It would seem that the Iconic Rolls Royce from 1971-1996; the Corniche, was the first of its kind, and successfully so. It was however a remembrance creation and endeavor to bring back a long lost prototype that had the misfortune of disappearing during World War II. The original Corniche, a Van Vooren bodied Bentley MK V, was a new concept at its time of inception. Boasting endurance and comfort as it was tested for nearly 15,000 miles all over Continental Europe. The Rolls Royce Corniche matches this original intent to an exacting standard; a car built for speed, comfort and reliability. The Corniche is perhaps one of the few cars form the 1970’s and 1980’s that can be considered timeless, being enjoyed by enthusiast and collectors worldwide, and never disappointing those fortune enough to enjoy them.
The example on offer here, a 1981 Corniche, Chassis # BCX 03362, is finished in its original two tone color combination of silver with back inserts. It still retains its original black leather interior with grey piping; a very suitable color combination. Exact early history is not totally known, and even with the 94,XXX mileage the car shows today, it is apparent that this car was extremely well cared for from day one. Noted options include the seldom seen color scheme, in-car phone, A/C, and a cassette player. We do know that it was sold new to CA, and as of the mid 1990’s made its way east and was in the possession of a Franz Dengler of Schaefferstown, PA. Mr. Dengler was a long time member of the RROC and BDCL, owning a few prime examples of each Marque. His active involvement in the club meant most of his cars are well known, often shown, and enjoyed regularly with service as a top priority. Service was always carried out by Palmas Automotive Repair in Audubon, NJ, A RR and Bentley Specialists.
LBI has had the privilege of owning this example prior to its current consignment. As such we have contributed 300 trouble free miles to the odometer during our enjoyment and thorough road testing. We can report that it is in impeccable order and that the miles hardly reflect how this car has aged. We have noted a single repaint, the rear seat cover replaced and new front carpets. Otherwise, this is a totally original Corniche that has been well maintained with none of the common dash lights and is in excellent working order. Cosmetically, we see a totally straight example with perfect gaps, and no signs of any previous body work. A few chips in the paint are present, but to be expected of a regularly enjoyed example, and are very minor with no need for attention at this time. Many factory spot welds can be found throughout, including the front valence, shroud, wheel wells etc… which is easily testament to it never being hit or rough. The bright work is also excellent, with only a single item to be noted as substandard which is that of the passenger side mirror neck. It appears to have worn over the years with no chrome remaining, hardly noticeable, but present. The windshield, glass throughout, rubber and trim components are all in excellent condition. The driver’s side edge/corner of the bumper is the only notable blemish and appears scuffed. It could be left the way it is and easily enjoyed, or fixed; either way it is minor.
Upon entering the interior we notice clean door jams, working interior lighting and supple original leather that has recently been thoroughly treated and shows as an excellent original. The dash top is superb, as is the wood which still retains a sheen and proper book facing with no replaced panels. The chrome trim pieces, switches, knobs etc… are all in proper working order. The radio and cassette player are also in proper working order. The only item not working to our knowledge is that of the correct, 1980’s era “cellular phone”. The top bottom raises or lowers the top with ease, and all of the windows are in the same operating condition. The only items to critique would have to be that of the passenger side seat bolster towards the top, which appears to have a small split. In addition, we have noticed one or two very small spots of the finish flaking on some of the rear wood trim pieces; both of which could be left as they are, but are present and need disclosing.
Turning the key starts the 6.75L V8 promptly with smooth idling and strong oil pressure following instantly. Selecting drive is very smooth, and the power to the road is immense through the GM sourced Automatic Transmission. Huge amounts of torque and flawless mechanicals push this example with ease. Operating temperature stays steady and all system appear to be in proper working order with absolutely nothing in need of attention to the best of our knowledge.
Inspecting the engine bay shows tidiness throughout, correctness, and that of a well services example. The boot is of the same consistency, original, and obviously cared for. Under the mat and wood are the original tools, jack, and spare still present and presumably untouched. The underside matches that of a 94K mile example that has been meticulously cared for, dirty from use, but in perfect order with no items to be noted.
Many Corniches come and go on the current market, as they are not difficult to find. However, a superior example such as this is seldom offered. We highly recommend any onlookers to fly in and enjoy it for the afternoon to understand it really is a sensible addition to any collection as the perfect Sunday driver. Please inquire with any additional interest.