Rolls-Royce Corniche

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Rolls-Royce Corniche
Early Corniche.JPG
Overview
Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Ltd (defunct 1973)
Rolls-Royce Motors
Production 1971–1995
Designer Bill Allen
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupé
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 6.75 L L410 OHV V8
Chronology
Predecessor Silver Shadow Coupe
Successor Corniche V
Bentley Azure

The Rolls-Royce Corniche is an automobile that was produced by Rolls-Royce from 1971 to 1995. It was offered as a two door coupé and as a two door convertible.

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 to wear the Corniche name was a 1939 prototype based on the Bentley Mark V which was never produced because of the onset of World War II.

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 called Bentley Corniche
Production 1971-1987 [2]
Assembly London, England
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupé
2-door convertible
Powertrain
Engine 6.75 L L410 OHV V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 1971-73: 119¾ in (3042 mm)
1974-79: 120 in (3048 mm)
1979-1987 120.5 in (3,061 mm)
Length 203.5 in (5,169 mm)[3]
Width 72 in (1,829 mm)[3]
Height 58.75 in (1,492 mm)[3]
Kerb weight 4,816 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 called Bentley Continental [2]
Production 1986-1989 [2]
Assembly London, England
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door convertible
Powertrain
Engine 6.75 L L410/L410I OHV V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120.5 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 called Bentley Continental
Production 1989-1993
Assembly London, England
Powertrain
Engine 6.75 L L410I OHV V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120.5 in (3,061 mm)
Length 207.0 in (5,258 mm)
Width 72.3 in (1,836 mm)
Height 59.8 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 called Bentley Continental
Production 1992-1995
Assembly Crewe, England
Powertrain
Engine 6.75 L L410I OHV V8
6.75 L L410IT turbo OHV V8
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120.5 in (3,061 mm)
Length 204.6 in (5,197 mm)
Width 77.0 in (1,956 mm)
Height 59.8 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 benefitted from the four-speed GM4L80 automatic transmission rather than the old three-speed GM400 unit. Adaptive suspension was also introduced. Visually there is nearly no difference between the Corniche III and IV although a glass rear window was now fitted, a major upgrade from the previous plastic unit. The rest of the top mechanism was improved as well, and no longer required 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 improved 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 car 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 ceased shortly thereafter, in 2001, as Bentley and Rolls-Royce became two separate companies again, with two different owners. Bentley became a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG and continued to be manufactured in the Crewe factory while Rolls-Royce was owned solely by BMW and produced in an entirely new factory built by BMW.

Production[edit]

  • Rolls-Royce Corniche: 4,332
    • Saloon (1971–1981): 1,108
    • Convertible (1971–1988): 3,224
  • Bentley Corniche: 140
    • Saloon (1971–1981): 63
    • Convertible (1971–1984): 77
  • Rolls-Royce Corniche II (1988-1989): 1,226
  • Rolls-Royce Corniche III (1989-1992): 452
  • Rolls-Royce Corniche IV (1992-1995): 244
    • Corniche IV (1992–1995): 219
    • Corniche S (1995): 25
  • Rolls-Royce Corniche V (2000-2002): 374
  • Bentley Continental (1984–1994): 421
    • Bentley Continental Turbo (1992–1995): 8

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.