Rolls-Royce Corniche

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Rolls-Royce Corniche
Early Corniche.JPG
Overview
ManufacturerRolls-Royce Ltd (defunct 1973)
Rolls-Royce Motors
Production1971–1995
DesignerBill Allen
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupé
2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
Powertrain
Engine6.75 L L410 OHV V8
Chronology
PredecessorSilver Shadow Coupe
SuccessorCorniche V
Bentley Azure
 
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For the fifth-generation Corniche, see Rolls-Royce Corniche (2000).
Rolls-Royce Corniche
Early Corniche.JPG
Overview
ManufacturerRolls-Royce Ltd (defunct 1973)
Rolls-Royce Motors
Production1971–1995
DesignerBill Allen
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupé
2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
Powertrain
Engine6.75 L L410 OHV V8
Chronology
PredecessorSilver Shadow Coupe
SuccessorCorniche V
Bentley Azure

The Rolls-Royce Corniche is a two door coupé and as a two door convertible manufactured and marketed by Rolls-Royce from 1971 to 1995.

The Corniche was a development of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, with the two door variants of that model marketed as the "Silver Shadow Mulliner Park Ward two door fixed head coupé & drop head coupé" from 1966 until 1971 when the Corniche name was applied. The exterior design was by John Polwhele Blatchley.[citation needed] The model was assembled and finished in London at Mulliner Park Ward as continuation of the 1965 Silver Shadow coupe and 1967 drophead, with the Corniche name applied in March 1971. The Corniche was also sold as a Bentley, though that model became known as the Continental in 1984.

The first car with the Corniche nameplate was a 1939 prototype based on the Bentley Mark V and never produced because of the onset of World War II.

The Corniche nameplate stems from the originally French and Italian term for a coastal road, especially along the face of a cliff.

Original Corniche[edit]

Although the 1971 Corniche was the first car of that name that the company sold, the "Corniche" name had been registered by Rolls-Royce in the 1930s. The original Corniche was a prototype based on the Bentley Mark V featuring coachwork by the Paris firm, Carrosserie Vanvooren.[1] The single car undertook 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of endurance testing in Continental Europe before being blown up by a bomb at Dieppe while waiting at the dockside to be shipped to England.[1]


Corniche[edit]

Corniche
Rolls-Royce Corniche 1977.jpg
1977 Rolls Royce Corniche Coupé
Overview
Also calledBentley Corniche
Production1971-1987 [2]
AssemblyLondon, England
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupé
2-door convertible
Powertrain
Engine6.75 L L410 OHV V8
Transmission3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase1971-73: 119¾ in (3042 mm)
1974-79: 120 in (3048 mm)
1979-1987 120.5 in (3,061 mm)
Length203.5 in (5,169 mm)[3]
Width72 in (1,829 mm)[3]
Height58.75 in (1,492 mm)[3]
Kerb weight4,816 lb (2,185 kg)[3]

The Rolls-Royce Corniche was available both as a coupé and convertible.[4]

The car used the standard Rolls-Royce V8 engine. It had an aluminium-silicon alloy block and aluminium cylinder heads with cast iron wet cylinder liners. The bore was 4.1 in (104.1 mm) and the stroke was 3.9 in (99.1 mm) for a total of 6.75 L (6,750 cc/411 cuin). Twin SU carburettors were initially fitted, but were replaced with the "horribly complex" single Solex 4A1 four-barrel carburettor introduced in 1977.[5] Desmogged export models retained the twin SU's until 1980, when Bosch fuel injection was added.

A three-speed automatic transmission (a Turbo Hydramatic 350 sourced from General Motors) was standard. A four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs was augmented with a hydraulic self-levelling system (using the same system as did Citroën, but without pneumatic springs, and with the hydraulic components built under licence by Rolls-Royce), at first on all four, but later on the rear wheels only. Four wheel disc brakes were specified, with ventilated discs added for 1972.

The car originally used a 119.75 in (3,042 mm) wheelbase. This was extended to 120 in (3,048 mm) in 1974 and 120.5 in (3,061 mm) in 1979.

The car was mildly revised in the spring of 1977. Difference included rack-and-pinion steering,[6] alloy and rubber bumpers, aluminium radiator, oil cooler and a bi-level air conditioning system was added. Later changes included a modified rear independent suspension in March 1979. In March 1981, after the Silver Spirit had gone on sale, the Coupé version of the Corniche and its Bentley sister were discontinued.[4] For 1985 there were also cosmetic and interior changes.

