupé or similar convertible, the former arriving in March 1966 and the latter in September the following year. These exclusive cars were hand built in the best traditions of British coachbuilding using only materials of the finest quality, including Wilton carpeting, Connolly hide and burr walnut veneers, a necessarily lengthy process that took all of 20 weeks for the saloon and slightly longer for the more complex convertible. This painstaking attention to detail resulted in a price some 50% higher than the standard Silver Shadow's. Nevertheless, demand for these more glamorous alternatives to the much more numerous Silver Shadow was strong right from the start, a state of affairs that resulted in them being given their own model name - 'Corniche' - in March 1971. In Corniche form Rolls-Royce's proven 6,750cc aluminium-alloy V8 engine produced around 10% more power than standard, endowing the car with a top speed in excess of 120mph and sports car-beating acceleration to match. Progressively developed, the Corniche received Rolls's advanced split-level air conditioning system along with a re-designed fascia in 1976 - the first Rolls-Royce model to do so - and in 1977 benefited from the many improvements - most notably rack-and-pinion steering - introduced on the 'Shadow II range. Despite its sky-high asking price, the model proved a major success for Rolls-Royce; periodically revised and up-dated, it remained in production well into the 1990s, the last (Convertible) examples being delivered in 1995. Left-hand drive chassis number '20133' was used in the 1979 motion picture 'The Main Event', starring Oscar winners Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal. In the same family ownership since the mid-1980s, the Corniche currently displays a total of 97,000 miles on the odometer and is described as in generally good condition, benefiting from a recent re-spray and a new power hood. Finished in Old English White with cream leather interior, the car is offered with extensive service history, recently expired MoT/tax (March 2012) and Swansea V5 registration document.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars
Bonhams, The Royal Airforce Museum, London, UK
TypeCar
Lot Number366
Estimate£25000-£30000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£25000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£28750
Year1974
Condition rating3
Registration numberYYY 737M
Mileage-
Chassis numberDRC20113
Engine number20113
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2