1978 Rolls Royce Corniche Hardtop

HIGHLIGHTS


・Extensive service history
・Beautifully appointed interior
・Genuine low mileage
・Two-tone paint


THE BACKGROUND


Taking its name from the 1939 Corniche prototype, the coupé was built by Mulliner Park Ward for Rolls Royce from 1971 to 1987. Both coupé and convertible versions were produced, with Rolls Royce and Bentley badging. In total, just 1090 Rolls Royce Corniche Coupés were built.

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THE HISTORY


Initially registered in 1978, this car has been in the UK for its entire life. The current owner acquired it in 2019, and the previous owner bought it in 2003. During that time, thousands have been spent keeping the car in fine condition. The service record confirms that all works have been undertaken by specialists and with no expense spared.

We are informed by the current owner that he has spent about £16,000 in the last 12 months recommissioning the car and getting it into the gorgeous condition you see here.

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THE PAPERWORK


As befits such a car, there is a huge folder of paperwork. The V5 is present and correct, as is an extensive MOT record confirming the car’s very low mileage. The MOT is valid until May 2022. The original handbooks are in lovely condition, and come in their original vinyl sleeve.

The service book has 21 stamps, all from specialist Rolls Royce garages, the last one being carried out in February of 2019. There is also a large number of servicing and maintenance receipts, outlining many thousands of pounds spent over the last 20 years.

Remarkably, the original order, build, delivery and factory inspection paperwork is also present - showing just how thorough and detailed the build of these classic luxury GT cars was.

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THE INTERIOR


Classic Rolls Royces have always been a fantastic place to spend time: opulent and grand, without ever feeling gaudy. Material quality is second-to-none, the leather hide used on the chairs is beautifully fitted, in exceptional condition and tremendously comfortable. The traditional walnut veneer and stainless switchgear and brightwork brings a real air of heritage, quality and solidity to the cabin. The original Pioneer radio/cassette is still present and working, in all its period glory; and the air-conditioning runs cool and well.

All of the interior fixtures and fittings are in lovely condition, the beige leather and deep, “Cumberland Stone” woollen carpets being truly sumptuous and the walnut veneer looking like it’s just come out of the factory. This is unsurprising, not only because Rolls Royce have always produced interiors of staggering quality, but also because the current owner had all of the walnut veneer trim (apart from the main dash) re-lacquered and polished in the last year.

In February 2020, the Nardi Classic steering wheel was also fitted, the owner feeling that it’s a much more fitting item for the Corniche’s cabin than the standard item. And we’d have to agree, it really does look superb and suits the car to a tee.

The luggage compartment is nicely appointed with a deep green baize and is in like-new condition. It’s also huge, you could easily throw a couple of large suitcases in there with room to spare.

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THE EXTERIOR


As you’d expect from a Rolls Royce of this era, the stying is the epitome of old-school glamour, no small thanks to Mullliner Park Ward’s excellent coachwork. All of the panels are straight and in fantastic condition, the gaps even, and the condition generally is incredible for a car of this age. The two-tone paintwork is deep metallic brown over champagne gold, and looks superb. Here and there are a few minor blemishes, as you’d expect from a 40+ year old car, but nothing to write home about. All four chrome wheel trims are all in lovely condition, as is all the stainless brightwork. The white-wall tyres are all in good condition too, with lots of life left in them.

The iconic grille and Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament gleam appropriately, and the lady herself is individually alarmed, which should dissuade any light fingers. Below the front bumper are the factory-option Lucas fog lights too, complete with original covers – and it’s quite rare for those to be complete. Even the glass fitted to the cabin is not standard, being factory-option “Sundym” glass, a slightly tinted, high-end product designed to reduce glare.

One of the changes the current owner made was to get rid of the factory-fitted Everflex vinyl roof, creating a true hardtop coupé. The work was carried out in June 2020 by West Hoathly Garage (an independent Rolls Royce / Bentley specialist). The vinyl was removed and the roof completely restored and bare-metal sprayed to match the rest of the body.

Underneath the car looks clean, straight and solid, with no visible issues.

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THE MECHANICS


Rolls Royce’s epic 6.75 litre V8 hauls this iconic grand tourer with effortless pace. Originally offering 230+bhp and a top speed of 118mph, this car has been extremely well maintained. It also features fully independent suspension with a hydraulic self-levelling system, vented disc brakes all round and a 3-speed automatic gearbox.

A huge amount of work has been undertaken to maintain the vehicle’s mechanicals and keep it in top condition. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Headlights converted to H4 Halogen bulbs

  • Full brake rebuild, including new pipes, callipers and pads (2018)

  • New battery and ignition system (2018)

  • New water pump (Feb 2020)

  • New fuel pump (March 2020)

  • Full carburettor rebuild and tune (April 2020)

With such a deep history of proactive and reactive maintenance, you can have confidence that this is a car in top condition that has truly been cared for.

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THE APPEAL


Few brands hold the caché of Rolls Royce. They’ve been the by-word for luxury, ability and boundless quality for a century now. The Corniche is one of the most popular models they’ve ever made - and rightly so. They’re beautifully finished, engineered to an almost unrivalled degree and offer the sort of luxury most of us can only dream of.

The creamy V8 effortlessly pulls the gorgeous coachwork along in silent, smooth grace, As a way to cross continents for a true grand tour, there are few options better than this. It will easily accommodate two occupants with all the luggage they could ever wish to carry, and allow them to cruise down to Monaco or Saint Tropez in perfect comfort, arriving refreshed and in achingly cool style. And that’s the thing about Rollers of this vintage - they fit in everywhere. Modern cars can be vulgar or showy, vintage cars are too precious (and often too fragile) for long trips, but this era is the sweet spot. Luxurious, but not showy. Classy and timeless, but well engineered and reliable enough to take a cross-continent journey in.

Particularly over the last 20 years, the car has been maintained to a very high standard, thousands being spent to ensure the car stayed in perfect condition. With this long service record and the very low mileage (it’s covered barely 8,000 miles since 2005), it represents superb value for money.

And in this spec, with the striking deep brown over willow gold two-tone paint, this car is a real eye-catcher. We think the current owner’s decision to remove the vinyl roof was the right one, it’s made the vehicle more modern and attractive without changing the style and appeal of the car. If you’re looking for the most comfortable way to waft about in utter luxury and complete style, here it is. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Rolls Royce Corniche.



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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1978
  • Make Rolls Royce
  • Model Corniche
  • Colour Gold
  • Odometer 50,689 Miles
  • Engine size 6750
  • Location West Midlands
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
38 bids
  • Ba•••• £35,000 13/08/21
  • Sa•••• £34,750 13/08/21
  • Ba•••• £34,500 13/08/21
  • Ba•••• £34,250 13/08/21
  • ri•••• £34,000 13/08/21
  • ri•••• £33,750 13/08/21
  • Sa•••• £33,500 13/08/21
  • ri•••• £33,250 13/08/21
  • Ba•••• £33,000 13/08/21
  • ri•••• £32,999 13/08/21

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