1986 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible

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.

1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II

1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II

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 grille and "Spirit of Ecstasy" ornament

Rolls-Royce grille and “Spirit of Ecstasy” ornament

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.

1986 Rolls-Royce

1986 Rolls-Royce

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.

1986 Rolls Corniche Convertible

1986 Rolls Corniche Convertible

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…

1927 Rolls Royce Phantom One

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)




Convertible Rolls Royce / Rolls Phantom

The car pictured in this article is a 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom One Dietrich Victoria Convertible. The convertible Rolls Royce car is high on the collector’s list. The Rolls Royce Motors has been producing automobiles since 1904. For over 100 years this company has been an automotive icon. The company was founded by Charles Stewart Rolls and Henry Royce. Charles Rolls was an engineer who reportedly was dissatisfied with the car he was driving and wanted to build a better one.

1927 Rolls Royce Phantom One Convertible

He partnered with Henry Royce who was a businessman and aviator with good talents for marketing. History would go on to prove that it was a good combination.

During the first two years Rolls Royce built forty cars all withe a four cylinder 20 HP engine. In 1906 the six cylinder Silver Ghost was introduced with quite a lot of fanfare. The company entered their Silver Ghost in the Tourist Trophy Race and came in number one. This did much in showcasing the attributes of the new Silver Ghost to the public.The Silver Ghost acquired the reputation for durability and reliability which was what the public seemed to want. As far as marketing their cars, Rolls Royce targeted the wealthy element of society and their prices proved it.

The Rolls Phantom model replaced the Silver Ghost model. The Silver Ghost was the only model the company produced for it’s first fifteen years. The New Phantom came on the scene in 1925 with a larger engine than the Silver Ghost but utilized the same frame as the Silver Ghost. The Rolls Phantom was the flagship model for the company. The best upgrade from the Silver Ghost was the engine which was cast in three blocks, each containing two cylinders. The engine was attached to the four speed gearbox with rubber coupling.¬† The Phantom I arrived in 1927 and the Rolls Phantom II in 1929. The automobile was produced both in England and in the United States.

Rolls Royce Phantom One Victoria Convertible

The automobile did have some differences between the British and U.S. manufactured models. The British car had the fuel gauge at the fuel tank whereas many American models had it on the dashboard. There were also some differences with the transmissions and wheelbase length. Another interesting thing was that while the chassis and mechanical parts were made by Rolls Royce, the body was produced by several coach builders with the owner choosing which one to employ. One well known coach builder for Rolls Royce was Barker & Company. Barker was the recommended body builder for Rolls Royce at one time. Nevertheless, the customer did have the option to use others. Barker did work for other automotive companies in addition to Rolls Royce and Bentley, such as with Mercedes-Benz. Bentley was acquired by Rolls Royce during the Great Depression.

Some might remember when the Rolls Royce auto company was involved in building jet engines. At one point, the company was nationalized because of the cost of building jet engines but the automotive sector was eventually  spun off by the British government as the Rolls Royce Company in 1973.

Rolls Royce Phantom One with beautiful spoke wheels, hood ornament and trim

One company manufacturing cars and jet engines apparently wasn’t a good business model.

Vintage Rolls Royce automobiles are among the highest priced cars on the classic used car market. Vintage and used are really two different things. Whereas many will say that new rolls Royce models depreciate rapidly, finding and buying a vintage Rolls may and probably does have all the depreciation priced in. If you’re fortunate to have the opportunity to invest in an older model at the right price and in the right condition, it could work out to be both a fine investment and a lot of fun to own.

Some of the best venues to view classic Rolls Royce models include the Blackhawk Museum in Danville California about 25 miles east of the San Francisco Bay area, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles California, the new LeMay Museum in Tacoma Washington, the Springfield Museums Auto Gallery in Springfield Massachusetts and the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich New York. There of course are more throughout the U.S.

(Photos are from author’s private collection)