Recalling the firm’s glamorous Grandes Routières of pre-war days such as the Phantom II Continental, the coachbuilt variants of the new Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and T-Series Bentley 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. Some of the frontal panels were shared with the standard four-door saloon but otherwise the new bodyshells were unique, featuring a distinctive dipping upper wing line with parallel crease, and revised, more rounded posterior. Construction involved shuttling the bodyshells between the Crewe factory and H J Mulliner Park Ward’s Willesden plant, a necessarily lengthy process that took all of 20 weeks for the saloon and slightly longer for the more complex convertible.
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, such painstaking attention to detail resulting in a price some 50% higher than that of the standard Silver Shadow. Nevertheless, demand for these more glamorous alternatives to the much more numerous four-door model 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 well-tried 6.7-litre V8 produced around 10% more power than standard and proved capable of propelling the car to a top speed in excess of 120mph with sports car-beating acceleration to match. 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.
This early Corniche is offered for sale from the collection of Peter Aldred, who purchased the car new with its Mulliner Park Ward Convertible coachwork in 1972. Remaining in his custody all of it’s life, this unique one owner car is offered for sale for the first time. The car comes with a host of bills and receipts throughout its ownership , and has most recently been serviced by Royce service and Engineering in Betchworth, Reigate.
Currently displaying just 74,000 miles, and offered direct from the estate of its first owner the car was last serviced in Apirl 2015, and it’s MOT is valid until April 2016.
Finished in arguably the best colour combination for the Corniche, its light blue coachwork complements the beige interior beautifully. A unique chance to be a second owner of a very early Corniche, elegant and beautiful this will shortly become a true classic. Sensibly reserved.