Rolls-Royce Corniches are in the shadows

Rolls-Royce Corniches are in the shadows

With certain Rolls-Royce and Bentley values slumbering, now is the time to pounce

June saw a very original and keenly priced Rolls-Royce Corniche coupe go under Tennants’ hammer. Just £28k bought an unmolested and very correct ’71 in light metallic blue with blue leather, 58,000 miles, rare factory wood-rim steering wheel, valuable non-dating plate and a long history. I thought it was well bought for such a proper example with long provenance. Corniches can often be nasty, neglected and knackered but this one looked like it was 1971 all over again. Values of these graceful coachbuilt Shadows have been softening recently though. In April Mathewson’s sold a ’72 FHC in green with 75,000 miles for £24,912 and in March Bonhams at Bicester knocked down a smart Seychelles Blue ’75 with ‘large history file’ and 94,000 miles for £25,875. Convertibles and Bentley variants may be more desirable but it looks like £25k is a new benchmark for decent, solid and historied Rolls-Royce FHCs.

The convertibles seem to have weakened this year as well. In March, SWA in Poole sold a very nice white ’81 with an indicated 49,000 miles, original service book with 15 stamps, folder of receipts and a non-dating plate for £36,500. There was a time when a Corniche in this condition would have brought £50k. In December last year, H&H dispatched a cream ’74 convertible with 63,000 miles on the clock, original service book with supplying dealer stamps, sundry bills and MoTs for just £29,250. Cream may not be the most flattering hue for a Corniche convertible, but at less than £30k it was a reasonably cheap entry ticket into drop-top Roller ownership.

Having run a ’74 convertible for several blissful years I can testify that they’re not that hard to own – if you find a friendly independent garage. Compared to modern Rolls-Royces and Bentleys these analogue dowagers are relatively simple, with great parts availability and lots of talented specialists. I can also vouch for the supreme sense of occasion you get whenever you close the door. And let’s remember, each Corniche took Mulliner in London over a year to hand build. In its day this really was the ride of the rich and I think we’ve forgotten what a class act they used to be. Given their glamorous image and head-turning looks these current prices do feel on the light side. I reckon cheap good examples like these need to be snapped up.

  • VALUE 2014 £29k
  • VALUE NOW £25k

Although DHCs fetch extra, £30k will buy you a fine example.

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