Rolls-Royce Camargue

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For other uses, see Camargue (disambiguation).
Rolls-Royce Camargue
Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Motors
Production 1975–1986
531 produced
Designer Paolo Martin for Pininfarina[1][2][3]
Body and chassis
Class Luxury car
Body style 2-door saloon [4]
Layout FR layout
Related Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
Rolls-Royce Corniche
Bentley T-series
Engine 6.75 L (412 cid) Rolls-Royce V8
Transmission 3-sp TH400 automatic
Wheelbase 120 in (3,048 mm)
Length 203.5 in (5,169 mm)
Width 75.5 in (1,918 mm)
Height 58 in (1,473 mm)
Curb weight 5,135 lb (2,329 kg)
1982 Rolls-Royce Camargue (rear)

The Rolls-Royce Camargue is a 2-door luxury saloon manufactured and marketed by Rolls-Royce Motors from 1975-1986. Designed by Paolo Martin at Pininfarina,[1][2][3] the Camargue was the first[citation needed] post-war production Rolls Royce not designed in-house. With bodywork manufactured in London by Rolls Royce's coachbuilding division Mulliner Park Ward, the Camargue reached a production of 530 units over 11 model years.

The Camargue derives its name from the coastal region in southern France; the name was also used on the 1972 Citroën GS Camargue.[5]

Debut and design[edit]

At launch, the Camargue was the Rolls-Royce's flagship and the most expensive production car in the world, eventually selling in North America for approximately US$147,000 ($588,000 in 2008 dollars).[citation needed] At its official U.S. launch, the Camargue had already been on sale in the UK for over a year. The New York Times made much of the fact that the U.S. price at this stage was approximately $15,000 higher than the UK price.[citation needed] In the 1970s, many European models retailed for significantly less in the U.S. than they did in Europe in order to compete with prices set aggressively by Detroit's Big Three and Japanese importers.[6] The manufacturer rejected this approach with the Camargue, referencing the high cost of safety and pollution engineering needed to adapt the few cars (approximately 30 per year) it expected to send to North America in 1976.[6]

The recommended price of a new Camargue at launch on the UK market in March 1975 was £29,250, including sales taxes.[7] Rapid currency depreciation would greatly raise the price of the Camargue in the late 1970s, both in the UK and North America.

The car was sold in very limited numbers in European, American, Canadian, Australian and Asian markets.

At its 1975 press debut, Rolls-Royce highlighted automatic split-level climate control system, the first of its kind.[citation needed] According to Rolls Royce, the system's development took eight years.[7]

The Camargue shared its platform with the Rolls-Royce Corniche and Silver Shadow. It was powered by the same 6.75 L V8 engine as the Silver Shadow, although the Camargue was slightly more powerful. The transmission was also carried over — a General Motors Turbo-Hydramatic 3-speed automatic. The first 65 Camargues produced used SU carburettors, while the remaining 471 used Solex units. The Camargue was fitted with the Silver Shadow II's power rack and pinion steering rack in February 1977. In 1979, it received the rear independent suspension of the Silver Spirit.

With a 3048 mm (120 in) wheelbase, the Camargue was the first Rolls-Royce automobile to be designed to metric dimensions,[citation needed] and was the first Rolls-Royce to feature an inclined rather than perfectly vertical grille; the Camargue's grille was slanted at an inclined angle of seven degrees.

Several of the cars have since been modified into convertibles by after-market customizers.

Long term reception[edit]

The Camargue received a varied reception, having ranked as one of the "10 Worst Cars" as chosen in 2010 by readers of the Globe and Mail;[8] having ranked 38 in the 2005 book Crap Cars by Richard Porter (the author saying the car "looked utterly terrible)"[9] and having ranked 92 in a 2008 poll of the 100 ugliest cars of all time by readers of The Daily Telegraph.[10] Autoblog said the Camargue had been ranked "conspicuously low on the list," adding the Camargue "really was horrid, no matter how well it sold."[11]

In response, noted automotive journalist James May said the Camargue "is not ugly, either. It has presence, like that pug-faced but well-dressed bloke down the pub."[12]


  1. ^ a b "Rolls-Royce Camargue 1975". 
  2. ^ a b Chapman, Giles (2005-03-15). "Italian style for the many and the few". The Independent. 
  3. ^ a b "Rolls-Royce Camargue". 
  4. ^ Martin Lewis, A-Z of Cars of the 1980s, Bay View Books Ltd, 1998, page 121
  5. ^ Ekeler, Jeroen Back to the Future: Citroën GS Camargue May 28, 2014 In Dutch
  6. ^ a b "News: Biggest ever price rise?". Autocar. 144. Vol. (nbr 4147). 1 May 1976. p. 27. 
  7. ^ a b "New Rolls-Royce: The Delta becomes Camargue: "New two-door model, styled by Pininfarina, is the most expensive Rolls-Royce saloon yet. Few mechanical changes, but very advanced automatic air-conditioning system"". Autocar. 142. Vol. (nbr 4089). 8 March 1975. pp. 48–49. 
  8. ^ "In Pictures: 10 worst cars chosen by our readers". The Globe and Mail, Peter Cheney, Globe and Mail Update, Monday, Feb. 22, 2010. 
  9. ^ Crap Cars, Richard Porter, p.32. Bloomsbury USA, 2005. 
  10. ^ "The 100 ugliest cars". The Daily Telegraph. 25 Aug 2008. 
  11. ^ "Tie a pork chop around its neck - Telegraph counts down 100 ugliest cars"., Aug 30, 2008. 
  12. ^ "James May's greatest hits: the ugliest cars of all time". The, James May, 26 May 2011. Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. 

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