It all started with an engineer named Frederick Henry Royce, and Charles Stewart Rolls also an engineer. In Rolls case he was also an automobile dealer. As they say, the rest is history and the car brand is one of the most recognizable in the world.
The Rolls Royce automobiles might be some of the top collector's car's you'll come across. This is not only because of the high prices asked and received for classic and vintage Rolls on car auction sites but also because of the superior workmanship put into the cars. Where else could you possibly find the distinctive Rolls Royce grille? Everything about the Rolls Royce automobiles meant power, wealth and superior craftsmanship. In short, it stood for status. Probably still does. A 2013 Rolls-Royce Phanton Drophead Coupe V-12 with an eight speed automatic transmission has a sticker price of $475,000.
The Spirit of Ecstasy
What other automobile has such a distinctive hood ornament as the "Spirit of Ecstasy"? This is the hood ornament that is synonymous with Rolls Royce. In the U.S. the ornament is often referred to as the "Flying Lady". The ornaments began appearing on top of Rolls radiators after 1910 as an option (almost every car had it) and in the early 1920's it became standard equipment.
Rolls Royce and BMW
The 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible features in this article is one of those cars. Rolls Royce Limited, which began operations in 1904 and also then known as the C.S. Rolls & Company, was absorbed by BMW in 1999 and now goes by the name of Rolls Royce Motor Company. The effect of this meant that the older Rolls vehicles, the ones manufactured prior to the BMW takeover, have risen in value. The feeling is, right or wrong but probably right, is that the older Rolls Royce automobiles were more skillfully built. While Rolls Royce cars are still being built and sold, the era of the company, at the time the 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche was manufactured, is now part of history.
Rolls Royce and Bentley
Bentley Motors Limited, started in 1919, was acquired by Rolls Royce in 1931. This acquisition no doubt was a result of the consolidation taking place due to the onset of the worldwide Great Depression. because of this merger many of the vehicles going forward, especially after the end of World War Two, had both Rolls Royce and Bentley characteristics.
Bentley eventually was acquired by the German Volkswagen Group in 1998, one year prior to Rolls being taken over by BMW.
The 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche
The Rolls Corniche began production in 1971 and continued until 1995. The Corniche replaced the popular Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. The two door version of the Silver Shadow became the Corniche. From 1992 forward the Corniche model was built only as a convertible.
The Rolls Royce Corniche II was sold in the American market beginning with the 1986 model. The Rolls Corniche II was and is a very impressive looking automobile. In fact, what older Rolls Royce cars were not?
1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II Specifications
The power plant for the 1986 Rolls Corniche was a standard 6.8 litre Rolls Royce V-8 engine with 16 valves, two per cylinder. The engine used aluminum alloy cylinder heads and delivered 256 horsepower. As a side note, the first Rolls Royce engine was a four cylinder delivering 20 horsepower.
Transmission was a three speed automatic.
Suspension was independent with front and rear coil springs.
The 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II had a wheelbase of 120.5 inches, a length of 204.6 inches, a width of 72.3 inches and a height of 58.5 inches. The car's weight was about 5,200 lbs.
Below are links to our photo articles on the 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom One and the luxurious 1933 Duesenberg Model J...
Classic Rolls Royce Auction Prices
In short, you'll find classic Rolls Royce automobiles at a variety of prices, all high. As of this writing asking prices for the 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II range from about $60,000 to $90,000. Another 1986 Corniche is listed for just under $60,000. Both of these vehicles are listed at under 45,000 miles on the odometer. Mileage and overall condition inside and out will obviously influence the auction asking price. A 1984 Corniche I has been listed at $45,000 and a 1985 model at just under $40,000.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)