Corniche models received Bosch KE/K-Jetronic fuel injection in 1977.[6] This engine, called the L410I, produced approximately 240 PS (177 kW) at just above 4,000 rpm for a top speed of 190 kilometres per hour (118 mph).[7]

The Bentley version was updated in July 1984 with a new name, the Continental,[8] revised and color-coded bumpers, rear view mirrors, a new dash and improvements to the seats.[4]

Production totalled 1090 Rolls Royce Corniche Saloons, 3239 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertibles, 69 Bentley Corniche Saloons and 77 Bentley Corniche Convertibles.[2]

Corniche II[edit]

Corniche II
1989 Rolls-Royce Corniche II in champagne.jpg
1989 Rolls-Royce Corniche II
Overview
Also calledBentley Continental [2]
Production1986-1989 [2]
AssemblyLondon, England
Body and chassis
Body style2-door convertible
Powertrain
Engine6.75 L L410/L410I OHV V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase120.5 in (3,061 mm)

The Corniche II name was applied for the United States market from 1986 and for other markets from 1988.[2] Anti-lock brakes were added for 1988, but air bags would not be available until the Corniche III. Also new for 1988 were some detail changes to the interior. Later in 1988 there was also a new reverse warning lens type and pattern around the rear license plate, as well as newly designed seats and redesigned instrumentation.[9]

1,234 examples of the Corniche II were produced.[2]

Rear view of 1988 Bentley Continental (US)


Corniche III[edit]

Corniche III
Rolls-Royce Corniche (III) – Frontansicht geöffnet, 3. September 2012, Düsseldorf.jpg
Rolls-Royce Corniche III
Overview
Also calledBentley Continental
Production1989-1993
AssemblyLondon, England
Powertrain
Engine6.75 L L410I OHV V8
Transmission3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase120.5 in (3,061 mm)
Length207.0 in (5,258 mm)
Width72.3 in (1,836 mm)
Height59.8 in (1,519 mm)

The Corniche III was introduced at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show with new alloy wheels, color-coded bumpers, a more advanced suspension system, air bags and MK-Motronic fuel injections. Minor interior changes included a revised dashboard, console and seats.[9]

Corniche IV[edit]

Corniche IV
Rolls-Royce Corniche IV.jpg
Rolls-Royce Corniche IV
Overview
Also calledBentley Continental
Production1992-1995
AssemblyCrewe, England
Powertrain
Engine6.75 L L410I OHV V8
6.75 L L410IT turbo OHV V8
Transmission4-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase120.5 in (3,061 mm)
Length204.6 in (5,197 mm)
Width77.0 in (1,956 mm)
Height59.8 in (1,519 mm)

The car was reworked for 1992 as the Corniche IV, presented at the Detroit Auto Show in January.[10] By this time production had moved to Crewe, in preparation for the 1994 closure of Mulliner Park Ward. Mechanically, the IV featured the four-speed GM4L80 automatic transmission rather than the previous three-speed GM400 unit. Adaptive suspension was also introduced. Visually there is nearly no difference between the Corniche III and IV except for a glass rear window replacing the previous plastic unit. The top mechanism was improved, no longer requiring manual latching. CFC-free air conditioning was specified, as were driver and passenger airbags. In October 1992 a 21st anniversary Corniche was presented. 25 cars were built, all finished in Ming Blue with a cream hood with a silver plaque on the dash.[11]

In August 1993 an engine with 20 percent more power became standard fitment. The last 25 Corniche models to be built, completed in the summer of 1995, were unique turbocharged versions and were called the Corniche S.[11] In total, 5,146 Corniche Convertibles had been built, plus 1,108 Saloons (Coupés, that is), and 140 Bentley Corniches.

Corniche V (2000)[edit]

Rolls-Royce Corniche V

The fifth series to bear the Corniche name made its debut in January 2000. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive vehicle offered by Rolls-Royce, with a base price of US$359,900. Its production was ended in 2001, as Bentley became a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG and continued manufacture in Crewe while Rolls-Royce became solely owned by BMW, manufacturing in a new factory built by BMW.

Production[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "New Rolls-Royce Corniche". Autocar: pages 7–8. 4 March 1971. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f All 33 models, www.rrsilvershadow.com Retrieved on 10 August 2013
  3. ^ a b c d "Autotest: Rolls-Royce Corniche 6,750 c.c.". Autocar. 141 (nbr4042): pages 36–41. 6 April 1974. 
  4. ^ a b c Wood, Jonathan (2001), Rolls-Royce & Bentley: Spirit of Excellence, Sparkford, Nr Yeovil, Somerset: Haynes, p. 102, ISBN 1-85960-692-X 
  5. ^ Wood, p. 106
  6. ^ a b Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (March 1991). Automobil Revue 1991 (in German/French) 86. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 521. ISBN 3-444-00514-8. 
  7. ^ Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (5 March 1987). Automobil Revue 1987 (in German/French) 82. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. pp. 181–182. ISBN 3-444-00458-3. 
  8. ^ Automobil Revue 1991. p. 174
  9. ^ a b Wood, p. 103
  10. ^ Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1992 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. 1992. p. 882. 
  11. ^ a b Wood, p. 107

Bibliography[edit]

  • Holmes, Mark (2007). Ultimate Convertibles: Roofless Beauty. London: Kandour. pp. 134–139. ISBN 9781905741625.